For around an hour on Oct. 11, the state of South Australia had the entirety of its energy demand met by solar power — a world-first for a jurisdiction of its size.
The landmark yet brief milestone occurred between midday and 1 p.m., when skies were cloud-free and temperatures peaked at an ideal 19 degrees Celsius. Solar systems on the roofs of homes around the state were responsible for almost 80% of the output, with the remainder stemming from large-scale solar farms in the state’s southeast.
Other sources of power generated during the hour were either kept in batteries for later use or sent to neighbouring Victoria.
CEO of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) Audrey Zibelman said the accomplishment was representative of the overhaul currently underway across Australia’s energy system. The feat, Zibelman added, can be expected to occur more and more and for longer periods of time.
"This is truly a phenomenon in the global energy landscape," Zibelman said in an AEMO press release. "Never before has a jurisdiction the size of South Australia been completely run by solar power, with consumers' rooftop solar systems contributing 77%."