Australian news, and some related international items

CSIRO prints solar panels!

solar-panel-printer-CSIROThe Power Of The Press: CSIRO Installs Solar Panel Printer By Amy McQuire  Solar technology In Australia took a step forward recently, with the installation of a machine that can print solar panels. Amy McQuire reports.

Printable solar panels could power our laptops and rooftops – even our skyscrapers – sooner than we think after a new solar-cell printer, the nation’s largest, was recently installed at the CSIRO.

The printer, worth $200,000 and funded by the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium (VOSCC), is able to print organic solar cells ten times the size of what was previously possible, and straight onto paper-thin plastic or steel.

It’s a faster and more cost-effective method than solar panels using traditional silicon cells (used to power objects like our calculators) because it uses organic polymers (a bonding of different materials) that absorb sunlight , generate charges and produce electricity.

Because these organic solar panels are more related to materials like cling wrap they are thin, flexible and printable.

The cells produce 10-50 watts of power per square metre (50 watts is enough to power a small laptop computer) and they can be printed fast, at speeds of up to ten metres per minute.

But the printer is not entirely new technology, the CSIRO says. It’s similar to what you would use to screen-print T-shirts. CSIRO materials scientist Dr Scott Watkins said the aim was to make the technology as accessible as possible.

“We’re developing the technologies to work with existing printing processes, so the printers that we’ve got are the same sort of printers that you could use for paper, or even things like t-shirts, and we’re developing our processes to be able to use these existing printing technologies so that the barrier to entry for manufacturing these new printed solar cells is as low as possible,” Dr Watkins said.

The printer represents a significant step forward for the VOSCC team, which is made up of a consortium of the CSIRO and the Melbourne and Monash Universities, who have been working on printing solar cells since 2007.

The size of the solar cells were increased to an A3 size sheet of paper from the size of a coin in only three years.

The CSIRO says the possibilities are growing and there are companies interested in taking the technology commercial.

“Eventually we see these being laminated to windows that line skyscrapers,” VICOSC project coordinator Dr David Jones said.

“By printing directly to materials like steel, we’ll also be able to embed cells onto roofing materials.”

September 15, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Check on how the electricity utilities charge you big-time for solar hot water

a-cat-CANI think you could fix this excessive cost problem by switching to Powershiop

Dennis Matthews, 13 Sept 14 Matching supply and demand has always been a problem and is not unique to renewables.

An interesting thing about wind power in SA is that the % installed capacity (MW) is the same as the % delivered electricity (MWhr). In other words, wind power is no worse than non-renewables in terms of the amount of time that it is generating.

Sola-Kleen-Hot-waterConcerning off-peak electricity. This is very wasteful, you end up heating and reheating the same water because of heat losses, especially over night. In addition in some areas off-peak electricity is controlled centrally through a square wave distortion (SWD) system. This means that off-peak is no longer just overnight. It can be any time of the day that suits the electricity utilities. This has the effect of undercutting solar hot water systems. After sunrise, when solar starts to heat a solar hot water system, the electricity utility can, and does in my area, switch on the off-peak heater. In order to prevent this I have to physically switch off the off-peak hot water system at the meter box and turn it on again late in the day when solar is no longer effective.

I suspect this is happening to a lot of people in SA with solar hot water and they are wondering why their bills are still high. Look for the SWD box (grey in my case) in the meter box. If you have one then you may have to do the same as me.

September 13, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, solar | Leave a comment

Australian solar investment – over 1500 businesses have gone solar!

Australia-solar-plug15,000+ Australian Businesses Have Gone Solar  More than 15,000 Australian businesses have installed solar panels says the Clean Energy Council.

“Businesses have now invested almost $460 million in solar power systems across the country, helping them to collectively save about $64 million on their bills every year,” said Clean Energy Council Acting Chief Executive Kane Thornton.

Mr. Thornton says the businesses operate in a broad range of sectors –  from dairy and chicken farmers through to wineries, offices, supermarkets and retail outlets.

“There is an increasing recognition that the current modest support provided by the RET means the business case for solar power makes sense, helping businesses become more competitive in tough economic conditions.”

However, he warns slashing the Renewable Energy Target could see the opportunity lost or make it so paperwork-heavy some businesses simply wouldn’t bother.

“The rest of the world is going full-speed ahead on solar and there is a huge opportunity here for Australian businesses if we leave the RET alone,” he said.

Mr. Thornton states slashing the RET would also see the loss of up to 5800 jobs in this part of the nation’s solar power sector.

