Germany leads the way: Germany, a country with far less sunlight than Australia, installed 960 megawatts of solar photovoltaic power in 2006 and would be installing over 2,800 megawatts by 2010. At the current growth rate of solar electric installations in Germany, in 2010 they would be installing the equivalent of over 1 million units on house rooftops per year. The German photovoltaic industry was worth approximately $A7 billion and employed more than 8,000 people. The industry in Germany was growing at about 30 per cent per year.
Excess power feeds back into grid: Germany’s feed-in tariff scheme allowed excess power to be fed back into the grid and the owner of the solar system was paid premium prices. This reduced the payback time of new solar systems to less than five years and encouraged new installations.
Photovoltaic push means clean energy by 2020: Evidence suggested that if Australia matched the annual international growth rate of photovoltaic installation, by 2020 every home in Australia could be powered by zero emission energy. The solar energy industry in Australia has released a blueprint showing that if we commence in 2010 with 685 megawatts of photovoltaic capacity, which was a quarter of what Germany would install, with a 20 per cent yearly growth, by 2020 Australia could install over 22,000 megawatts of solar panels. This would equate to a large three-kilowatt photovoltaic system on every residence in Australia. The industry pointed out that 22,000 megawatts of clean solar energy was equivalent to 11 large coal power stations running at full capacity.
Reference: Peter Ross Draper, Member of the Legislative Assembly, Member for Tamworth, Independent, Legislative Assembly, New South Wales Parliament, 5 June 2007
Erisk Net, 22/6/2007