A home with solar panels
A home with solar panels on its roof is shown in a residential neighborhood in San Marcos, California September 19,2013. Well over 60 percent of solar systems in states like California and Arizona today are owned by a third party and financed, allowing homeowners to go solar by paying a monthly fee for panels instead of shouldering the $20,000 to $30,000 up front cost of a system. Photo taken September 19, 2013. Reuters/Mike Blake

A recent study on Australia’s renewable energy sector has revealed that solar energy has taken a lead over wind power and bio energy. This is despite all the three continuing to be key contributors to the renewable energy mix of the country.

The study, conducted by Global Data said Solar Photovoltaic became Australia's largest source of renewable energy in 2014 with a combined installed capacity of 4 Gigawatts and surpassed the capacity of wind power’s 3.8 GW. Global Data is into research and consulting.

Financial incentives

According to Siddhartha Raina, Global Data's senior analyst, growth of Australia's solar PV market has been a recent development, aided by the extensive policy support of the government.

Despite the government revising renewable energy target or RET, to support emission-intensive industries from 41 Terawatt hours to 33 TWh, the trageted renewable energy capacity of 6 GW will still come up by 2020, the analyst noted.

Among the important policy drives to boost renewables, the analyst mentioned the introduction of a carbon pricing mechanism in 2012 for supporting a low-carbon economy as the most important one. It provided ample incentives for efforts towards reducing emissions with a fixed annual price.

Despite scrapping the carbon pricing scheme in July 2014 for promoting economic growth, Raina noted that the tax sops for the applicable years are still valid. He also hailed the strong government backing for the bio-energy sector, the capacity of which amounted to 573.9 Megawatts in 2014 and is on the way to reach 1.8 GW by the end of 2025.

In another dose of policy push, the Australian government announced that it is looking to enhance the deployment of battery storage in Australian households to reduce peak demand and cost burden on consumers.

Environment minister Greg Hunt said the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency have been asked to expedite the widespread deployment of battery storage.

“Australia has the highest rate of household solar in the world. This makes Australia an ideal place to develop storage and battery technology," the minister told the Greentech media.

Dumping probe called off

Meanwhile, the Anti-Dumping Commission of the Australian Government has called off its investigation into the alleged dumping of crystalline silicon PV modules and panels from China following a recommendation made in April to terminate the case.

The termination of the investigation followed the assessment that the dumping did not cause any heavy injury to the domestic industry. The decision was welcomed by Australia’s Clean Energy Council.

"We are very pleased that the investigation has been terminated, removing a significant source of uncertainty that has been hanging over the industry for nearly 18 months," said Darren Gladman, CEC policy manager.

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