What is large-scale solar?

Large-scale solar (LSS) is probably best known as a solar farm, which can generate anywhere from hundreds of kilowatts to thousands of megawatts of solar power. Other terms used for LSS include solar power plants and utility-scale solar.

How does large-scale solar technology work?

LSS typically uses solar photovoltaic (PV) technology to generate electricity from fields of solar PV panels.

The solar panels convert the energy from sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity, then inverters convert the power into alternating current (AC) that can be integrated into the electricity grid.

Large-scale solar in Australia

LSS generation has grown rapidly in Australia and continues to hold an increasing share of Australia’s total energy mix. As of March 2021, almost 7,000 MW (DC) of LSS generation1 has been connected to the Australian electricity grid. This is more than 20 times the amount of LSS capacity connected when ARENA announced its Large-Scale Solar Funding Round recipients in 2016.

More than 100 LSS projects have been accredited by the Clean Energy Regulator as registered generators, with 80+ of these connected in 2018 or later. The capital cost of LSS projects in Australia decreased by 25% between 2015 and the end of 2020 (from $1.87 to $1.39 per watt) according to the Clean Energy Regulator.

The LSS industry in Australia has been a remarkable success and played a significant role in achieving the Australian Government’s mandated Renewable Energy Target by 2020. However, the scope of the opportunities and challenges for the industry are arguably as great now as they were in 2016. Today the industry is striving to build generation capacity faster than ever, while constantly improving efficiency. These improvements are critical to Australia’s ambitions to transition to a low-carbon electricity grid and establishment of a green hydrogen supply chain.

 

Article originally published by Tomorrow’s World Today


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