16.4% of Aus energy from renewables in last year, with 2.6% from rooftop solar

Rooftop solar now accounts for 2.6 per cent of Australia’s total electricity demand, or nearly 10 per cent of household electricity use, new data has shown.

According to Hugh Saddler, energy analyst with Canberra-based consultants Pitt & Sherry, small solar systems supplied 5 terrawatt hours (TWh) of electricity in the year to April, 2016 – out of a total of 185.9TWh.

This means that the total share of renewable energy is 16.4 per cent, although most official data put this at 13.1 per cent because that includes only “large-scale” renewables “sent out” in the National Electricity Market.

The highest share of “new” renewable energy electricity – from wind and solar – was recorded in South Australia. Wind and solar accounted for around 41 per cent of total local generation in 2014/15, a figure that is expected to rise above 50 per cent later this year.

However, Saddler said that when electricity through the interconnectors with Victoria is included – and much of this is brown coal – the renewable share in NEM generation supplied to South Australia is 29.5 per cent, and the total share available to consumers is 35.3 per cent.

Small-scale solar accounts for most of this difference, supplying 5.6 per cent of total electricity in the year to April, 2016.Inline image 1

Saddler notes that most estimates put the current share of “behind the meter” consumption – the output from rooftop solar which is consumed within households or businesses without ever being exported back into the grid – at below 50 per cent.

© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson