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 $135/MWh in 2015 to between $44.50 and $61.50 per MWh in 2020*), large-scale solar is already one of the most attractive options for new generation.
The large-scale solar industry continued its momentum in 2019, with 27 new projects adding 1416 MW of new capacity. This almost doubled the industry's total capacity in Australia, which is now over 2.8 GW, and its contribution to Australia's renewable energy generation increased from 3.9 per cent in 2018 to 9.3 per cent in 2019.
of total clean energy generated in 2019
of total electricity generated in 2019
More than two-thirds of the new large-scale projects commissioned in 2019 were solar. Queensland was again Australia's large-scale solar leader in 2019, with 10 of the 27 projects commissioned located in the Sunshine State. This was followed by New South Wales with six projects and Victoria and South Australia with four apiece.
In what would be a massive boost to the Australian large-scale solar industry, planning is underway on the world's biggest solar farm outside Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory. The $20 billion Sun Cable project would involve a 10 GW solar array spread over 15,000 hectares of central Australian desert, supported by a 22 GWh battery to guarantee always-on power. The power generated by the solar farm will be exported to Singapore via a 3800 km undersea cable.
Projects commissioned in 201927
Projects under construction or financially committed at the end of 201953
Queensland was home to the biggest solar project in 2019 – Edify Energy's Daydream Solar Farm. Located near Collinsville in North Queensland, the solar farm has an installed capacity of 150 MW and created 200 jobs in the region. Another significant project was the 133 MW Finley Solar Farm in New South Wales, which began to output electricity to the grid in August 2019. The solar farm has a seven-year power purchase agreement with Bluescope Steel.
You can view more detail on the projects that have been completed and are being constructed around the country on our project tracker page.