For now, the segment is humming along. National commercial solar providerEnergy Matters reports it has installed 4 megawatts capacity of commercial scale systems (10kW+) and currently has 2MW of projects in the pipeline.

Among the high profile projects in Energy Matters’ portfolio are Western Australia’s largest privately-owned rooftop solar power system (Bidvest Foodservices) and Australia’s largest privately funded array (NEXTDC’s M1 Data Centre in Melbourne).

In August, Energy Matters stated that just among its monitored systems, 1 million kilowatt hours of solar electricity had been generated and it expects cumulative generation for those systems to reach 3 million kilowatt hours by end of this year.

According to the August Sunwiz Insights, of the 48 x 100kW commercial solar power systems installed in Australia in the previous 3 months; Energy Matters led the rankings with 5 x 100kW systems.

A portfolio featuring a selection of Energy Matters’ commercial solar projects can be viewed here. Businesses interested in learning more about how solar can benefit their bottom line can contact Energy Matters’ commercial team on 1300 553 213 or by emailing

September 13, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Launch of Australian Energy Storage Council

Australian Energy Storage Council launched to bring together industry and promote standardisation PV Tech, By Andy Colthorpe  Sep 12, 2014  The Australian Energy Storage Council, a new industry representative body has been launched for energy storage in Australia, backed and co-founded by the Australian Solar Council.

The Australian Energy Storage Council was formally launched this morning. The Australian Solar Council will back the new organisation with resources initially, with solar council chief executive John Grimes also acting as its head.

“It is important that energy utilities engage with the energy storage sector sooner rather than later,” said Grimes. “Too often the energy sector ignores emerging technology trends and is blindsided when they are deployed widely. That’s why one of the first things the Energy Storage Council will do is to focus on developing standards and protocols for embedding energy storage into the energy network.”


The call for standardisation across the energy storage industry has been voiced by a wide cross section of parties, including academics and battery manufacturers.

The storage council will be a non-profit organisation, paid for by memberships, training activities and from hosting industry events. According to the council, it will seek to connect local members with global industry partners.

The new group joins other regional and international energy storage industry associations in the growing space, including the International Battery and Energy Storage Alliance (IBESA) and one of the earliest-formed organisations of its kind, the California Energy Storage Alliance, which according to CESA’s deputy head Chris Edgette, was influential in helping the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in drafting the recently issued mandate for utilities to install 1.3GW of storage by 2020………

September 13, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Large solar company First Solar not impressed with Abbott govt’s proposed compromise on Renewable Energy Target

US’s First Solar says Australian govt’s renewable energy ‘compromise’ likely to be rejected KERRIE SINCLAIR THE COURIER-MAIL SEPTEMBER 12, 2014  COMPROMISE position on Australian renewable energy market reform being touted by federal ministers won’t be palatable to the industry as it would still mean certain death, a leading solar company said Thursday.

Jack Curtis, regional vice president for Asia Pacific at First Solar, the US’s largest solar panel company, said a reform proposal now being floated, as well as the proposals of a federal government-commissioned review released last month, were all potentially fatal to Australia’s renewable energy industry.

First Solar has a $500 million active project pipeline in Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales, a potential future pipeline of $250 million and has a venture with Rio Tinto to build an up to 6.7 megawatt, $23.4 million solar power plant at the Weipa bauxite mine on the west coast of Cape York Peninsula……..

GE, one of Australia’s largest foreign investors, has rejected the Warburton review proposals, saying either option would risk pushing up household power bills and raise sovereign risk issues for the Australian economy.

First Solar on Thursday said the option that appeared to be emerging as the federal government’s possible compromise position would not be acceptable to the industry.

“I think you’ve already started to see this idea of a ‘real 20 per cent’ target being thrown about as the government’s potential compromise position,” Mr Curtis said.

“But any one of those three (the first two of the Warburton report or that compromise position) wouldn’t be palatable at all to the industry.

“Because it’s gradations of death for the industry. It’s a question of, ‘Do you want to die from one bullet in the head or two or three bullets in the head?’ It’s irrelevant because you’re still lying on the ground dead.”

Mr Curtis said it wasn’t clear if the federal LNP had decided its position on large-scale RET reform…….

“In some of the large projects we’re involved with, say in western NSW, more than 50 per cent of the project procurement comes from local companies that for example used to make parts for auto companies and have retooled to provide parts for solar projects.”

