Essays on Industry Overview and Market Analysis of Australias Solar Energy Industry Case Study

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The paper "Industry Overview and Market Analysis of Australia’ s Solar Energy Industry" is a great example of a marketing case study. Australia has one of the world’ s largest untapped solar energy resources. This is due to the fact that Australia has the highest solar energy radiation per unit surface area than any other continent in the world. In Australia, solar energy is used mainly in small-scale direct applications such as heating and accounts only for 0.01% of total energy consumption. In recent years, the Australian government has implemented several energy reforms which will see solar energy consumption climb to about 6% of total energy consumption by 2025 (Swan Energy, 2010).

Essentially, the increase in solar energy generation and consumption will greatly depend on the commercialization of large scale and modern solar energy technologies as these will reduce investment costs as well as risks. The following report explores the current state of solar energy consumption and marketing in Australia. In particular, the report analyses environmental factors affecting the Australian solar energy industry and the marketing mix strategies employed by major players to promote their products and technologies to the consumers. Overview of Solar Energy Technology There are two types of solar energy technologies: solar thermal energy technology and solar photovoltaic energy technology.

Both of these two technologies can be utilized for small scale decentralized solar energy production or large scale centralized solar energy production. The difference between these two technologies is that photovoltaic technology converts solar energy into electricity while solar thermal technology converts sunlight into heat by magnifying and concentrating sunlight (ABARE, 2010). On households and other small scale usages, photovoltaic technology is represented by flat plate solar panels while the solar thermal technology is represented by simple hot water systems.

At high levels, concentrating solar thermal power systems (CST) are used to concentrate sunlight into high temperatures hot enough to generate steam that drives steam turbines, which in turn creates electricity. On the other hand, large scale concentration photovoltaic (CPV) systems are used to concentrate heat energy into cells which convert the concentrated sunlight into electric energy. The kind of solar cells used to install CPV systems and equipment for CST facilities should be capable of withstanding high temperatures and of maintaining efficiency over long periods of time.

The ability to meet these two conditions is a major marketing concern for companies in the solar energy industry (Swan Energy, 2010). Usually, the best location for solar energy power plants is in areas with high direct radiation. Normally, direct normal radiation is highest in desert areas where cloud cover and atmospheric moisture is minimal. In Australia, these conditions are best suited for the northeastern and central territories but an obvious challenge is that these areas are sparsely unpopulated making commercial production of solar technology less commercially viable.

The biggest technical problem with the production and consumption of solar energy is that in the absence of energy storage devices, the energy source cannot provide a 24-hour energy baseload. However, energy storage capabilities are improving with technologies such as ammonia splitting, molten slat storage and battery technologies (Lovegrove & Dennis, 2006). Industry Overview and Market Analysis Currently, Australia has about 1050MW of solar energy production capacity contributing only 2.5% of electric energy production, which represents 0.1% of total energy production.

Since 2000, growth in the amount of installed solar energy capacity has increased dramatically. This has been largely due to energy rebates, feed-in tariffs and mandatory renewable energy targets aimed at assisting commercialization of renewable energy in Australia. However, a combination of Australia’ s favorable latitudes and dry climate gives it more potential for increased solar energy production (Lovegrove & Dennis, 2006).

References

ABARE (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics), 2010, Australian energy projections to 2029–30, ABARE research report 10.02, prepared for the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, Canberra.

Ausra, 2009, The Liddell Solar Thermal Power Station. Retrieved from http://www.ausra.com/pdfs/LiddellOverview.pdf.

CSIRO, 2010, Energy technology in Australia: overview and prospects for the future, A report for the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, Canberra.

Faiers, A. and Neame, C 2006, Consumer attitudes towards domestic solar power systems Energy Policy, 34, p. 1797–1806.

Lovegrove K and Dennis M 2006, Solar thermal energy systems in Australia, International Journal of Environmental Studies. 63(6), p. 791–802.

Passey, R. and Watt, M 2002, Review of Australian Green Power Schemes, Australian CRC for Renewable Energy Ltd.

Swan Energy 2010, Clean Energy Australia Report 2010, viewed 25th July 2012 from http://swanenergy.com.au/solar-industry-news/clean-energy-australia-report-2010/

Talal, Y., Steven, G & Borserio, A 2011, Potential of renewable energy alternatives in Australia, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 15, p. 2214-2221.

“Solar energy”, 2011, Australia Energy Resource Assessment, viewed 25th July http://adl.brs.gov.au/data/warehouse/pe_aera_d9aae_002/aeraCh_10.pdf

Swan Energy 2010, Clean Energy Australia Report 2010, viewed 25th July 2012 from http://swanenergy.com.au/solar-industry-news/clean-energy-australia-report-2010/

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