Did you know that the first solar cell was actually invented all the way back in 1883?
French physicist Edmond Becquerel (who was only 19 at the time) first discovered the Solar Photovoltaic effect in 1839, before American inventor Charles Fritts invented the first one percent efficient solar cell 44 years later.
Despite this, it wasn’t until 2001 that Australia truly awoke to the potential of solar power and a Renewable Energy Target was put in place, offering high feed-in tariffs to encourage homeowners to come on board.
Now, more and more businesses in Australia are joining the solar revolution as it becomes the ideal energy efficiency solution in the 21st century.
The progress Australia has made in renewable energy
Australia is currently in a renewables boom, with a then-record 2200MW of capacity added in 2017 and a further 10,400MW expected to be added across 2019. This is spread across solar panels and wind farms, with the majority of the capacity coming from rooftop solar setups.
As wholesale electricity prices continue to rise and the cost of solar panels keeps coming down, it has reached the point where six solar panels are now being installed every minute.
South Australia became the first state or territory to shut down its last coal-fired stations in 2016 and not replace them, instead of turning to solar and wind farm power only.
Now, businesses are turning to renewable solutions as well and it is estimated that 90 percent of businesses will have sustainable outcomes by 2030 – in line with the Federal Government’s mandatory renewable energy target.
Improvements in battery technology
While we have seen home batteries begin to roll out across Australia in recent years, this has not yet become a viable option for business
For the types of customers we work with, they would need a battery the size of a 20-foot container to actually store the power generated from their solar panels. On top of this, currently, battery solutions for businesses are phenomenally expensive.
Perhaps in five or six years’ time, we will start to see a price point where storage can be used usefully and economically worked for businesses.
What we can expect in the long-term
The stumbling block for renewable energy in Australia is the ageing infrastructure that was built up to 80 years ago.
Essentially, we are rolling out 21st-century solutions on 19th-century infrastructure. Which is obviously not a sustainable approach. It will require major reform from the current coal-fired station, generator and poles and wires network to something more revolutionary.
Australian National University’s Energy Change Institute director Kenneth Baldwin believes that may come in the form of a system that more closely resembles how internet services are delivered.
“In the future, it will look much more like the internet of energy, in the same way that the internet developed into multiple nodes and many different interconnecting pathways,” he said.
Why Australia is best suited for renewable energy
A recent report by Beyond Zero Emissions has highlighted why Australia is fertile land for renewable energy.
The report positioned Australia first in the world for energy production potential from the rural land area, ahead of China and the United States.
We also came in second for energy production potential from the total land area, behind Russia and third in energy production potential per square kilometre behind Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Put simply, we have lots of vacant land where the sun shines most of the time.
It means the sky’s the limit for Australia in terms of solar production, as long as the required reform to our infrastructure can become a reality.
Contact us on 1300 180 616 today to better understand your 21st-century renewable energy potential.