Australia’s increasingly turbulent irradiance laid bare in decade of mapping


On Monday, Slovakian solar forecasting company Solargis published a decade of solar mapping analysis for Australia, North America and India. 

The maps show “significant resource variability,” Solargis said, which has increasing importance as margins for solar projects tighten.

In terms of Australia, where world-class solar irradiance has driven a massive boom in the uptake of PV technologies, Solargis’ analysis finds Australia’s consistency is wavering severely. 

Compared with long-term averages, 2019 saw as much as a 10% increase in irradiance on the east coast. This extreme increase of course contributed to Australia’s worst ever bushfire season, known as Black Summer in 2020.

Likewise, Solgaris said its team is working to understand phenomena like the El Niño and La Niña weather patterns which have massively impacted rainfall and other aspects of Australia’s climate.

“The future of solar integration on the continent [Australia] depends on expert, reliable understanding of how investors and asset managers can prepare for and manage extreme weather events while integrating these future technologies into the grid as the nation transitions from fossil fuels,” the company’s statement read.

These changing solar conditions come on the back of an increasingly challenging financial landscape for solar. “We are seeing margins tighten on global solar projects, due to multiple factors like the phase out of tax credits and subsidies, price volatility and rising supply chain costs,” Solargis CEO Marcel Suri said.

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