The Gold Coast is a city located on the east coast of Australia, in South East Queensland. It is one of the most populous cities in the state, and is famous for its sandy beaches. The Gold Coast may also be a rising hot spot for solar panel growth.
Why is the Gold Coast Solar Power so attractive? First and foremost, it receives an abundance of sunshine! With an average of around 4.2 hours of full sun per day, the Gold Coast ranks among Australia’s sunniest cities. For solar power to be efficient and lucrative, much sunshine is needed!
Not only does the Gold Coast receive many hours of peak sunlight, it receives a substantial amount year-round. The climate can be described as subtropical—meaning the summers are hot and humid, and the winters are warm. In fact, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast of Australia are well-known around the world for their pleasant, sunny winters. The Gold Coast contains not only an intensive level of sunlight, but sunlight availability all year round.
You may be thinking thatthe initial price of solar power installation can be steep, even if it pays for itself over time. However, current solar PV system prices have dropped! It may be one of the best times to consider installing a solar PV system, with pricing near $1.65/W.
There are also federal incentives to go solar, like the SRES; the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme was developed to help communities, small businesses, and households make installing a solar PV system more affordable. The program issues Small-scale Technology Certificates (or STCs) to qualifying households, based on amount of power they will produce. STCs are a type of renewable energy currency, and can be bought, traded, and sold. Their value is contingent upon the supply and demand of solar power. Sunnier locations may receive more STCs than less sunny places. Basically, these STCs provide a discount up-front for those purchasing solar systems, giving people more incentive to install them.
With so many incentives to go solar, more people on the Gold Coast are doing it. About 30% of homes on the Gold Coast have already installed solar panels on their roofs. Since the value of STCs is based on supply and demand of solar power, then the more people that buy into it, the greater the benefits for everyone; all the more reason for other people to join the 30%.
All of these factors combined—the large amount of sunshine, the optimal climate, the lower cost of solar PV installation, the federal incentives, and the significant amount of people already doing it — create a huge potential for solar power to take off on the Gold Coast. Time will tell what happens!