As one of the sunniest countries on the planet, Australia is ideally placed to include large-scale solar power as a major part of its energy mix. Large-scale solar uses the same technology as rooftop solar panels – specially fabricated semiconductor crystals that convert light from the sun into electricity.
With solar prices falling dramatically (from $US178/MWh to just $US50/MWh over the past eight years*), large-scale solar is already one of the most attractive options for new generation.
While large-scale solar only accounted for 1.8 per cent of Australia’s clean energy and 0.3 per cent of Australia’s overall electricity generation in 2017, the number of large-solar projects being built around the country is growing substantially and will play an increasingly important role in Australia’s energy market.
of total clean energy generated in 2017
of total electricity generated in 2017
The amount of large-scale solar installed around the country jumped from just 34 MW in 2014 to 450 MW at the end of 2017 and is expected to have another significant rise in the coming years as 25 projects have already been completed in 2018 and a further 59 projects are in construction or due to begin construction soon (this includes hybrid projects combining wind and solar). Considering only four large-scale projects became operational in 2017, this is a huge jump in the number of solar plants being built around the country.
The rapid fall in costs for solar and the ongoing success of the Renewable Energy Target have played crucial roles in this rapid growth.
Projects commissioned in 201824
Projects under construction or due to start soon60
The size of large-scale solar plants continues to grow. Not only has 2018 produced a record number of projects being completed, it has also delivered the six largest solar plants in the country.
Genex Power’s 50 MW Kidston Solar Farm in Queensland was the largest solar project commissioned in 2017. 2018 has seen the completion of the 189 MW Coleambally Solar Farm, 148 MW Ross River Solar Farm, 138 MW Darling Downs, 125 MW Sun Metals Solar Farm, 110 MW Wemen Solar Farm and the 110 MW Bannerton Solar Farm, along with many others.
You can view more detail on the projects that have been completed and are being constructed around the country on our project tracker page.