Amount of Aussie energy from rooftop solar to quadruple by 2035: AEMO

The Australian Energy Market Operator has outlined some of the major impacts that rooftop solar and battery storage will have on the national gird, in its first major assessment of the residential market.

AEMO estimates that the amount of electricity generated by rooftop solar PV will rise more than four-fold in the next two decades to more than 25,000GWh, and will account for around 14 per cent of total demand. (Some forecasters expect a significantly higher amount).

This growth, AEMO says, will effectively remove the traditional afternoon demand peak in summer and push the peaks into the evening. Winter peaks – due to heating – will likely overtake summer peaks, while the lowest point of use will shift from late into the night, to the middle of the day.

AEMO also expects energy efficiency to reduce grid demand by a further 27,000GWh, despite households using more electronic devices and appliances than ever.

And despite an expected 30 per cent jump in the population, total demand from the main grid will grow only marginally, from 183,258 gigawatt hours (GWh) in 2015–16 to 184,467GWh in 2035–36.

“Energy efficiency and rooftop PV is changing patterns of demand,” the AEMO report says. Maximum demand will be clipped by solar and pushed into the evening, minimum demand will shift from the night-time to the day-time, and generators will require increased flexibility to respond.

AEMO predicts that rooftop solar will increase from 4.3GW now to 19GW in 2035, taking into account reduced output from ageing panels.

And while it predicts battery storage will become “economic to the mass market” in the 2020s, it expects only 6.6GWh of battery storage by 2035, with less than one-fifth of rooftop solar capacity integrating battery storage.

Still, even on that basis, battery storage is predicted to reduce peak demand by 5 per cent in Victoria and South Australia and by 2 per cent in NSW and Queensland.

© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson

Giles Parkinson regularly contributes unique content to Solar Choice News. Giles is the founder and editor of clean energy industry news service RenewEconomy. He is a journalist of 30 years experience, a former Business Editor and Deputy Editor of the Financial Review, a columnist for The Bulletin magazine and The Australian, and the founding editor of Climate Spectator.
Giles Parkinson