South Australia: Rooftop PV reduces electricity demand

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The latest South Australian Electricity Report (SAER), released by AEMO today, August 9, has revealed that the state’s annual energy demand decreased by five percent, or 700 GWh between 2011 and 2012. The reason has been attributed to mining operations and water desalination plants not coming online as planned, and the "significant penetration" of rooftop photovoltaic systems.

"In South Australia, the uptake of rooftop PV systems has contributed to a reduction in demand by requiring less electricity to be drawn from the grid," commented AEMO managing director and CEO, Matt Zema. He added that according to estimates, 38 percent of installed photovoltaic capacity is generating energy during peak summer demand.

AMEO went on to say that approximately one in five residential homes in South Australia has a rooftop photovoltaic installation, and that between 2011 and 2012, they produced 306 GWh of energy, thus accounting for around 2.4 percent of the state’s annual energy demand.

The reduction in demand is said to have led to a five-year delay in the need for generation investment in the region.

At the end of July, figures released from the Australian Clean Energy Regulator showed that 750,000 homes across the country now feature photovoltaic arrays, thus bringing cumulative rooftop photovoltaic capacity to 1.7 GW. It added that while the rate of installation has slowed from 2011, predictions are that 600 MW will be added in 2012. Meanwhile, in 2013, it is forecast that more than a million homes will have installed photovoltaics, with a capacity of over 2.3 GW.