Australia's large scale solar ranking worse than Winter Olympics

Australia’s large scale solar ranking worse than Winter Olympics

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Australia has a natural advantage in solar, but its global ranking in utility-scale solar is worse than its Winter Olympics medal tally.

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Australia may well be leading the world in rooftop solar installations, but it hasn’t yet caught up in large scale solar, ranking No 24 in the world – two spots below its ranking in the recent Winter Olympics medal tally.

New data released by Wiki-Solar, a compiler of large scale installation data across the world, says that Australia still trails 22 other (mostly less sunny) countries, although that could change in the coming year as the pipeline of projects finally comes on line.

In the Winter Olympics, Australia ranked No 23 with two silvers and a bronze. In solar though, Australia should have some natural advantage.

The table above shows the top 15, a list that Australia should be able to crack this year with up to 1,800MW of large scale solar due to come on line by the end of 2018.

“Australia, too has a significant and growing pipeline, and can be expected to rise into the top 15 in the current year,” analyst Philip Wolfe writes.

But it’s not the only country on the move. Canada is for the first time starting to install projects beyond Ontario and he notes that other countries to watch are Turkey and Russia, both of which have implemented tender mechanisms for renewable power.

“Chile, Brazil and Mexico have substantial project pipelines, which should see them continuing to move up the league table”, says Wolfe.

“European countries are expected to continue drifting backwards, though Spain is at last starting to look at installing new unsubsidised projects, and Italy may follow.”

By his calculations, there was 40GW of utility-scale solar installed across the world in 2017, taking the total to 143GW. Almost all of this was solar PV, with just 6GW of solar thermal.

Plans, including projects under construction, or near finalisation, show Australia showing a much more prominent role. The pipeline data collected by SunWiz and RenewEconomy show some 20GW in the pipeline, including early stage projects.

Asia again dominated new installations in 2017, with China and India advancing strongly, north America showing only marginal growth, while Europe declined for the second consecutive year. Progress accelerated in both South America and Africa.




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  1. Joe 3 years ago

    Astonishing reading that the UK and Germany are blitzing it…and they don’t have anywhere near the amount of sunshine that we / Australia receive. Just goes to show how woeful our effort has been these last 10 plus years.

    • Patrick Comerford 3 years ago

      Would be no exaggeration to say this uncomprehensable state is a direct function of Abborts and Trumbles war on renewables. This table really shows how destructive their policy has been to the best interests of consumers i.e. The Australian voting public. I for one feel absolutely no sympathy for those battlers whinging about the cost of power. You either inform yourself and pay attention to the destruction that is being wrought by the worst two term government in our history and vote accordingly or you suck it up.

      • Joe 3 years ago

        Patrick, I couldn’t agree with you more. I still can’t get my head around the Newspoll numbers…a steady 47 /48 % of the punters still keep supporting for these dudes. It seems to me that it is one thing to complain loud and long but a completely different thing to actually do anything about it. I live on The Northern Beaches of Sydney. Here the Abbott keeps getting re elected. Despite all the negative vibe about him the voters just vote Liberal even if a hopeless candidate like the Abbott is put up for election.

        • MaxG 3 years ago

          Because the people are stupid… someone said: these idiots are like turkeys voting for Thanksgiving!

          • Joe 3 years ago

            Spot on again.

    • MaxG 3 years ago

      And it’s not only energy… whatever people think of Kevin Rudd, but he had a vision for this country, his 2020 summits and all. also looking at EV uptake, job prospects in light of automation, etc. Still not perfect, but the lack of any foresight by our politicians has triggered me to become self-reliant in every aspect; the strategy was to reduce subscriptions of any kind to a minimum; happily leaving a suburb in Brisbane for a rural place where I can do all the stuff I need… as I said elsewhere: food production is next… only 5 bills per year to pay left… and maybe the future moves quickly, so I won’t buy an EV at all, just rent it on demand.

      • Joe 3 years ago

        Well done Max. Everything old is new again where it wasn’t so long ago that people were a lot more self sufficient than what they are today.

  2. Jon 3 years ago

    Good to see we’re eventually making a move on large scale solar, it’d be interesting to see the same numbers on a per capita basis.

  3. Ekkehard Groskreutz 3 years ago

    Here are the per capita numbers as suggested:
    Ranking Country MW Population W/person
    1 Chile 2182 18151000 120.21
    2 UK 6710 65600000 102.29
    3 USA 29335 326026485 89.98
    4 Spain 4162 46530000 89.45
    5 Germany 4420 82290000 53.71
    6 Canada 1652 37000000 44.65
    7 China 54158 1376049000 39.36
    8 France 2356 65152307 36.16
    9 South Africa 1799 55000000 32.71
    10 Japan 3331 127281008 26.17
    11 Italy 1313 59313000 22.14
    12 Thailand 1057 68658771 15.39
    13 India 19119 1340000000 14.27
    14 Philipines 963 107000000 9.00
    15 Brazil 869 213006388 4.08
    Sorry for the lack of formating

  4. BushAxe 3 years ago

    Australia should be aiming for top 10 within 10 years.

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