It was a proud moment for the Australian PV Industry last month when it was revealed that more than one million homes and businesses throughout Australia now have PV systems installed and registered under the country’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme.
This data was released by the Clean Energy Regulator the Australian government body responsible for increasing the use of clean energy and for setting the Renewable Energy Target, a program dedicated to achieving at least 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
Increase by 98 %
In 2008, Australia had only 20,000 PV systems installed and in five years this figure has increased by 98 percent. The graph below clearly outlines the steep increase from 2010 to mid 2012 and forecasts a continuous rise of rooftop installations across Australia. Australia has far surpassed its prediction and hit the one million mark a quarter earlier than anticipated.
“This is a great achievement for the Australian Solar PV industry”, said Zygmunt Nejman, General Manager of SMA Australia. “We are very proud that nearly 300,000 of these systems feature SMA products. This is a major milestone on the road to achieving the Renewable Energy Target.”
SMA Australia PV System References
SMA inverters feature prominently as an element of PV rooftop installations across Australia, and given the recent milestone, it’s the perfect time to showcase some of these installations that have contributed towards the million.
The state of Queensland leads the way, with more than 300,000 PV systems installed. This is mainly due to generous government incentives in the past and the favourable weather conditions.
James Cook University in Cairns operates a research facility in the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest, one of the best-known natural laboratories in the world for understanding the impacts of global environmental change.
The research facility was in need of a sustainable solution to power the crane that previously relied on a diesel generated off-grid system.
This off-grid solution combines solar power with traditional diesel back-up power. The 5kW plant is powered by an SMA Sunny Mini Central SMC 5000TL and generates approximately 6,900kW of solar energy per annum. Six SMA Sunny Island SI 5048’s take on all control processes, ensuring the highest efficiency at all times. In addition, the system greatly reduces CO2 emissions which is of extreme importance for this protected area.
New South Wales comes in a close second with over 200,000 PV systems. In the past, government incentive schemes were also in place.
Cockatoo Island in Sydney is well known because of the infamous skyline that surrounds it. It is one of the best examples of early colonial history to be found in Sydney. This remarkable island received the tremendous boost of a UNESCO World Heritage listed site and the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust deeply values environmental sustainability.
The 65kW system now in place comprises five SMA Sunny Mini Central 11000TL inverters and one SMA Sunny Mini Central 10000TL inverter. The system produces an annual yield of around 120MWh of electricity.
The main benefit of the system is that it keeps energy and maintenance costs low. This was a unique project as the system has to overcome significant heritage and geographical constraints to generate sufficient electricity.
Donna Hudson (guest author)
Donna Hudson has been with SMA Australia for over a year and is part of the marketing team. Originally from the UK she moved to Australia 5 years ago and has never looked back. Living at Manly Beach means that her spare time consists of volley ball, snorkeling and general beach activities.