AEMO: Solar PV to be a major source of peak power

AEMO has released an information paper outlining its initial attempt at incorporating solar PV into electricity forecasts. It projects a major role for solar.

The Australian Energy Market Operator has released an information paper outlining scenarios of potential solar PV uptake in the eastern states National Electricity Market.

What is probably of greatest importance for the electricity market is that under the moderate scenario by 2030 they expect solar PV to take around 1300MW out of system peak demand in NSW; 1000MW out of Queensland and 1000MW out of SA. While peak demand across these states will grow between now and 2030 these numbers are significant enough to substantially depress pool prices. This solar peak demand contribution is equivalent to 8 per cent of NSW and Queensland’s current peak demand and more than a quarter of SA’s peak demand.

AEMO’s three scenarios for the megawatts of PV installed (as opposed to what it is likely to generate during peak periods) are outlined in the chart below compared to a range of other forecasts of PV uptake in the NEM. AEMO’s three scenarios are the solid blue, yellow and orange lines.

AEMO and non-AEMO forecasts of PV installed capacity for the NEM

 BZE: Beyond Zero Emissions; BREE: Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics; DRET: Forecast prepared for Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism for Energy White Paper

Note it looks like the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (whose forecast is the black square in the bottom right corner) might need to update the forecast they used to inform the development of the Energy White Paper!

And before the commenters start getting stuck into Beyond Zero Emissions, I would point out that their point estimate is not a forecast but rather an effort to illustrate what might be physically achievable by 2020. It appears that AEMO agree with them as the grey shading of the chart illustrates their rough estimation of the potential household saturation point of how much solar PV could be deployed given constraints of suitable roof-space.

AEMO’s forecasts were built on the following expectations around a simple payback (time for electricity revenue/savings to exceed installation cost assuming no financing cost).


In terms of overall energy contribution from these PV systems they provide the following forecast illustrated below on a monthly basis.

AEMO forecast of solar PV energy contribution – monthly basis




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