What We Can Learn From Australia’s Net-Zero Initiative
Are you curious as to why solar energy and net-zero have not taken off so quickly in the United States? Some markets around the world have seen explosive growth in the renewable energy sector. We will discuss some of those reasons today!
Around the world, is becoming easier to switch to renewable energy. A major hurdle is consumer confidence that they will be able to save money by switching to solar. With soaring costs of living in developed countries, even consumers that would like to switch to solar are afraid that won’t be able to afford it.
One country, Australia, has found a recipe for success that is bolstering the renewable energy market and making it easier to switch to net-zero. Over 2.4 million solar installations have taken place in Australia, which is a staggering number for their population of 24 million people.
Recently, it was reported that a RenewEconomy analysis of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows that Australia is rolling out renewable energy 10-times faster than the global average. It also showed that their per-capita deployment of renewable energy was 4-times higher than developed markets like the US, Europe, and Japan.
Australia has a vibrant wind market, but solar has been the primary investment and success story. Darren Miller, CEO of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, quoted saying “Wind has been a baseline. Even as states have removed feed-in tariffs, solar rooftop installation rates have grown to record levels."
What is working for Australia?
The country has a high homeownership rate and high GDP, which helps emerging markets. The country is also rich with available sunshine. But, these aren’t the only reasons for success. Many developed markets around the world have high GDP and available UV rays.
What’s been more impactful is that 10 years ago Australia instituted feed-in tariffs and federal rebates for solar installations. They have also seen soaring conventional energy costs which coincide with technological advancements in solar energy which have brought down the price of installations. This has made it easier for consumers to make the decision to switch to solar. Consumers in Australia are better able to see a realistic return on investment by switching to solar. But that isn’t all.
Solar Regulation and Costs
Another key to success in Australia is the lack of government red-tape relating to solar. The lack of regulation to protect conventional energy production has helped keep solar prices down and highly competitive.
Residential solar systems in Australia cost homeowners around $1 AUD (70 cents USD) per watt, including installation. The average in the United States is $2.69 per watt.
The United States has significant government oversight, which protects established industries such as coal and natural gas. Because these make up a large portion of the US economy, it would be difficult to duplicate the exact path as Australia without significantly impacting the economy.
That said, there are many lessons the US and other markets can learn from Australia to stimulate the growth of renewable energy. The planet depends on it!