Benefits of rooftop solar to the electricity grid are clearly visible in South Australia

New data revealed by the network operator shows that the amount of rooftop solar installations has surged in South Australia, and it is having a real impact in shifting the peak demand, and stabilising the grid.

SA Power Networks, which operates the poles and wires that distribute the energy in the state, said on Monday that South Australia now had 548MW of rooftop solar PV, on 157,000 homes – a penetration rate of 21.2 per cent.

South Australia appears to have experienced the fastest growth in rooftop solar in the country in the past year, growing 50 per cent. This was helped by the expiry of favourable feed-in tariffs. SA Power Networks experienced a surge in demand before the change in September.

Rob Stobbe, the CEO of SA Power Networks said the amount of rooftop solar was having an impact on grid management. It had helped stabilize the grid and avoid blackouts in the recent long heatwaves, and it had succeeded in shifting the peak of demand by several hours, from the old time of around 5pm to the new time of past 7pm.

Growth in solar PV is not expected to stop there. Stobbe said South Australia was expected to experience solid uptake by commercial users, another development that would have an impact on the market, along with demand side management, and battery storage, would also impact on customer use and pricing.

© 2014 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson