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Solar Power Surges in Australia

More than 100,000 rooftop solar panels have been installed on Australia residential rooftops this year,  more than in the entire previous decade, according to a report by the Clean Energy Council.

The report released by the peak industry body today, provides a snapshot into just how Australia uses renewable energy.

105,520 solar power systems installed in Australia in the 10 months from January to October 2010, more than the 81,232 installed from 2001 to 2009.

Mr Matthew Warren, the council's chief executive,  said it made solar power technology the "Hills Hoist of the 21st century".

"Over the past year, more than 100,000 households have made a significant personal investment to take individual action on climate change," he said in a statement.

It was also a sign Australians were bracing themselves against hikes in electricity prices, Mr Warren said.

Electricity costs are slated to rise by up to two-thirds in NSW and Queensland by 2015 to meet increasing energy demands, with at least $100 billion needed to upgrade aging infrastructure.

Mr Warren said investments in clean energy would be much cheaper.

The report also includes new modelling that predicts more than 55,000 jobs are expected to be created in renewable energy by 2020, many in regional areas. That's up from the 8085 that presently exist. It is predicted this will be predominantly influenced by the government's 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target (RET) will dramatically boost the sector, mostly in the wind and solar sector.
Overall, 8.67 per cent of Australia's electricity was provided by renewable sources in 2010, creating 21,751 gigawatt hours, with the remainder coming from fossil fuels.

Origin Energy, Australia’s largest electricity utility, says the energy industry has underestimated the onset of disruptive technologies such as solar PV systems and battery storage. In comments...
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