The Solar Power market in Australia is expected to grow at a CAGR of 19.56% during 2020 - 2025. Factors, such as favorable government schemes for small-scale solar power generation, upcoming large-scale solar power projects, and supportive government packages for the solar power industry in the event of COVID-19 global pandemic to support solar PV installers in the country, are expected to drive the Australian solar power market (henceforth, referred as the market studied) during the forecast period. Despite the presence of driving factors for the market studied, factors, such as supply chain disruptions in the solar power market due to COVID-19 outbreak, increasing share of alternative clean energy sources hydro and wind power, and an expected delay in large-scale solar power projects, are expected to restraint the growth of the market.
- The solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity continues its dominance during the forecast period. Factors, such as the declining cost of solar PV and associated systems, are expected to augment the growth of the market.
- Despite a large capacity of solar power projects in the pipeline (both small and large-scale solar power), the global COVID-19 pandemic has caused several disruptions in the Australian solar power industry's supply chain. However, supportive packages announced by the government for the renewable energy sector are expected to drive the market studied.
- In terms of deployment, utility-scale solar power is expected to witness the fastest growth during the forecast period.
Key Market Trends
Increasing Deployment of Solar PV to Drive the Market
- Australia has one of the highest average solar radiation per square meter, one of the highest per capita consumption of residential rooftop solar and leading solar PV technology in the world, but still lags behind the rest of the world in terms of mid-scale and large-scale solar development.
- The power sector is dominated by coal, gas, and oil. Renewable sources contributed to 55,093 GWh (21%) of total electricity generation in 2019. The share of solar stood at around 7.8% in the total electricity generation.
- According to the Clean Energy Council, the electricity produced through solar power plants increased by 46% in 2019 as compared to 2018, mostly due to the commissioning of large-scale solar power plants in 2019.
- The cost of large-scale solar PV has fallen dramatically from AUD 135 per megawatt-hour (MWh) in 2015 to an expected AUD 44.50 – AUD 61.50 per MWh in 2020 by a combination of international and local improvements and is expected to continue.
- Solar PV investment grew gradually till 2018, however, the investment in large-scale clean energy projects plunged 56% in Australia last year, dropping to its lowest level since 2016 amid renewed uncertainty over the industry's future.
- Moreover, the current COVID-19 outbreak has further worsened the scenario with the operators in a bid to reduce the cost are not expected to take up a new project. Moreover, the COVID-19 has propelled a lockdown throughout the globe, which has hindered the smooth functioning of the supply chain. This is further expected to restrain the growth of the market.
Utility Scale Solar to Witness Fastest Growth
- The 2020 large-scale renewable energy target (RET) was considered a highly successful policy. It drove unprecedented levels of investment in new utility-scale generation over the past two years (2017 and 2018). Around 15,700 MW of new capacity has been financially committed over the past two years (2017 and 2018), with that generation either under construction or recently commissioned. This new generation was predominantly in the form of wind and solar, which has been supported more by investment in energy storage.
- Investment in Australian renewable energy capacity fell by 40% in 2019. Large-scale wind and solar energy projects were the biggest casualties of the drop in 2019 due to a decline in investor confidence in Australia. Investment in utility-scale solar declined by almost 57% in 2019 compared to the previous year’s value.
- A lack of federal energy policy certainty and a combination of a range of regulatory challenges reflect that the investor confidence in large-scale renewable energy and the accompanying energy storage are fragile in the country.
- Despite policy uncertainty and transmission and connection challenges, the number of large-scale renewable energy projects underway at the end of 2019 increased to 89, compared to 87 in 2018.
- As of May 2020, around 6.07 GW of solar power capacity worth AUD 9.53 billion is under construction or due to the start phase in Australia. Such a huge capacity in pipelines is expected to boost the growth of utility-scale solar power in the country during the forecast period.
- Despite a large capacity of solar power projects in the pipeline, the global COVID-19 pandemic has caused several disruptions in the supply chain of Australia’s renewable energy, including solar. Around 3 GW of wind and solar projects in Australia are expected to be delayed, due to the COVID-19 health crisis and its impact on the local economy.
The Australia Solar Power market is fragmented. Some of the major companies include AGL Energy Limited, Infigen Energy Ltd., Neoen SA, FirstSolar Inc., and Sunpower Corporation.
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