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 sector's momentum slowed in 2020, but it still added 893 MW of new capacity across 22 projects. This brought the sector's total capacity to 3.9 GW and increased its contribution to Australia's renewable generation from 9.3 per cent in 2019 to 10.9 per cent in 2020.
Queensland was Australia's leading large-scale solar state in 2020, generating 3.3 GWh of solar power throughout the year. It was followed by New South Wales with 2.4 GWh and Victoria with just over 1 GWh.
of total clean energy generated in 2020
of total electricity generated in 2020
The large-scale solar sector is expected to perform strongly in the next couple of years, with 52 large-scale solar farms under construction at the end of 2020.
Among these are the 400 MW Western Downs Green Power Hub in Queensland and the 400 MW New England Solar Farm in New South Wales, both of which are expected to be completed in 2022. In what is becoming increasingly common, both projects will include a utility-scale battery to provide extra electricity into the grid outside of peak solar hours.
Also on the horizon is the Sun Cable project in the Northern Territory, which at 10 GW will be the world's largest solar farm and will feature a battery 150 times larger that South Australia's Hornsdale Power Reserve. Although the mega project isn't expected to generate electricity until 2026, its ongoing development is a strong signal of the large-scale solar industry's importance to Australia's, and the world's, transition to a renewable energy future.
Projects commissioned in 202022
Projects under construction or financially committed at the end of 202052
The largest commissioned solar farm in 2020 was the 110 MW second stage of the Bungala Solar Farm in South Australia. When combined with the first stage of the project, which was completed in 2018, the solar farm injects 220 MW of solar power into the South Australian electricity grid. Other notable projects to come online in 2020 included the 105 MW Nevertire Solar Farm in New South Wales, the 100 MW Bomen Solar Farm in New South Wales, Western Australia's 100 MW Merredin Solar Farm and the 100 MW Yarranlea Solar Farm in Queensland.
You can view more detail on the projects that have been completed and are being constructed around the country on our project tracker page.