Mr Curtis also questioned Rio Tinto’s call this week for governments, industry and communities to support development of ‘clean coal’ technology which aims to capture and bury underground forever the planet-warming emissions of coal-fired power stations…….

“I’ve seen clean coal promoted as the solution to the world’s dirty coal problems for a long time and I’m yet to see anything that’s a commercially viable solution,” Mr Curtis said…….

September 13, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Flexible home solar energy storage system available in Australia

SMA Flexible Energy Storage System Available In Australia  11 Sept 14, For Australian solar households looking to distance themselves from the mains grid, the competitively-priced Sunny Home Manager Flexible Storage System is worth considering.

Whether the ultimate goal is to completely ditch the grid or still maintain a mains connection; this clever system from SMA is up to the task.

The system has been developed to enable households to store surplus electricity generated by their solar panel array for use when the sun isn’t shining or in blackout conditions. It consists of a Sunny Island battery inverter, a Speedwire Data Module, SMA Energy Meter and Sunny Home Manager.

Available from national solar provider Energy Matters; it’s an open concept that works with most battery technologies (including lithium-ion) and any existing grid connect inverter. This degree of flexibility allows Energy Matters to package an entire energy storage solution, including batteries, according to a customer’s needs and circumstances.


In the image above, the solar inverter converts the DC current produced by the solar panels to AC power for household use.

Any power not being used by household appliances is transmitted to the Sunny Island. The Sunny Island charges the batteries and also offers an uninterruptible, grid-quality power supply.

Power not being utilised by either the household or Sunny Island is exported to the mains grid.

At night, or when called upon, the Sunny Island converts the DC energy stored in the batteries back into AC power for use by the household.

The SMA Energy Meter communicates solar generation and consumption data via Speedwire to the Sunny Home Manager.

The Sunny Home Manager provides live data on electricity use to aid in smart energy management. Reports and visualisations of all the relevant electricity flows are displayed via a user-friendly interface, providing comprehensive and concise data.

Reports and data generated by the Sunny Home manager can be accessed on a PC or smartphone.

Unlike some grid-connected energy storage solutions, if a mains-grid blackout is experienced; the system doesn’t shut down – it will automatically switch to using the energy stored in the battery bank.

The SMA flexible storage solution is also “future-proof” – it will be compatible with future smart grid technologies.

September 11, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

In spite of Tony Abbott, Australia’s Largest Solar Farm Opened

Australia’s Largest Solar Farm Opened 4 Sept 14  Canberra’s Royalla Solar Farm, owned by Spanish company Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), was opened on Wednesday.

The 24MWp solar power plant  is located just south of Tuggeranong, approximately 23 kilometres south of the Canberra CBD and will generate enough electricity to supply around 4,500 Canberra homes.
Comprised of 83,000 solar panels, it’s not only largest solar farm in Australia, Royalla is also the first large scale solar facility connected to the National Electricity Market (NEM).

Among those at the opening were ACT Environment Minister Simon Corbell, Spanish foreign minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, Australian Solar Council CEO John Grimes and Clean Energy Council Acting Chief Executive Kane Thornton.

“This project has helped to demonstrate the exciting opportunity and massive benefits that large scale solar can deliver in Australia,” said Mr. Thornton.

“The Royalla Solar Farm is a showcase for what is possible using today’s technology, and has utilised many local businesses, suppliers and contractors to deliver a real boost to the local economy.” Continue reading

September 4, 2014 Posted by | ACT, solar | Leave a comment

Dick Warburton’s RET Review puts thousands of Australia’s solar energy businesses at risk

Parkinson-Report-Why Warburton wants to set solar industry back a decade   REneweconmy, By  on 1 September 2014 “………In the long term, it seems that the solar market in Australia – which could be leading the world – will be set back a decade.

That seems to be the clear and deliberate intention of the RET review panel, which says that large-scale solar farms are not needed, and not desirable. It expects its recommendations on the small-scale solar sector to set the market back by around 10 years.

Yingli Green Energy, the world’s biggest solar module manufacturer, warned that if these recommendations are adopted, Australia will be left behind in a world that is embracing renewable energy as a tangible player in the global energy mix.

“Australia’s extremely high levels of solar radiation mean that solar PV technology is particularly efficient in producing energy outputs,” Yingli’s Australian head Daman Cole said in a statement.

Australia-solar-plug“This country can lead in the adoption, investment and innovation in solar energy. Academically, our universities lead the world in solar photovoltaic innovation, but regretfully the political uncertainty is hurting Australia’s solar industry.

