Solar power is generated when energy from the sunlight is converted into electricity. It can be used to heat air, water or other fluids. Solar energy technologies are mainly two: The solar photovoltaic (PV) which converts sunlight into electricity using photovoltaic cells. The other type is the solar thermal which is the conversion of solar radiation into heat energy. Photovoltaic and solar thermal technology can also be put together into a single system that generates both electricity and heat.
Australia has the best solar energy resources in the world. This is because it is the continent with the largest solar radiation per square meter of any continent. Notably, the desert regions at the center and in the northwest have the highest solar radiation in Australia. However, Australia’s use of solar energy account for about 0.1 per cent of Australia’s total primary consumption. Solar photovoltaic systems play a crucial role in off-grid electricity generation in remote areas.
Incentives to use solar energy
The Australian government as played a crucial role in the provision of solar energy. Feed-in tariffs were introduced by several states to increase the amount of solar PV power generated.
According to Solar Panels Melbourne, there are still generous incentives in place and still ways to maximise your savings and even make a profit from Solar. They say it’s all about modifying your usage patterns and also choosing the right power supplier who can give you the best rates when your solar power is not running.
The Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) by the government is another key tool that has driven the use of solar energy to higher levels. The MRET requires wholesale purchasers of electricity to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates created through generation of electricity from renewable sources key among them the solar thermal and the solar PV. This has stimulated growth in use of solar energy and also the additional revenue from this technology.
Availability of subsidy fund has been also notable incentive towards use of solar energy. This funding is mainly for solar plants that generate coal plant scale power. This subsidy needs additional financing from the operators.
Moreover, the Solar Credits Program boosted use of solar energy both at homes and various community use buildings such as schools and hospitals through installation of the solar panels.
Generally, the Australian continent has the best environmental conditions to use the solar energy and there is more room to tap this energy that is efficient and environmental friendly to use.
Uses of solar energy in Australia
Statistics show that that solar energy systems in Australia are used to power homes, businesses, cars, appliances and cities. Concentrated solar power energy systems are used for heating water for domestic use especially indoor water tanks and swimming pools.
Large scale projects of concentrated solar power plants provide electricity to numerous businesses and homes. Australian people have also embraced the use of passive solar energy systems when designing and constructing new homes. These homes are constructed with specially designed roofing, windows and the overall architectural alignment to be facing the sun at unique orientations which enhance the conditioning of favorable temperature conditions in different weather situations.
Use of photovoltaic solar panels which absorb the sun light to create electricity has a form of solar energy has been common across the Australian continent. The solar panels are attached to homes as either a primary or secondary source of electric power. They are also used for small appliances and machines that need small amounts of electricity. On the other hand, large scale photovoltaic panel plants are used to provide power to appliances and machines that require huge amounts of electricity.