Wind and solar power generation in Australia grew by more than 20% in 2015, bringing their combined share in the country’s electricity to 7.3%, show figures by the Clean Energy Council (CEC).
Overall, renewables accounted for 14.6% of Australia’s power last year, as compared to 13.5% in 2014. The rise in wind and solar more than offset a decline in hydropower generation. Hydro’s share was 5.9%, wind followed with 4.9% and solar's was 2.4%.
Solar power generation in Australia comes mainly from small-scale photovoltaic (PV) arrays. Rooftop solar power surpassed 5 GW in early 2016.
With about 15,200 GWh of renewables output in 2015, the country has met half of its 2020 Renewable Energy Target (RET) of 33,000 GWh. CEC’s report shows there are over 8 GW of wind and 2.5 GW of solar projects either under construction or with a planning approval, which should be more than enough to meet the 2020 target.
In 2015, 1 GW of projects were added to the pipeline through government approvals processes.
Investment confidence was weak in the first half of 2015 due to the effect of the RET review, but things are improving. “We are seeing strong momentum return to the sector with substantial interest from international investors. More activity is expected throughout this year, and the future for Australian renewable energy looks bright,” said CEC CEO Kane Thornton.
Investment in major projects reached AUD 1.2 billion (USD 869m/EUR 781m) for 2015. The industry employed 14,020 people.