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Net Energy Demand For Australian Utilities Could be Zero in a Decade

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Rooftop Solar Continues To Grow Exponentially In Australia

Due to high energy prices and low solar energy prices, Australia has become one of the best places to install rooftop solar energy systems and already 6 GW of solar capacity has been installed in the country.

Australia is unique in the solar industry as it is perhaps the only country where a majority of the solar energy capacity has come from distributed energy resources rather than the large solar farms seen in the rest of the world. A combination of feed in tariffs, highly favorable economics, and abundant rooftops have allowed Australians to put rooftop solar like there is no tomorrow. Already more than 20% of Australian households are using solar energy and this trend is set to keep on increasing.

Rooftop Project

The total rooftop solar energy capacity installed in August 2017 was almost 100 MW which is an increase of 47% from last year. Though there are headwinds from reduced FIT by Australian governments, the economics are so favorable that people continue to installing solar energy in increasing numbers. Now with the increased penetration of storage, rooftop solar is becoming an ever more compelling proposition for homeowners.

Also, read Sonnen’s “Flat Price Electricity” Further Disrupts Electricity Market In Australia

SunWiz, an organization that tracks solar industry activity, has reported an 84 per cent leap in South Australian businesses investing in solar generation. Managing director Warwick Johnston said installation was at record levels across Australia.”Every area is going gangbusters at the moment,” he said.


One resulting impact has been that the demand for utility energy is decreasing sharply during the middle of the day due to the famous “duck curve”. As rooftop solar energy systems generate the maximum power during the middle of the day, the demand for power decrease during that time and then increase during the evening. In South Australia, rooftop solar accounted for 36% of the demand during the afternoon and this is set to keep on increasing with rooftop solar to account for almost 100% of the demand during daylight hours after a decade. The implications are that utilities will have to find other sources of revenue to compensate for the falling demand while the transmission and distribution operators will have to invest in balancing and flexible infrastructure to ensure that the fluctuating demand is met.

AEMO has predicted that by 2019, record low demand may fall to just 354MW, and within 10 years the grid demand may fall to zero because of the increasing amount of rooftop solar, particularly as South Australia has high grid prices, due to its historic legacy of an elongated network and the lack of competition in wholesale market.



Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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