Rooftop solar powers WA to renewable energy record


The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has confirmed the new record for instantaneous renewable energy share was set at approximately 12.30 local time on Nov. 12, with rooftop solar contributing more than 61% of the total electricity generated in Western Australia’s (WA) main grid, the South West Integrated System (SWIS).

“Renewables supplied nearly 40% of total electricity generated in WA’s WEM last week, also setting a new instantaneous renewables record of 81% on Saturday, up 1.3% from the previous record,” AEMO said in a tweet.

“At the time, rooftop PV was estimated to contribute over 61% of underlying demand.”

AEMO said the new peak easily eclipsed the previous benchmark of 79% set in September, 2021.

The result is further evidence of the rapid change the WA energy system has undergone in recent years. Households have embraced renewable energy technology at record rates with approximately 3,000 homes installing rooftop solar each month.

Data provided by the government shows that in 2021, WA households added 191 MW of generation capacity to their rooftops, bringing the total amount of residential solar capacity in the state’s main grid to almost 2 GW of renewable energy generation.

More than 400,000 WA homes and businesses, about 36% of customers, now have PV systems connected to the SWIS, which is the state’s main grid, covering the south-western part of WA. That collective capacity means rooftop solar is the largest source of electricity generation in the state, far outstripping the capacity of state-owned generator Synergy’s 854 MW coal-fired Muja Power Station.

And it makes sense for WA residents to be tapping into solar as the state enjoys more sunshine than any other state or territory in the country. Bureau of Meteorology data shows that Perth, the state capital averages 8.8 hours of sunlight a day, eclipsing the likes of Darwin (8.5 hours), Brisbane (8.2 hours) and Adelaide (7.7 hours).

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