September 15, 2011
Dr Muriel Watt – Australian Photovoltaic Association
Dr Muriel Watt is a busy lady. She is currently chair of the Australian Photovoltaic Association, project manager for a renewable energy consulting company called IT Power Australia and the Australian representative on the executive committee of the International Energy Agency Photovoltaics Power Systems Programme.
Since 1980 she has worked on energy related matters spanning government, The University of New South Wales and private companies with a strong focus on renewable energy. She finds time to pass on her knowledge gained over the last three decades as a part-time Senior Lecturer in the School of Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy Engineering, University of NSW. She is also a speaker for Beyond Zero Emissions, giving talks on opportunities for photovoltaic technology in Australia. Her expertise and experience has led to Dr Muriel Watt writing and co-writing numerous reports on renewable energy in Australia.
Dr Muriel Watt’s current work concentrates on implementation strategies for renewable energy technologies and she was a presenter at the recent EcoGen 2011 conference in Brisbane.
It is an exciting time for Dr Muriel Watt and the Australian Photovoltaic Association because Australia has recently become one of the first countries in the world where, in some areas, rooftop photovoltaic panels can produce electricity for the same price as coal fired power. This is known as grid parity, which means the cost of producing energy from rooftop panels over the course of their 25-year lifetime equates to the cost of retail electricity. While not all areas of Australia have reached grid parity, due to differences in sunlight hours, this achievement is a milestone for rooftop solar in Australia.
“Grid parity is solar’s coming of age and governments now need to rethink their whole power-pricing model,” says Dr Muriel Watt. “It’s been the holy grail of the industry to reach it.”