Solar Energy

Solar Photovoltaic

solarPV_JeremyLevine.jpgSolar photovoltaic (PV) cells directly convert solar energy to electricity. Solar PV is ideal for small to medium scale rooftops on residential, commercial and industrial buildings, thus reducing transmission losses and energy costs.

As of mid 2015, WA has over 470MW of rooftop solar.

"If only 1% of the Suns energy falling on Earth were converted to electricity at 10% efficiency, it would provide 3-4 times the amount of energy that the world would need in 2050." [1]

Solar Thermal

First developed in the 1970s, solar thermal/concentrated solar power uses mirrors to concentrate the sun’s thermal energy, heating water, oil or molten salt, which is used to make steam for powering an electrical generator. Solar thermal technologies include the parabolic trough, power tower/heliostat reflectors and linear fresnel reflectors. Storage technology, currently operating at small scales, enables thermal energy to provide ‘dispatchable’ power.

It is estimated that all electricity demand on the SWIS could be supplied by just 200 sq km (14 km by 14 km) of solar thermal collectors in sunny, clear-sky areas.[2]



1. Kreith F. & Goswami. D. Handbook of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. CRC Press, 2007.

2. Lovegrove, K, & Dennis, M. "Solar thermal energy systems in Australia". International Journal of Environmental Studies. 63:6, Dec 2006, 791-802.

3. For an excellent update on CST see this presentation by Daniel Thompson given to SEN in 2016. Several diagrams.


Mapping of solar PV installations - farms and domestic :

"For each postcode and local government area, the map shows the estimated percentage of dwellings that have a PV system and the total photovoltaic capacity installed.

Most of the PV systems in Australia are small-scale rooftop installations; however there are a number of larger-scale PV power stations with a capacity of more than 100 kW. These power stations are indicated by individual markers. "