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Solar Market Review highlights 3 defining solar energy topics for 2015

A new report highlighted some of the major news in the solar energy industry in 2014 171 6000422 0 14099726 300

Solar power made some strides in 2014, but industry leaders hope to see even more progress in 2015. Business Spectator's Solar Market Review for 2014 focused on some of the progress made within the industry, but also called to mind some areas for improvement. According to the review, some of this year's highlights included a trend toward independent energy, an increase in solar technologies made in Australia and contentious debates within the Australian government.

More consumers powering their own homes

The report noted that more and more Australians are opting to power their own homes. The rise of the 'prosumer' - consumers that generate their electricity independently and often on-site - is set to have major impacts on the Australian energy industry. In fact, back in October, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) stated that electricity suppliers would need to make internal changes in order to keep up with this major shift.

"The electricity industry certainly is changing. In fact it is not much of a stretch to say that the next couple of decades will witness something of a revolution in the way small customers interact with the electricity industry," Michelle Groves, chief executive of the AER, said in a speech.

Many of Australia's prosumers are taking advantage of technologies such as evacuated tube solar and photovoltaic (PV) panels. In fact, when all of these technologies are combined, 1 in 5 Australian residents is currently powering his or her home with solar in one way or another.

Australian companies making high-quality solar products

The report also highlighted the the growing number of Australian companies making solar hot water systems, PV panels and other types of solar equipment.

"We have also got some of the best technology in the world right here, made by a bunch of innovative Australian companies," Nigel Morris, author of the review, states for Business Spectator.

Leaders debate environmental standards

Finally, another major topic surrounding renewable energy industry in 2014 was the contentious split between leaders on environmental topics. Australia's Renewable Energy Target (RET), which was set at a goal of producing 41,000 gigawatt hours (gWh) of electricity from renewable sources by 2020, was reviewed this year, to the chagrin of some environmentalists.

It will be interesting to see how solar energy is produced and used Down Under in 2015.