More Australians than ever before are turning their homes into mini power stations fueled by the sun, according to the Australian Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) which presented at an Australian national renewable energy conference held recently in Hobart.Adelaide, Australia – August 15, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Last year in Australia the overall market for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems grew by 27 percent, according to the organization. Sales for grid connected solar PV systems grew by 95 percent. Part of this success can be attributed to government incentives to promote sustainable solar energy systems. Currently, households that wish to install a solar PV system can receive a Federal Government grant up to AUD$4000 (US$2300) “The growth in sales for solar PV systems in Australia is consistent with what is happening around the world,” said Ric Brazzale, Executive Director of BCSE. “The solar PV power market is one of the fastest growing energy markets worldwide, and has been for the last five years, with compound annual growth of around 35 percent,” Brazzale said. “If this rate of growth continues, the global market for solar PV systems will be worth more than US$20 billion annually five years from now.” In 2002, Australia’s production of solar PV cells doubled, said BCSE. Total industry sales amounted to AUD$190 million (US$124.5 million) in 2002, of which AUD$100 million (US$65.5 million) represented exports. Several new Australian technologies are on the verge of commercial production. “The good news is that Australia has developed and is continuing to develop some of the best solar technology in the world and is well placed to capture a significant proportion of this potentially huge global market,” Brazzele said. “Australia already has more than 1000 people employed in the solar PV industry and this could grow to more than 6000 by the end of the decade.” As more solar systems are installed their costs continue to fall. Production costs decline 18 to 20 percent with every doubling of global installed capacity. If current growth rates are maintained then unit costs could be expected to halve every seven years or so, said the organization. Suppliers and installers of renewable energy systems are meeting over the next three days in Hobart to discuss the development and growth of the solar PV industry. At the conference the PV industry will plot the development of a PV Roadmap, to coordinate and focus its activities for continuing growth and acceptance in the coming decades.