Rooftop solar soon to be Queensland’s largest generator

Rooftop solar on Queensland homes and businesses could soon become the state’s biggest power generator, according to energy minister Mark Bailey.

“Rooftop solar is already the second largest power station in this state – and soon it will be effectively the largest power station in Queensland,” Bailey told the Queensland Energy Storage Conference in Brisbane.

Queensland currently has nearly 1.5GW of rooftop solar – 1,044MW on homes and businesses in the south-east corner and Brisbane operating in the Energex network, and 432MW on 115,000 premises in the Ergon network that covers the rest of the state.

State Labor intends to double the amount of rooftop solar to 3,000MW by 2020, as part of its goal to lift the share of renewable energy generation in the state to 50 per cent by 2030.

Bailey said that energy storage would be critical to help networks integrate rooftop solar into their grids, and to help reduce peak demand. In Queensland, the growing peak – much of it from the use of air-conditioners – has caused network prices to surge and accounts for more than half of consumer electricity costs.

“Queensland’s boom in solar PV could be a template for battery storage uptake as battery storage technology costs fall,” he said.

“Battery storage is a game changer. Affordable battery storage technology is getting closer by the day,” Bailey added, although he would not be drawn into any comment on what initiatives, if any, Queensland would implement to encourage battery storage uptake.

Bailey did, however, announce a $300,000 grant to the state-owned network operator Ergon, to accelerate battery storage adoption and, in particular, to spend $100,000 to fast track the development of battery safety standards.

© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson