Solar power is derived from energy radiated from the sun as light and heat. The sun is the source of most forms of renewable energy.
Electricity is generated from solar energy through two main renewable technologies – solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal.
Electricity generation from solar energy in Australia is currently almost entirely sourced from PV installations. There is an increasing interest in solar thermal electricity, but the major application of solar thermal energy in Australia is for water heating.
The solar industry is at a critical stage in Australia. Driven by federal and state government incentives, the industry has grown exponentially in recent years.
With increasing uptake in solar PV and potential for commercial-scale solar thermal power plants, the solar industry has a promising future.
The Australian Government’s $1.5 billion Solar Flagships program will support the construction and demonstration of large scale (up to 1,000 MW) solar power stations in Australia, while the Australian Solar Institute will provide funding to develop cutting-edge research projects.
Future prospects for Australia’s PV industry remain strong with prices of PV systems reducing across the world while costs of electricity from traditional energy sources are increasing.