Solar energy meets South Australia’s total demand

CANBERRA (XINHUA) – South Australia (SA) has achieved a global milestone with 100 per cent of the state’s energy coming from solar panels for over an hour.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) revealed yesterday that for over an hour on October 11 all of SA was entirely powered by the sun.

“This is truly a phenomenon in the global energy landscape,” Chief Executive of AEMO Audrey Zibelman, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

“Never before has a jurisdiction the size of South Australia been completely run by solar power, with consumers’ rooftop solar systems contributing 77 per cent.”

About 288,000 South Australian homes generate their own power with solar panels with an additional 36,000 systems expected to be installed over the next 14 months.

The remaining 23 per cent of power was provided by large-scale solar farms.

Excess power generated by those facilities is either stored in batteries or exported to Victoria via an interconnector.

However, as more South Australians invest in solar power AEMO warned that too much power generation could cause blackouts if the interconnector fails as it did for two weeks in February.

“The system needs management,” Paul Roberts, a spokesperson for SA Power Networks, said.

“In 2009, we probably didn’t have any solar panels connected to the grid; now we have a third of customers with solar on their roofs and this is going to become more of an issue as we go forward.”

“It’s an exciting future for South Australia and we have a whole number of things that we are putting in place to manage that.”