Numerous countries are implementing energy transformation in order to respond to climate change. As solar energy experiences an elevation in installed capacity and a reduction in cost, the photovoltaic ratio in multiple regions is on an ascending slope, and almost occupies all power provision. South Australia has recently enjoyed a 100% solar power generation, which can be regarded as a memorable milestone, despite its temporary duration.
On the day of October 11th, the sunny and mild temperature between noon and 1 p.m. had facilitated the solar power generation that satisfied all energy need in South Australia, which was primarily contributed by rooftop solar systems. According to the coverage of foreign media, nearly 1/3 of households in South Australia are installed with rooftop solar panels, and 2,500 units have been installed this year alone.
The 288K units of rooftop solar systems totaling 992MW of installed capacity in the entire South Australia had produced enormous electricity in the mere hour, whereas large solar power plants are only at 313MW in comparison. Audrey Zibelman, CEO of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), commented that the high ratio and successfully integrated rooftop solar indicates that the power grid in Australia has been “reconstructed” as there have been no jurisdictions that are able to rely completely on solar energy like South Australia did, and that consumer rooftop solar currently occupies 77% amongst solar installation.
Solar energy had previously fulfilled 89% of electricity in South Australia on the day September 13th, where the installed capacity of rooftop solar had reached to 900MW then. If AEMO has predicted correctly, South Australia may become increasingly dependent on electricity from renewable energy, since the more you see a certain thing, the more you will get used to it.
Zibelman further commented that the installed capacity of rooftop solar in South Australia is currently surging, and that 36K additional units of rooftop solar system will be installed within the next 14 months, signaling that the power grid of Australia might achieve zero carbon emission in the future.
A solution must be found in order to cope with the intermittent property of solar energy as the ratio of renewable energy is on the rise. As expressed by Zibelman, AEMO is also seeking for relevant technical solutions, such as the elevation of system inertia, intensity, and voltage control, for which the power grid services were all provided by coal-fired power plants in the past.
According to the integrated service plan of AEMO, the power grid would require 26GW of renewable energy 6-19GW of dispatchable energy should it wish to replace coal-fired power generation that occupies 63% by the time of 2040, where the installed capacity of distributed energy including rooftop solar and residential energy storage will double, or even triple then.
(Cover photo source: pixabay)