The output of large scale solar farms has burst through 5,000 megawatts for the first time on Australia’s main grid, a notable milestone given that it represents an 18-fold increase over the peak output of big solar in little more than four years.
The new record of 5,247MW, or 5.25GW, was reached at 1220 AEST on Friday, November 22, and was a big leap from the previous instantaneous peak of 4,934MW set a couple of weeks earlier.
At the time, large scale solar was contributing 19.1 per cent of the total generation on the National Electricity Market, although it was little more than half of the estimated output of rooftop solar at the same time – 10.3GW or 37.1 per cent of total generation.
The biggest contributors to the total by state were NSW (2.1GW) and Queensland (2.0GW). Prices were in positive territory in each state, which meant that few, if any, solar farms were curtailed for economic reasons or customers trying to dodge negative pricing events.
In early February, 2018, the maximum output of utility-scale solar across the entire NEM was just 281MW, when little more than a handful of large-scale solar farms were in full production.