If you took all the solar panels in Germany and put them in Australia, they would supply a quarter of our electricity demand.
In the first six months of 2012, 4.5% of total electricity demand in Germany was met by solar power. Put that capacity onto Australian rooftops, and it would supply 25% of our electricity.
Compare this to Australia’s weak efforts to meet the 20% renewable energy target, which has only achieved 4% additional renewables (wind and solar) in the last 5 years.
Germany’s solar capacity has grown 500% since 2007. The German government recently announced a 52-gigawatt target for rooftop solar capacity, to be achieved over the next 3-4 years. This would supply the equivalent of 50% of our electricity if installed in Australia’s sun.
Given the big reductions in solar panel costs in recent years, the cost of this rollout in Australia would be one quarter (25%) of what Germany has paid to date.
“Germany’s shining example is not alone,” says Matthew Wright, Executive Director of Beyond Zero Emissions.
“China has increased its 2015 target five-fold, and that is even expected to be exceeded.
“The rate of installation which we have seen overseas shows Australia is aiming far too low.
“We should set a target of 25% of our power from rooftop solar panels. Surely sunny Australia can match cold, cloudy Germany.
“Our large-scale renewables target should be increased to at least 25% by 2020, to drive the kind of wind power expansion we’ve already seen in South Australia across the nation.”
Germany has used feed-in tariffs for renewable energy generators, small and large, which is how they have driven their expansion.
“Before Campbell Newman slashed Queensland’s solar feed-in tariff, the state was seeing 1000 solar installations per day,” Mr Wright said.
“This solar installed behind the meter actually saves consumers money, as well as directly cutting our carbon emissions.
“It’s obvious we can do much better. If we set these targets we can achieve them with the proven feed-in tariff mechanism.”
Beyond Zero Emissions published the Zero Carbon Australia stationary energy plan in 2010 which showed how to go to 100% renewable energy in ten years.
In September, BZE will launch the Zero Carbon Australia buildings plan, which will recommend a massive increase in rooftop solar installations across the country.