Australia still lagging behind other nations in uptake of large-scale solar

Australia is still lagging behind the pace on large-scale solar, with the latest data revealing it has not moved from its position at number 31, behind the Dominican Republic, despite another record year of global growth.

Figures released on Tuesday confirmed that the combined global utility-scale solar market has clocked its fifth consecutive year of record growth, with total capacity now at 30.3GW, up from 21.5GW at the start of 2014.

The data, along with the chart below, show that at the end of September the US was leading the big solar stakes with 407 utility-scale plants, amounting to a total installed capacity of 7.08GW. 

China comes in a close second with 245 plants, totalling 6.5GW; followed by Germany, with 281 plants and 3.46GW total installed utility-scale capacity.

South Africa was the newest entrant to the big solar top 10, after the commissioning of the 75MW De Aar 3 project in August. The Northern Cape project, at over 85MW peak, also gets special mention as one of the largest amorphous silicon solar cell installations in the world.

Australia, as already noted, is still nowhere near the top 10, but according to Wiki-Solar’s Philip Wolfe, should get a much-needed boost once the 56MW Moree solar farm in NSW is connected to the grid, and also the 153MW solar installations at Broken Hill and Nyngan.

Top large-scale solar countries

“Grid-feeding solar generation continues to dazzle, with records being broken all over the place”, said Wolfe.

“Our figures show the USA has become the first country to achieve 7GW of utility-scale PV capacity. Meanwhile the UK will probably be seen to have topped 2GW, when the summer’s completed projects are all entered onto the register.

“Japan and Chile continue to climb the table and, with substantial capacity still under development, will be vying for top-ten places before long.”

Top image: Moree Solar Farm mockup, via MoreeSolarFarm.com.au

© 2014 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