Solar power market heading for big 2017, as costs drop sharply

A new report has predicted that solar power is headed for a “huge year” in Australia in 2017, on the back of a boom in the large-scale market and a home solar and storage market that is expected to treble.

The Climate Council’s State of Solar 2016, published last week, confirms solar is now the cheapest form of new large-scale power generation in Australia, as costs of the technology tumble and investment soars.

According to the report, solar costs have plummeted by 58 per cent in just five years and look set to continue to fall by somewhere between 40 and 70 per cent by 2040.

Already, however, solar plants are delivering electricity for cheaper than new coal, gas or nuclear, the report says, at prices of around $110/MWh – a price that is expected to come down further, “significantly”, over time.

For Australia, which has endured a few false starts on large-scale solar, the report said development was now “surging”, with 20 projects coming online in 2017 and another 3700MW in the pipeline.

On this path, the Climate Council predicts Australia will surpass 20GW of solar PV in the
next 20 years, equivalent to about a third of Australia’s current total power generation capacity.

The distributed solar market was also headed for major growth, the report said, with the installation of rooftop PV and battery storage systems for households and businesses expected to treble over the course of the year.

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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