“While we remain stranded in uncertainty around Australia’s clean energy future, the solar industry is experiencing strong growth in many other markets such as China, Japan, South East Asia and the Americas.

The problem with solar is that it is being adopted at a rate unforeseen and unimagined by the fossil fuel industry. Australia leads the world in residential rooftop solar, with more than one in five houses having solar systems, or 1.3 million homes, with a total of 3.3GW installed – even if it does trail in large scale installations. (The first utility-scale solar farm to be connected to the National Electricity Market will be formally opened this week).

Various official studies, such as those done by the market operator in WA, have predicted that installation rates could treble – reaching three-quarters of residential homes, and 90 per cent of businesses. New financial models would allow rental homes and apartments to become part of the market.

This is causing massive problems for generators, such as those owned by the Queensland government and recently sold by the NSW government, because it is eating away at demand, andrevenue, at what used to be the most profitable time of the day.

The RET review variously describes rooftop solar as causing cross-subsidies, an assessment repeated by the AEMC in its analysis of network costs and tariffs, but rarely are the benefits brought to the front. Last week, the South Australian network operator said that the 565MW of rooftop solar in that state – it has the highest penetration – had delivered clear benefits in moving and reducing the peak, and for grid stability.……..

A new report by the REC Agents Association on Monday warned that 1,000 small and medium-sized businesses could collapse if the RET Review recommendations were implemented.

It says that the solar industry currently comprises more than 3,800 businesses, with annual retail sales of more than $2.5 billion.

“Should the Government axe or significantly reduce the Renewable Energy Target, we would see a 40-50 per cent reduction in demand for solar and the closure of at least a thousand small businesses,” it says.

It says the absolute majority (96%) of the 3,800 solar businesses in Australia are SME sized businesses, and more than 93 per cent of the roughly 21,000 Australians who work in the Australian solar industry work in SME’s.

“It has been one of Australia’s fastest growing employment and business sectors, having grown twenty fold in the last decade. In less than ten years, the industry has created more than $17 billion of direct retail sales and tens of billions of flow on expenditure on in-direct support services.”

September 1, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Yea! Boo! Australian government destabilises the solar power industry

Australia-solar-plugAustralia’s solar installers face another boom and bust Solar energy installers are expecting a boom then sharp contraction of their businesses as the Abbott government prepares to take an axe to renewable energy support. Continue reading

August 31, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

Australia led the world in solar power – and then what happened?

Aust-sunHow Australia Perfected Solar Power and Then Went Back to Coal By Julian Morgans August 30, 2014 There was a time in the 1980s when Australia led the world in solar technology. To begin with, Australia receives more solar radiation per square foot than anywhere on the planet, and that presents an obvious advantage. But the true catalyst was geography: two thirds of the country consists of uninhabited desert. This posed problems for engineers tasked with constructing a national telephone network in the early 1970s. The solution was to build remote relay stations powered with solar energy, which at the time was a fledgling, expensive technology. Yet by 1978 the national provider, Telecom, had developed reliable solar cells that could be installed affordably across the country and be infrequently maintained. International recognition came in 1983 when Perth was tapped with hosting the Solar World Congress.

Fast-forward to 2014 and Australian solar power is in a very different place. This week a proposed solar farm with 2,000 dishes—capable of powering 30,000 homes—was canceled amid uncertainty about the future of renewable energy. This comes at a time when every one of the country’s proposed solar farms are on hold and coal operators push legislation to strangle solar proliferation. So what happened? Continue reading

August 31, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Australian National University devises lightweight solar gear for soldiers

Australia’s Solar Soldiers 28 sunAug 14 The Australian National University says it will seek to commercialise its design of a wearable solar panel system for soldiers after successful field tests demonstrated the technology could easily replace heavy battery packs normally used to power combat equipment.

The Soldier Integrated Power System (SIPS) was developed by scientists at the ANU Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems. SIPS will dramatically reduce the weight members of the Australian Defence Force must now carry in order to power an increasingly tech-heavy arsenal.

“Much of the equipment carried by Australian soldiers requires heavy battery packs, such as night-vision goggles, lights, GPS devices and communication systems. Currently, soldiers depend on conventional batteries to power these devices,” said ANU Project Development Manager Dr Igor Skryabin.

Energy Matters reported on the ANU’s plan to integrate SLIVER cells into a solar vest for soldiers in 2011, when nations such as the USA and UK were fitting infantry with portable solar panels and inverters for use in combat missions. But the ANU team were primarily focused on designing a simple system that would ensure the mobility of Australian infantry.

