Investment in solar grows despite policy vacuum

Australians embrace the sun like no other country in the world. Beyond slapping on some sunscreen and racing out to the beach, our love for the sun includes an obsession with solar power, with Australia receiving the largest average solar radiation per square metre globally.

According to the Australian Energy Market Operator, six to 10 solar panels are installed every minute in the country if we included large-scale commercial solar projects. Today, the solar boom has been further boosted by solar and storage subsidy schemes to make generation and storage more accessible to homeowners in South Australia, Queensland and Victoria.

Two million homes in Australia now have rooftop solar and 70,000 homes are expected to install batteries in 2019. However, homeowners are not the only people driving the growth of Australia’s clean energy evolution. Businesses and investors are backing solar either through Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) or direct investments in building solar farms.

In 2018, close to 2,000 MW of wind and solar generation was backed by a PPA. This year in January, Flow Power signed a ten year agreement to draw 48 MW from two solar farms to companies like Mars Australia who are aiming to power 100 percent of their operations solar through a PPA.

Investors have also signalled their interest in making direct investments in Australian solar projects with Advisian most recently advertising that it was seeking 20GW of clean energy projects on behalf of an international power company.

There have been repeated calls from businesses, industry and investors for the Australian Government to provide greater policy certainty for energy to encourage further investment. Yet in the face of rising energy prices and demands for companies to reduce their carbon footprint, not everyone is prepared to wait. Instead, many are choosing to move forward with solar and the sun will continue to shine on Australia’s solar industry.