South Australia 100% Powered by Solar Energy Alone in a World First

The incredible phenomenon happened earlier this month with 77% of the energy coming from consumers' rooftop solar systems.
Fabienne Lang

Solar energy is mustering speed and advancements in many parts of the world, this includes the state of South Australia that saw 100% of its energy needs met thanks to solar energy alone. 

The occurrence took place earlier this month, on Sunday, October 11th, for an hour between 12 noon and 1 PM local time when solar power met all of the state's energy needs. 

This marks a world's first for a jurisdiction of this size. Moreover, the majority of the power was generated from home rooftop solar systems, giving 77% of the needed energy output, per the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).


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Solar power is popular in South Australia, where clear skies typically abound and decent sunshine shines. So it's no wonder that one in three homes in the state sports solar panels on their rooftops. Just this year, around 2,500 homes have been kitted out with their personal solar panels, per New Atlas.

In total, around 228,000 rooftop systems in South Australia already exist, and these assisted in providing 992 megawatts (MW) during the hour of pure solar energy use on October 11th. 

Large-scale solar facilities contributed 313 MW on the day. 

South Australia 100% Powered by Solar Energy Alone in a World First
A graph depicting the generation, demand, and time of when the switch to solar energy happened on October 11th. Source: AEMO

AEMO Managing Director and CEO, Audrey Zibelman said, "The domination and successful integration of rooftop solar in South Australia foreshadows the rebuilding of jurisdictional power systems in Australia."

"Never before has a jurisdiction the size of South Australia been completely run on solar power, with consumers’ rooftop solar systems contributing 77%," she continued.

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Prior to the momentous moment this month, the higher amount of energy the state had managed to create through solar power was 89% of its energy needs. At that time, home solar power systems provided 900 MW for the very first time. 

The hope is for this type of energy output to become consistent and large-scale in the future.

"South Australia is experiencing a surge in rooftop solar installations," explained Zibelman.

"AEMO is forecasting an additional 36,000 new rooftop solar systems in the next 14 months, which will mean that South Australia’s grid will see zero demand as rooftop solar alone will be capable of meeting 100 per cent of demand. This is truly a phenomenon in the global energy landscape."