The cost of utility-scale solar in Australia will halve over the next five years, making it cheaper than wind energy by 2020, according to predictions from one of the world’s biggest solar companies.
US-based First Solar says it expects increasingly cheaper large-scale solar to dominate the remaining capacity required to be added under Australia’s 41,000GWh Renewable Energy Target.
But it has warned that this would only happen if the RET is not removed or diluted in the interim, as is feared under the Abbott government.
First Solar says rapid reduction in costs would not occur without a “market bridge” to bring technologies to commercialisation and maturity, particularly if the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency were also removed.
The company says the RET is needed to encourage new projects and bring down costs for large-scale projects – more than half of which comes from local suppliers and contractors.
First Solar says large-scale solar is useful to the energy mix because it produces energy when it is needed most, during daylight hours, and this has a strong correlation with peak demand and complements the profile of wind generation.
It also has strong community support. Solar farms can be located in areas with no competing land uses, are not as visible, and have no moving parts, use no water and produce no emissions.
And because of the excellent solar resource, and the modular, scalable nature of solar PV projects, they can be built where they are needed most within our electricity network.
© 2014 Solar Choice Pty Ltd