Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is the fastest growing renewable technology in Australia aimed at combatting global warming and carbon emissions. PV power generation is affected by climatological factors such as radiation, temperature, wind speed and cloud coverage making it susceptible to future climate change. When considering large scale investments in future PV plants, it is essential to investigate potential impacts of climate change on their power generation at different time scales.

This study assesses long-term changes in Australia’s future PV potential and the effects of projected changes in insolation, temperature and wind speed on PV power generation capacity for the near (2020-2039) and far-future (2060-2079) periods. PV potential is projected to decrease over Australia in the future due to elevated temperature and reduced insolation.

Upon further investigation, the study found that cell temperatures are projected to rise in the future, resulting in increased degradation and risks of failure. The elevated cell temperatures significantly contribute to cell efficiency losses, which are expected to increase in the future indicating further reductions in PV power generation capacity. Long-term PV power projections can inform our understanding of the variations in future power generation and help in identifying regions in Australia where PV systems will be susceptible to losses.

  • Paper: Poddar, S., Evans, J.P., Kay, M., Prasad, A., Bremner, S., 2021. Estimation of future changes in photovoltaic potential in Australia due to climate change. Environ. Res. Lett. 16, 114034.