Energy

Entire state of South Australia powered solely by solar in a world first

Entire state of South Australi...
For one hour in October, the entire state of South Australia drew its energy purely from solar
For one hour in October, the entire state of South Australia drew its energy purely from solar
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For one hour in October, the entire state of South Australia drew its energy purely from solar
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For one hour in October, the entire state of South Australia drew its energy purely from solar

Climate change, advances in technology and lower costs are driving the adoption of solar around the world, but some places are already leaning on it quite heavily as a part of their energy mix. This is true of the state of South Australia, which for a short period earlier in October met 100 percent of its energy needs from solar power – a world-first for a jurisdiction of its size.

The significant but short-lived milestone was met on Sunday October 11, when solar power provided all of South Australia’s energy needs between midday and 1 pm. Clear skies and mild temperatures on the day created suitable conditions, with rooftop solar systems accounting for the majority of the output.

Solar power is popular in South Australia, where one in three homes are equipped with rooftop systems and 2,500 of them have been installed this year alone. The 288,000 installed rooftop systems contributed 992 MW during that hour on October 11, while large-scale solar facilities provided a further 313 MW.

“The domination and successful integration of rooftop solar in South Australia foreshadows the rebuilding of jurisdictional power systems in Australia,” says Managing Director and CEO of Australian Energy Market Operator, Audrey Zibelman. “Never before has a jurisdiction the size of South Australia been completely run by solar power, with consumers’ rooftop solar systems contributing 77 per cent.”

The state had previously met as much as 89 percent of its energy needs from solar, a milestone recorded on September 13 that saw rooftop solar output hit 900 MW for the first time. And if the Australian Energy Market Operator's (AEMO’s) forecasts prove accurate, this kind of reliance on clean energy could become commonplace.

“South Australia is experiencing a surge in rooftop solar installations,” says Zibelman. “AEMO is forecasting an additional 36,000 new rooftop solar systems in the next 14 months, which will mean that South Australia’s grid will see zero demand as rooftop solar alone will be capable of meeting 100 per cent of demand. This is truly a phenomenon in the global energy landscape.”

Source: AEMO

12 comments
zr2s10
Are they using home installed batteries for nighttime reserves? That would help lower the strain on the overall grid.
Nobody
WOW. They went totally solar for one hour on a sunny day!!! How much was stored for the rest of the day? Probably very little if any. What happens when the sun doesn't shine? Windmills? What happens when the wind doesn't blow. It's going to take a lot more generation and storage capacity to be independent from fossil fuels. I figure they will have to up capacity by a factor of 20 or more. Of course rolling blackouts should be very popular until then. Caves should be a lucrative investment since energy prices will sky rocket.
Trylon
Australia is pushing solar power. Japan is aiming to be carbon-neutral by 2050. European countries and China are likewise forging ahead with renewable energy. Meanwhile in the US, conservatives desperately hang on to dirty petroleum and coal power as if they have a long future ahead.
Paul Mc
zr2s10 - Yes, the govt subsidise batteries. There is also a scheme to install a distributed solar power system in public housing, with panels and batteries installed and connected to the grid

Nobody - Yes windmills is correct. There is much more wind generation power - nearly 3 times - in the state than solar. Between the two renewables, they provide 66% of the total local demand. Wholesale Energy prices are 40% cheaper than coal-burning states in the east in the last 2 months. Gas power makes up the balance.
Eddy
So wholesale energy prices are 40% cheaper than coal-burning states now the sunnier weather is there. I bet it will be a long time before it affects retail costs in the state with Australia's highest power prices.
aksdad
Great milestone! They demonstrated that they enough solar generating capacity to meet all their energy needs. Why does it only work for 1 hour of the year? What do they do for the other 8,765 hours of the year? Coal? Natural gas? Inquiring minds want to know...
mikewax
South Australia is also famous for it's giant 100MW Tesla battery farm, which was so profitable they're now upgrading to 150MW. I expect in time they will be able to retire their conventional power plants entirely.
Rusty Harris
At what cost TO the environment when the batteries, solar cells have to be replaced not to mention the mining to get the raw materials to make these
silly things? Nuclear is MUCH cleaner, but everyone thinks it will "blow up" or leak out. The Chernobyl, and one in Japan were engineering blunders.
Three Mile Island showed that even idiots that did the wrong thing, the safety features worked. Wind only works when it is blowing. Solar only when it
is sunny. The problem with these options are that you can't "gin up" the system like you can at an electrical power plant that uses GENERATORS.
paul04
consumers generated 77% . thats the big news.
S. Willey
Well don't worry about cost of solar maintenance in Australia. My off grid home in north Idaho has run on solar with very little back-up in worst of winter, for over 35years. Out of about 59 solar modules most of them near 35 uears old, only one had failed and i was able to repair the conection. It just keeps worling --- like the sunshine. Now batteries are a different story. We still have lead aid batteries, good for 8 to 12 yers, but the Tesla batteries in australia are another step to better cleaner and cheaper energy. Its a bit old fashiones (out of date) to not be aware of current technology.