Australian Clean Energy Council CEO David Green has asserted that solar PV (panels) will transition from being a disruptive technology to being the “incumbent” technology in Australia, displacing coal and radically changing the way electricity is provided, RenewEconomy has reported.
Green said in a presentation for the Davos Connection conference that, with the growth of solar, electricity will transition from largely being generated at central points of supply to near or at the points of use. Consequently, the role of the power grid will be as a back-up, and a more competitive electricity market will develop.
Furthermore, far from being a technology for the wealthy, solar is actually being adopted more rapidly in lower-income suburbs than in higher income areas. This is because it’s attractive to access the lower, fixed rates available. Solar leasing and community ownership are also likely to stimulate a new wave of investment in solar, he suggested.
In addition, a battery energy storage market is starting to emerge worldwide, so solar power can be available for use at night. While this technology is currently focused on early adopters, it will spread as costs drop, and the “economic case for investment becomes favourable.”
Green noted that because solar power is a disruptive technology, it will be strongly contested by those who benefit most from the status quo, such as fossil fuel companies and power network operators. The question is: will this powerful opposition be enough to stop the rapid and radical change already starting to take place in the electricity system? In a word, my opinion is: no. The cost, technology, and environmental benefits of solar will just become too great to be able to stop the change sweeping not just Australia, but many other countries as well.