There was more solar power installed on rooftops between January and October this year than for the entire previous decade, according to the Clean Energy Australia 2010 report released today.
The increased affordability of solar power in Australia meant the technology was fast becoming “the Hills Hoist of the 21st century”, according to Matthew Warren, the chief executive of the Clean Energy Council, Australia’s peak body for more than 450 renewable energy companies.
There were more than 100,000 solar power systems installed during 2010, compared with a total of 81,232 from 2000-2009.
“Over the past year more than 100,000 households have made a significant personal investment to take individual action on climate change and protect themselves against rising electricity prices,” Mr Warren said.
The report also includes new modelling that predicts more than 55,000 jobs are expected to be created in renewable energy by 2020, many in regional areas.
The Clean Energy Australia Report provides a snapshot of the renewable energy industry over 2010. Other trends include:
• 8.67 per cent of Australia’s electricity was generated by renewable sources such as solar and wind in the last year, a total of 21,751 gigawatt hours. This was the equivalent of over three million Australian households. Good rainfall in key catchments led to a 15 per cent increase in hydro electricity from previous years.
• According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the renewable energy sector experienced just under $1.8 billion in new financial investment during the 2009-2010 financial year.
• There was a total of 209 megawatts of large scale clean energy projects added to the grid between January and October this year.
Mr Warren said continued policy uncertainty in the first half of 2010 had slowed development of a number of industrial scale clean energy projects.
“The enhanced renewable energy target starts on New Year’s Day. With some major projects in the pipeline such as the Macarthur Wind Farm we are looking forward to continued growth of clean energy in 2011,” he said.