The sunshine state invests over 1 billion AUD in solar and other renewable energy. The state has the top 5 postcodes in Australia with most solar installations. Queensland has a renewable energy target (RET) of 50% renewables by 2030. In 2018, over 1400 MW of solar capacity was installed in the state. Thus, it was not much of a surprise when the energy minister announced over the last weekend that Queensland crossed 4GW solar milestone.
The rooftop solar installations contribute to over 2.7GW. The remaining capacity comes in from commercial and large-scale plants. As of now, the state boasts an average of 800W per resident of solar power generation. However, current levels contribute only 13% renewables. Still, this is a huge accomplishment for the state. At present, 560,000 homes have rooftop solar on them. The state further tries to push their renewable energy agenda through easy loan and grant schemes. These schemes also include offers to encourage landlords to install rooftop PV on rental properties. This opens up a large portion of the once inaccessible market as renters acquire access to “energy freedom” as well.
Solar battery uptake is also accelerating. Around 2500 households and SMEs have a solar battery along with their Pv system. At present, the rooftop PV systems in the state produce over 4000 MW of energy – almost 2.5 times more than the power generation from Gladstone Coal Plant.
At the current rate, by the end of 2020, Queensland can reach 20% renewables. Thus, plans are also in pipeline to close one of the largest coal power plants in the state, 700MW Callide. Utility-grade solar plants also contribute significantly to this rapid green energy uptake. Last month, the second phase of the 80MW Oakey solar farm went online. This battery-ready farm will generate sufficient energy to power 24,000 households annually, and has advanced forecasting algorithms for optimal load balancing and grid stabilization.