Western Australia hits 500 MW rooftop solar, conventional power suffers

Rooftop solar system. Author: Martin Abegglen. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

January 6 (SeeNews) - The state of Western Australia has reached about 500 MW of rooftop solar capacity and the expansion continues, making some fossil fuel power stations nearly useless.

Curtin University expects that by 2020 up to 50% of the households on the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) will have gone solar. The high interest that rooftop solar is attracting has hit hard the profitability of conventional power stations.

Philip Jennings, a lecturer in energy at Curtin, told the Guardian Australia that the solar uptake is already threatening the Western Australia government’s plans to privatise energy assets. The electricity network in the state is 66% over capacity, in part due to the rooftop solar deployment, and state-owned power plants are unprofitable.

“Effectively we have built another very large power station on the rooftops of Perth,” the professor was cited as saying.  Jennings believes that investors would not be too interested in unprofitable power networks.

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