The solar panel system is based on the ANU’s SLIVER solar cell – flexible solar cells the thickness of a human hair but with a high power-to-weight ratio of more than 200 watts per kilogram. They are also bi-facial, allowing either side of the cell to convert light to energy.

In a 72-hour field test under real mission conditions, the ANU flexible panels produced sufficient power to maintain battery charge. In sunny conditions the panels fully charged the batteries.

“The trials were performed by soldiers in a real mission environment with normal usage of power,” Dr Skryabin said. “Based on the success of this demonstration, ANU will be commercialising the project outcomes with industrial partners.”

The SIPS project was a collaboration between the ANU, CSIRO and Tectonica Australia, as part of a $2.3 million contract awarded under round 15 by the Capability and Technology Demonstrator (CTD) Program managed by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation.

August 29, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Australians’ defence of the Renewable Energy Target underway, with Brisbane pro solar rally

protestAustralia: Pro-solar rally slams attack on renewable target, PV Magazine  21. AUGUST 2014 | BY:  JONATHAN GIFFORD

The organized opposition to the federal government’s moves to abolish or reduce Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) has begun. More than 500 people attended a rally in Brisbane to protest against changes to the RET. The Australian Solar Council launched a campaign against the federal government logo-australian-solar-councmaking changes to the RET. Its first event in the northeastern state of Queensland on Thursday attracted 500 attendees.

The council’s CEO John Grimes said that a clear message has been sent to the government that Australians in key electorates are willing to vote to defend renewable energy in the country.

“Tonight over 500 solar heroes have come forward to send a clear warning to the Abbott government,” said Grimes. He said the message to Abbott’s conservative government has been clear: “We love solar, solar saves us money on power bills [and] we will vote to defend the Renewable Energy Target!”

The Save Solar campaign has also raised the ire of the government.  Environment Minister Greg Hunt slammed John Grimes on ABC Radio……..

“The Environment Minister should be attacking the Prime Minister’s radical plan to shut down the solar industry, not shooting the messenger,” said Grimes. “Today’s outburst shows how scared the Government is of this national campaign to Save Solar taking hold.”

There have been a host of surveys showing that Australians are supportive of renewable energy and the RET. With over 1.3 million solar households around the country, certainly a large number of people have first hand experience of solar.

The Australian Newspaper, a Rupert Murdoch owned publication that is generally skeptical of climate change and is often critical of renewable energy has been running a series of surveys about Australian’s attitudes towards renewables. In its most recent survey, it found that 88% of Australians support renewable energy, while only 8% report being “totally against.”

The Australian currently has a second survey live here.

Australia’s Clean Energy Council is also currently campaigning against changes to the RET. It’s CEO Kane Thornton argues that even a reduction of the RET to a “true 20%,” proposed as a compromise measure, would devastate the renewable energy industry in Australia.–pro-solar-rally-slams-attack-on-renewable-target_100016170/#axzz3BRV0obrI

August 25, 2014 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Chinese solar energy firm to close its research in Australia, due to Abbott govt policies


Suntech, founded by Australian-trained former “Sun King” billionaire Shi Zhengrong, will next month close its Suntech R&D Australia unit with the loss of about a dozen jobs.

The company, now owned by a Hong Kong solar tycoon Cheng Kin Ming and renamed Wuxi Suntech, said in May it invests more than $3 million a year in Australian research and development.

“Suntech wants to continue a relationship with Australia, but it no longer makes the same sense to keep a research team [here],” Renate Egan, managing director of the Sydney-based R&D unit, said.

Dr Egan said Wuxi Suntech recently announced a plan to consolidate most research activities at its base in China. The Abbott government’s signals that it will cut the national renewable energy goal also reduced confidence about future opportunities.

“Clearly the market’s not going to grow here,” Dr Egan said, referring to large-scale projects.

The government is yet to release the recommendations of its hand-picked panel reviewing the Renewable Energy Target. Clean energy investors fear the panel, headed by former Caltex chairman and climate change sceptic Dick Warburton, will back a cut of the current goal of supplying 41,000 gigawatt-hours of renewable energy by 2020 – if not scrap it entirely for new entrants……….

Richard Corkish, chief operating officer of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics at the UNSW, said the loss of the Suntech unit could see significant talent head overseas.

“We hope as big a fraction as possible [of the researchers] can remain in Australia,” Dr Corkish said, adding that there has “not been too much good news” lately for the industry’s outlook in Australia.

