Solar influencing the energy industry

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Solar power has been playing an increasing role in Australia's energy landscape in the past few years with many government initiatives designed to bolster the position of clean energy in Australia.

One such initiative is the federal government's Renewable Energy Target, which aims for a national level of 20 per cent renewable energy sources by the year 2020.

Due to this goal it has been necessary to undertake a number of initiatives and programs in order to reach the target, with many calling for an increase to the target to be made as some believe it is not ambitious enough.

Along with this, many households have wanted to counter the issue of rising electricity prices by switching to more self-sustainable technologies such as solar power.

In recent years, the profile of solar panels has been given a boost, with  one of the latest developments being that Australia has reached the milestone of one million solar panel roof top systems installed nationwide.

That equates to over 2.5 million Australians living in houses with supported by solar power - that's a sizeable chunk of the population.

This year every week there are over 2,000 solar panel roof top systems being installed, compared to a number of 45 per week back in 2007.

This statistic really shows how drastically the energy market can change even in a few years with the advent of new technologies.

As well as this, the number of accredited solar installers has grown to approximately 4,800 and employment in the solar sector has experienced a huge surge in growth.

The saturation levels of solar panel systems around the country vary state-to-state, with Queensland taking the lead with an impressive 304,244 solar rooftop installations.

New South Wales is not too far behind with 227,355 and  states lagging behind are South Australia, the Northern Territory, ACT and Tasmania, perhaps due to accessibility of locations and widely spread out populations.

Other kinds of clean technology supported by the Renewable Energy Target include wind power, hydro, biomass and geothermal generation.

Solar power, however, seems to remain the most popular or at least the most high-profile form of clean energy generation in Australia as it is so accessible to individual households and Australia's climate and weather conditions are suited towards it.

Posted by Charlie Moore