Solar industry will see massive expansion to 2030 despite RET fears: BNEF

Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that solar capacity in Australia will reach 23GW by 2030, underpinned by rooftop solar that will resist most industry attempts to stop its rollout.

Kobad Bhavnagri, head of BNEF in Australia, says he expects there will be 5 million installed commercial and residential PV systems by 2030, up from 1.1 million now, with a total of 16GW in cumulative net additions between now and 2030. Australia currently has total capacity of 3.1GW.

“The behind the meter PV market will vary in size at around 900GW market per year,” Bhavnagri said. He added that different policy measures introduced to put the breaks on rooftop solar, won’t have much of an impact on that either way, because they “don’t fundamentally damage the consumer proposition, which is very strong and very good.” He said it was pretty much “unstoppable.”

But he said the rollout of large-scale solar would be vulnerable to policy changes, such as any winding back of the Large-scale Renewable Energy.

On the large-scale solar front, BNEF is forecasting that, under the current LRET, solar and wind would each take around half of capacity, with the financing terms for large-scale PV improving steadily as financiers became more comfortable with the technology.

If the RET generation target was diluted, the share of wind would start to fall, and large-scale solar would contribute up to two thirds of the capacity mix. This graph below illustrates the point, the base case is if the target is left untouched, the second if the target is diluted, and the third if it is simply deferred.

BNEF renewable capacity predictions

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Giles Parkinson