The Guardian has an interesting article by Giles Parkinson about how rooftop solar power is conquering Australia and changing the entire energy landscape down under. Found via Damien Walter.
Basically, rooftop solar cells like those on our own roof are becoming so common in sunny Australia that even coal – which is also common and cheap in Australia – cannot compete any longer. By now there is so much solar power in Australia that the wholesale price for electricity in Queensland fell into the negative realm (i.e. you’d have to pay the energy company to take it) during the middle of the day (i.e. both peak consumption and peak generation time for solar power) for the first time ever.
Coincidentally, the triumph of solar power over coal also marks the end of centralised power generation. Indeed, the decentralisation of power generation due to the increased use of wind and solar power as well as cogeneration units is one advantage of the switch to renewable energy (and it is an advantage, because a decentralised power grid is less vulnerable to disturbances) that is rarely mentioned.