Solar powers on while utility-scale renewables drop away

The latest data from Green Energy Markets shows solar PV installations powering on at 75MW for November but with QLD in decline. Meanwhile large scale renewable generation market share has been steadily declining thanks to seasonal factors and little new capacity due to RET uncertainty.

Energy and environmental certificate market analysts Green Energy Markets have released their latest snapshots of the markets for large scale and small-scale renewable energy.

Utility-scale renewables

Consistent with seasonal trends driven by winter peaks in hydro and wind generation, renewable energy’s share of National Electricity Market generation continues to decline, hitting 11.4% this month. This was down 15.9% the previous November. This is a likely product of hydro generators running down their storages during the prior financial year to maximise the price benefit from the carbon price before it was abolished this financial year.  

Renewable energy power generation and market share in the NEM by fuel type
(excludes rooftop solar)

Source: Green Energy Markets (2014) Monthly LGC snapshot.

The capacity factor for NEM installed wind capacity in November was 31%, with the calendar year to date average being 31.4%.

Rooftop solar PV

While utility scale renewables are pretty much at standstill this year, the rooftop solar PV market continues to power on with 75 megawatts installed for the month based on current STC data. According to Green Energy Markets it is clearly apparent that the 2014 regulator target for small-scale renewable energy certificates, known as STCs, will be comfortably exceeded with a surplus of 5.6 million certificates by February 2015.

The chart below illustrates that installations of solar PV continue to steadily grow in Victoria and WA, while appearing to decline in Queensland and subject to a bit of volatility in NSW and SA. Thanks in part to larger-scale commercial installations (10 kilowatts or more indicated in blue), NSW is creeping up to levels of installations in Queensland. The state is clearly leading the way in opening up the commercial sector market, with commercial also a large part of the SA market

Monthly solar PV capacity installations by state

Source: Green Energy Markets (2014) Monthly STC Snapshot - November

Also of interest is that we are just on the verge of cracking 100 solar PV power stations above the 100 kilowatt mark. According to Green Energy Markets there are now 99 solar power stations accredited with the Clean Energy Regulator and producing LGCs instead of STCs.

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