Author: Marija Djordjevic
Spatial analysis of solar potential shows that at least a third of the rooftops in the central business district of Canberra could host solar panels, thus saving on the land needed to provide a substantial proportion of city’s power needs with PV.
An analysis carried out by a group of scientists at the University of New South Wales shows that according to the most conservative estimate, the usable area for rooftop PV deployment in Canberra CBD is 34% corresponding to 46 MW of PV potential with an expected annual yield of 67.6 GWh.
In an alternative scenario, based on a different method, the scientists found that an area equal to 50% of available rooftop surfaces could be used to accommodate PV, corresponding to 68 MW of solar PV capacity with an expected annual yield of 98 GWh, the equivalent load of 13,000 ACT households.
Currently, Canberra CBD rooftops house an estimated 1.3 MW, which is approximately 2% of the potential capacity.
The analysis prepared for the Australian PV Institute identifies rooftops with the largest PV potential in Canberra CBD, and shows the projected array capacities and expected annual energy production and carbon offsets.
In addition, it includes case studies of specific landmark buildings, which appear to hold great potential for rooftop solar.
The researchers estimated that 58% of the Australian War Memorial can be covered with solar panels, generating up to 1653 MWh a year.
Around 45% of Canberra Convention Center’s rooftop surface could host solar PV, generating 981 MWh a year.
The ACT Legislative Assembly could have 64% of its roof covered with solar panels, yielding 360 MWh a year.
However, to unlock this potential, businesses would need to decide to put solar on their roofs, but with no incentive scheme for commercial and industrial solar PV installations in the Australian Capital Territory in place, this decision may prove hard to make.
Overall, the ACT lags behind other Australian states in small rooftop solar PV installs. According to the figures compiled by Green Energy Markets, last year the ACT, Northern Territory and Tasmania combined installed 40.5 MW, far behind the leadings installers, as Queensland with 300 MW.