While Australia continues to conduct world-leading research into aspects of solar PV research – such as UNSW’s work on increasing the productivity of solar panels – the level of support is likely to shrink because of government cutbacks, Dr Corkish said.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency currently provides grants for UNSW, Monash University and other institutions.

However, the Abbott government has vowed to scrap the agency and is expected to try again in the Senate………

While Australia’s take-up of renewable energy may be about to slow markedly, other nations are likely to press ahead.

A research report out this week by investment giant UBS estimates solar panels combined with storage are likely to be competitive with conventional power grids by 2020. Battery prices are likely to halve by the decade’s end – and continue to fall – giving the solar-storage combination a payback period of six to eight years by then……..


August 25, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, solar | Leave a comment

Australian Solar Council will campaign in marginal seats over Abbott’s broken promises on renewable energy

logo-australian-solar-councAustralian Solar Council attacks Prime Minister’s ‘broken promises’ on renewable energy support ABC News, By Matt Eaton, 21 Aug 14  The Australian Solar Council is beginning a campaign to target marginal federal seats over so-called broken promises on support for renewable energy.

Solar council CEO John Grimes has accused Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey of breaking a series of election promises by moving to abolish the renewable energy target (RET).

“This comes as a big surprise to many people in the community,” Mr Grimes told 612 ABC Brisbane.

The RET scheme commits Australia to a target of generating 20 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

“Before the election he [Mr Abbott] was committed to renewable energy, he was committed to the RET, he was committed to a million solar roofs,” Mr Grimes said.

“After the election, promise after promise broken, million solar roofs gone, the RET he wants abolished – he and Joe Hockey are working hard for that outcome……….

Mr Grimes said Mr Hunt and the Government would continue applying pressure to get their way.

“They will destroy any character, to stop this movement, to stop this gaining hold in the electorate,” he said.

“In that call, [Mr Hunt] told me that if I didn’t shut it down, that he would be launching a pointed, public attack at me and my character – that’s what he said to me on that call.”

Mr Grimes said Mr Hunt was under great pressure on the issue and needed to “attack his personal credibility”………

August 22, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, solar | Leave a comment

ACT’s Uriarra solar project is important to the nation

Australia-solar-plugNational significance of Uriarra solar should not be underestimated, says ACT Environment Minister Simon Corbell August 14, 2014 Kirsten Lawson Chief Assembly reporter for The Canberra Times.

View more articles from Kirsten Lawson With the country’s biggest solar farm in Canberra’s south about to go live, Environment Minister Simon Corbell has defended the controversial Uriarra solar farm in the face of bushfire concerns and overwhelming opposition from local residents.

Mr Corbell said the 20MW array off the Monaro Highway at Royalla, which will go live in a couple of weeks, was twice the size of any other solar farm in the country and the largest feeding into the national grid. Its nearest rival was a 10MW solar farm in Western Australia.

He said the Uriarra solar project, now in planning, would also be 10MW and its significance on the national scale should not be underestimated.  He rejected residents’ characterisation of the 27-hectare solar array at Uriarra as an industrial site.

“These are PV panels sitting in a field,” he told the ACT Assembly. “They don’t create noise, they don’t create emissions, they don’t create all of those things that are associated with an industrial plant. But, of course, the opponents … want to characterise it as that because in doing so … they hope to attach the emotional language that comes with industrial, manufacturing or mining or other resource-intense facility.”

The solar farm was low impact, environmentally beneficial and simply harnessed the power of sunlight, Mr Corbell said………

The Liberals’ Andrew Wall said the project had a litany of flaws, including the damage it would do to property values in Uriarra and the bushfire risk. Residents were not opposed to solar power but to the site, he said.

But Mr Corbell rejected concerns about the power line, saying the village was already powered by an overhead electricity line through the same corridor as the planned solar-farm line.

The ActewAGL line is 11V, but Mr Corbell said it was “not a big difference when it comes to starting a fire”. “One spark will start a fire, it doesn’t matter about the power of the line,” he said.

Farmers wanted solar and wind farms because it helped them diversify and access a reliable income stream, he said.

The importance of the project should not be underestimated at a time when the federal government was sending a message to companies and countries around the world that Australia was not interested in renewable energy.

When Royalla begins operating in September, ActewAGL will pay it $186 for each megawatt hour fed into the grid. The company is expected to generate about 37,000 megawatt hours a year, and the maximum it will be paid for is 42,293 megawatt hours.

August 16, 2014 Posted by | ACT, solar | Leave a comment


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