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Rooftop solar growth pushed Australia’s green electricity generation to almost 28% of 2020 total

April 01, 2021

Renew Economy:

Rooftop solar has continued to lead the rapid growth in Australia’s renewable energy sector, with more than 3 gigawatts of new small-scale solar capacity pushing the total renewable mix to almost 28 per cent, says the Clean Energy Council.

It was a record breaking year both for capacity installed (up from 2.2GW of new capacity in 2019) and the number of individual installations, which reached 378,451. The average size of installations hit 8kW.

Large-scale projects – including wind and solar – contributed just under 2 gigawatts of new capacity, with 32 projects completed around the country. Of that, 1,097MW came from wind – passing the 1GW mark for the first time.

Renewables generated 62,917 gigawatt hours in 2020, an impressive rise from the 2019 figure of 55,093 GWh. The Clean Energy Council said that put renewable generation above 25 per cent (27.7 per cent) for the first time ever.

But coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, still generates the vast majority of electricity in Australia, at 62 per cent. Gas generates just under 10 per cent.

The CEC says there are currently 8GW of large-scale renewables in the pipeline, with 49 large-scale solar farms and 21 wind farms in construction. This, combined with the slow but sure retirement of coal plants, means renewables strong growth in total market share is set to continue. As for batteries, the CEC said by the end of 2020 there were16 utility-scale batteries under construction, representing almost 600MW of new capacity. On top of that, Australian households installed 23,796 small-scale batteries with a combined capacity of 238MWh.

[James Fernyhough]

More: Booming rooftop solar growth pushes renewables to 28 pct of energy mix

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