Australia has the highest average solar radiation per square metre

Australia has the highest average solar radiation per square metre of any continent in the world. Large-scale solar electricity is rapidly expanding in Australia. More than two million Australian households currently have a solar system on their rooftop.

Solar energy is energy created by the heat and light of the sun. Solar power is produced when this energy is converted into electricity or used to heat air, water, or other substances.

SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC

This technology converts sunlight directly into electricity using photovoltaic (PV) cells. The solar PV cells are combined in panels. They can be put on rooftops, integrated into building designs and vehicles, or installed by the thousands across fields to create large-scale solar power plants.

Concentrating solar PV uses fields of sun-tracking mirrors called heliostats to concentrate sunlight onto highly efficient PV cells located inside a receiver at the top of a mast or tower.

SOLAR THERMAL

This technology converts sunlight into thermal energy (or heat), which in the past has been used mainly for space heating or to heat water (such as in a solar hot water system).

Concentrating solar thermal technology harvests the sun’s heat to produce efficient, large-scale power generation. It uses a field of mirrors to reflect sunlight onto a thermal receiver, which transfers the heat to a thermal energy storage system. Energy can then be released from storage as required, day and night.

EMERGING SOLAR ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES

Solar energy technologies are constantly improving, while identifying emerging innovations such as photosynthetic-based solar energy technologies and solar enhanced fuels.

Innovations and developments in solar energy technology and enhanced fuels will benefit everyone by making affordable and reliable energy more accessible to more Australian businesses and households.

Rebates

The Solar Homes and Communities Plan was a rebate provided by the Australian Government of up to A$8,000 for installing solar panels on homes and community use buildings (other than schools).[15] This rebate was phased out on 8 June 2009, to be replaced by the Solar Credits Program, where an installation of a solar system would receive 5 times as many Renewable Energy Certificates for the first 1.5 kilowatts of capacity under the Renewable Energy Target.

Schools were eligible to apply for grants of up to A$50,000 to install 2 kW solar panels and other measures through the National Solar Schools Program beginning on 1 July 2008, which replaced the Green Vouchers for Schools program. Applications for the program ended 21 November 2012. A total of 2,870 schools have installed solar panels. The output of each array can be viewed, and compared with that of up to four other schools.