Solar to fuel new power generation
Nearly all of Perth’s daytime electricity needs will be met by rooftop solar panels within a decade, according to State Energy Minister Mike Nahan.
In his strongest comments yet on the rampant popularity of solar panels, Dr Nahan told an Energy in WA conference the technology would provide virtually all new generation capacity by 2025.
Fuelled by falling solar panel prices and rising electricity tariffs, demand for solar cells has been running at 20-30 per cent in Perth for the past six years.
About 170,000 households in the South West grid covering Perth now have a system.
Dr Nahan said installed solar capacity across the city was about 500MW — or the equivalent of a major base-load power station — and this was expected to more than double within years.
“We expect that the bulk of generating capacity during sunlight hours in the metro area in about 10 years time will be provided by rooftop solar,” Dr Nahan said.
“That’s the reality. So it is going to provide the bulk of additional capacity going forward.
“It will also displace a lot of the existing capacity. It’s low-priced, it’s democratically determined and it’s something we’re committed to facilitating.”
The comments came as Dr Nahan provided an update of the Government’s plans to shake up the electricity sector.
He said moves to end Synergy’s monopoly over the household power market and throw it open to competition by 2018 were on track.
Before the Government could do that, however, he said the subsidy to the State-owned utility would need to be erased and excess capacity from the system stripped by reducing some Synergy capacity.
He said it was too early to say which plants would be closed.