Australia has the lowest cost for solar panels in the world, a new study on growing demand for renewable energy has found.
Deloitte’s Global Renewable Energy Trends report released on Thursday says declining costs and advances in technology are driving demand for renewables, with solar and wind reaching price and performance parity on and off the grid.
The report says wind and solar are now viewed as solutions to strengthening grid resilience and reliability, rather than being seen as an obstacle.
Smart inverters and advanced controls mean wind and solar can provide reliability linked to frequency, voltage, and ramping “as well or better” than other generation sources.
A report into South Australia’s 2016 statewide blackout found there were issues with some of the states wind farms, which switched off when major transmission lines were brought down by severe weather.
Deloitte’s Michael Rath says the statewide blackout was a combination of an interconnector failure and a freak weather event.
“The subsequent deployment of a large scale solar farm and the installation of the 100MW battery storage facility has enabled South Australia to achieve greater network resilience and grid stabilisation,” he said in a statement.
“The introduction of renewables and energy storage has added greater flexibility to the network to mitigate the magnitude of these events occurring.”
Deloitte says the future is an increasing mix of renewables into the grid and a transition away from traditional forms of energy, despite the federal government’s retreat from its National Energy Guarantee.
The study found that Africa has the highest cost for solar panels due to investment costs.
“South Australia, along with China, has the lowest unsubsidised, levelised cost of energy for concentrating solar power,” Mr Rath said.
China, the United States and Germany have reached price parity for certain renewable sources, Deloitte says.
The study says demand is being driven by cities which use renewable technology in infrastructure, the trend of communities using storage and management systems for off-grid flexibility, emerging markets and corporate involvement.
Deloitte notes that two-thirds of Fortune 100 companies have renewable energy targets, a trend it says is growing “very rapidly” in Australia.
Obstacles for more renewables are receding due to reduced costs and technology such as automation and manufacturing techniques which make production more efficient.