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How much progress has been made with solar in Australia?

Australia is in many respects perfectly positioned to take advantage of solar technology, which is why it's hardly surprising that uptake of solar panels has grown significantly over the last decade.

Research from the Australia Institute shows the solar industry is on a winning streak and, providing excessive regulations don't get in the way, this only looks set to continue.

What opportunities have been created by solar?

The effects of solar PV have been felt in a number of ways. One of the biggest legacies is the number of jobs created, as the Australia Institute estimates more than 13,000 people are now employed thanks to this technology.

It's possible this figure will increase even further, especially as solar panels become more affordable and easily accessible.

Figures indicate that 3.1 million people currently live in houses with solar panels on their roof or work in organisations that occupy buildings powered by such technology.

Australia now has greater productivity within the solar power industry than the US and analysis shows that growth potential will only expand as more opportunities arise.

What about electricity prices?

One of the main reasons people have shown an interest in solar PV is the potential it has to bring down electricity prices - something many consumers are keen to achieve.

During the times of day when solar energy is in the greatest supply, the Australia Institute explained how peak and average wholesale electricity prices are being driven down.

This is despite supporters of coal and gas-fired electricity suggesting that renewables are more costly to operate, as the group pointed out there are indicators to suggest they are bringing down electricity prices.

It's fair to say that once more people come to recognise the benefits of installing solar panels, installers may find they are in higher demand than ever.

Not only this, increased finance options mean solar PV is now more affordable than it has been in the past, with some installers offering zero upfront costs.

There are serious export earnings to be tapped into by installers, so Australia now faces the pressure of proving itself as a leader in solar technologies if its economy is to reap the benefits.

Providing red tape isn't allowed to build up, there are high expectations that the Australian solar industry will continue to perform well and exceed expectations.

With an abundance of sunlight and advanced technologies, there's little reason why the country shouldn't be able to take advantage of the full potential of solar power.

Posted by Jeremy Elliott