Over 30% of SA electricity came from renewables in 2013/2014, 1 in 4 homes now have solar

South Australia has delivered on its 2020 renewable energy target six years head of schedule, with the state’s share of wind and solar nearing 33 per cent in 2013/14.

Official data released by the Australian Energy Market Operator shows wind and solar generation in South Australia jumped to 32.1 per cent of total capacity in 2013/14, with nearly one in four homes in the state now with solar on their rooftops.

This exceeded the state’s renewables target, but didn’t include the 275MW Snowtown II wind farm that was brought on line in July.

Data from Spark Infrastructure, which owns SA Power Networks, the monopoly network distributor in the state, shows that the penetration of rooftop solar in South Australia jumped to 22.6 per cent from 19.2 per cent in the 12 months ending July 2014.

Another 27,000 homes added rooftop solar during the financial year, taking the total to 168,000.And, according, to the network operator, the addition of rooftop solar is having clear benefits to all.

“(Rooftop solar) PV is shifting the peak, but also helping reduce stress on the network during heatwave,” it said in its presentation to analysts on Monday.

The AEMO report, meanwhile, illustrates how South Australia’s generation has changed over the past few years, and from a decade ago.

In 2000, more than 50 per cent of South Australian generation capacity relied on gas, with coal and interconnector flows made up most of the balance.

But, in 2014, gas makes up 44 per cent of the state’s registered generation capacity, with wind capacity (at nearly 20 per cent, or 1,200MW – before the addition of Snowtown II) providing more capacity than coal. The interconnector import capacity is 9.5 per cent, lower than the capacity of rooftop PV capacity, which is just below 10 per cent, or 565MW.

In terms of generation, the state has gone from nearly 80 per cent local gas and coal to just over 55 per cent. Wind accounted for 27 per cent of generation in 2013/14, and solar 5.1 per cent.

© 2014 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson