People power: Rooftop solar PV reaches 3GW in Australia REneweconomy,By Giles Parkinson on 4 December 2013 Australia has passed through another significant solar milestone, reaching 3GW of solar PV this month, as Queensland nudged the 1GW mark and states such as South Australia reached household penetration rates of 25 per cent.
“Solar power is reshaping Australia’s electricity market,” says Warwick Johnston, the head of solar research group SunWiz, who compiled the data. “This is a milestone as note-worthy as the one millionth solar power system that was installed in April.”
The growth in solar PV in Australia is quite remarkable, given that Australia’s capacity was barely more than 180MW in 2009. Much of this growth came as a result of generous feed in tariffs, but the growth continues as a new generation of households look to solar to hedge against the rising cost of grid-based electricity, to make a statement about green energy, or to do both.Australia is almost unique in the world in having its solar installations almost exclusively in rooftop solar PV. That, according to Johnston, now totals 3GW on its own, mostly residential but also on a growing number of commercial rooftops, such as wineries.
Australia has only one solar PV array above 1.2MW, the 10MW Greenough River solar farm in Western Australia, although three projects have begun or are about to begin construction in the ACT, and the 102MW Nyngan project will also begin construction in January. Others are in the wings. To put this into comparison, the Japanese market is expected to install 9GW of solar in 2013 alone, much of it at commercial or larger scale…….http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/people-power-rooftop-solar-pv-reaches-3gw-in-australia-99543
SolarReserve Sets Up Shop In Australia, Renewable Energy News, 6 Dec 13 SolarReserve has announced the company’s international expansion into Australia through the opening of an office in Perth. The company says its Australian operations will focus on large-scale concentrating solar power (CSP) and photovoltaic (PV) projects, particularly in the off-grid mining sector.
“In Australia, the best solar resources are commonly found in remote areas where mines operate, presenting the off-grid mining sector with a substantial opportunity to offset the high price of electricity generation in these remote locations with a solar energy alternative,” says SolarReserve’s CEO Kevin Smith.
There are more than 1,000 operating mines in Western Australia – and many of those are powered by high-priced and polluting diesel fuel.
“In the face of impending policy decisions by the Australian government related to renewable energy and carbon emissions, solar energy for the mining sector is a win-win: good for business and good for the environment.”
The company was one of the participants in a meeting earlier this year in the gold mining city of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia to plan the Goldfields’ renewable energy future……http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4062
Sun Tax’ Petition Hits 25,000 Signatures http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4054 2 Dec 13 20 advocates associated with Solar Citizens will be travelling to Canberra on Monday to present a petition signed by more than 25,000 Australians who are demanding politicians to not tax the sun.
The group will be meeting with dozens of federal politicians, dispelling the myths and highlighting the need for positive measures to help the growth of solar throughout Australia. Prime Minister Abbott signalled he had renewable energy in his crosshairsrecently and incorrectly stated that the RET was contributing significantly to electricity bills. That certainly isn’t the case, even with home solar.
“Solar is a small portion – less than 6%. So, why is solar being blamed?” said Adrian Brown, a spokesperson for Solar Citizens. ”The simple answer is that it appears that big energy companies are trying to dictate our energy future, attempting to salvage their profit margins and investment in the network – and penalising solar along the way.”
Mr. Brown stated the ‘sun tax’ concept may have just been a recommendation and is by no means set in stone, but slugging solar seems to be the default solution for politicians.
More than 1.1 million Australian households have invested $8 billion to take power over their bills says the group; saving families collectively many hundreds of millions of dollars on energy bills annually. ”Making the move to solar is a real way for families to take power over their bills and do their part for our environment,” Mr Brown says.
In addition to the substantial power bill savings, the solar revolution in Australia has created many thousands of jobs. Geoff Bragg, NSW Chairman of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), says the industry could continue to grow; however, stability must be ensured. The trip to Canberra is only another step in the anti-sun tax campaign, not the end. Later this month, the group intends presenting the petition to State Premiers and Energy Ministers.
Solar Citizens is a grassroots initiative bringing together existing and future solar owners to ensure their rights are protected and to help see solar panels on every rooftop in Australia.
Australian Solar Project Loan Funded By Citizen Donations http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4052 29 Nov 13, CORENA (Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia Inc.) has provided Tulgeen Disabilty Services an interest-free loan of $12,000 to install solar; with the loan funded entirely by donations from the public.
Two rooftop solar PV systems have been installed for Tulgeen; located in Bega, New South Wales. The Tulgeen cheese packaging facility, which employs people with disabilities, has a 4kW system that will supply 58% of its electricity needs. A 3kW solar panel array installed at the Training and Education Services day programs centre will provide 21% of that building’s requirements.
CORENA uses donations from the public to fund projects; then electricity sales and loan repayments from completed projects to help finance future projects, thus continuously recycling donated money. ”Eventually, when we have funded around 120 such projects, repayments from earlier projects will be enough to continue funding one new project per month forever, without ever needing more donations,” said CORENA spokesperson Margaret Hender.
Operating on a shoe-string budget, 100% of the money donated is spent the projects themselves. Currently the group relies on volunteers’ time for administrative functions. ”It enables everyone who wants more renewable energy now to collectively get on with the job, rather than just waiting on government action,” states the CORENA web site. Patron of the organisation is Monica Oliphant, who, among many other roles, was President of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES) in 2008/09.
Community-serving organisations are encouraged to apply for funding underCORENA’s Small Projects scheme.
Community-funded solar; both under an investment model or donation basis, has generated a great deal of interest in Australia; with dozens of communities and initiatives attempting to set the wheels in motion.
Government support for such initiatives has been scant to date, although a new ARENA-supported project due to commence early next year will delve into how to best realise the potential of community-owned renewable energy projects in Australia.
Home Solar in Australia : Study http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4043 25 Nov 13 13 per cent of homes in Australia now have a solar panel system and 3 million Australians live in a solar household – and the RET is costing far less than some would have us believe.
A report by Green Energy Markets for the REC Agents Association (RAA) shows Australians installed more than 1 gigawatt of solar panels last year, but during the last 12 months, installations have dropped 22% as a result of winding down of rebates and incentives.
The report also reveals a very important point about the costs of that support.
While the Federal Government appears to have Australia’s Renewable Energy Target in its sights, when taking into consideration the impact solar has had onreducing wholesale power costs, the real cost of the SRES to all households will be just $1.90 per quarter by 2016 – or just 0.38% of a typical household quarterly bill. Read more »
Miners investigating off grid solar, PV Magazine 20. NOVEMBER 2013 BY: JONATHAN GIFFORD Australia’s mining industry is investigating solar to supply some of its energy needs in off-grid and remote locations. In the resource rich state of Western Australia, estimated savings could reach an excess of AUD$2 billion……..
Australia’s mining industry may finally be making moves towards renewables, as evidenced by strong interest in the recent technology forum. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is leading the way in supporting such development. ARENA hosted the recent event in the Western Australian capital city of Perth in partnership with the Chamber of Minerals and Energy to promote renewables for mining installations.
ARENA’s support scheme, the Regional Australia’s Renewables – Industry Program (I-RAR), assists the industry with such mining applications. The program, which is accepting proposals until the end of the year, offers support for such projects in diverse ways. ”We’re actually looking at a variety of support mechanisms, everything from upfront capital grants to revenue based support to what I would call contingent or risk-sharing grants on the backend,” ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht told pv magazine……..
Frischknecht told pv magazine that ARENA had already received a number of applications for funding and support under the regional renewables program, including mineral and natural gas extraction ventures. He said that the body has a project pipeline worth “several billion dollars” that it is currently evaluating. “In terms of technologies we’re currently looking at projects that could include solar thermal or PV, or wind,” said Frischknecht…….
The Chamber of Minerals and Energy, ARENA and Austrade are currently working on a publication to share some of the challenges to realizing mining industry renewable projects featuring case studies from existing installations.http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/miners-investigating-off-grid-solar_100013493/#axzz2lJMBH8HE
Of the 400 operating mine sites in Australia, 170 are either off-grid or connected to a smaller distribution network and needing to supply their own electricity. Natural gas and diesel dominate as fuel supplies for electricity generation and other energy uses. Rising prices of both of these fuels are leading mining companies to consider alternatives.
In South Africa, reliability of electricity supply has been a major issue for the mining sector, with electricity shortages in 2008 severely impacting operations and financial performance at a number of mine sites. The South African Government is addressing electricity supply issues through a renewable energy procurement programme….
Renewable energy, and in particular solar photovoltaic (PV), can offer significant benefits to mining companies. The unit cost of energy from solar PV is now below $US200/MWh in many locations compared to typical diesel generation costs of around $US300/MWh. This provides an opportunity for mining companies to reduce energy costs by reducing diesel consumption and maintenance costs with solar generation, particularly at sites with high day-time loads. The diesel engines are retained for night-time generation and as backup to the solar panels. Their operating life is also extended through lower annual operating hours.
Mining operations are strongly influenced by international commodity prices and operational focus can change rapidly in response to market signals. Diesel generators support this flexibility through their modularity and ability to be relocated to other sites if required. Solar modules also offer a degree of flexibility. With simple foundation systems and electrical reticulation, solar installations can theoretically be redeployed to other sites if mining operations need to close down. Recent trends in lease financing of solar modules provide further alignment with mining operations.
As panel prices continue to decrease and panel efficiency continues to increase, expect to see greater focus on renewable energy as a strategic consideration for mining operations. http://sourceable.net/grid-renewables-mining-energy-price-certainty/
enriched uranium demand would remain depressed in the next two to three years due to the shutdown of nuclear plants after the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster i
China solar backers sought in Australia, South China Morning Post Silex, claiming a technology edge, is talking to state-backed power generators for investment in an expansion of a major solar farm project Eric Ng email@example.com 05 November, 2013 Silex Systems, an Australian solar energy and nuclear fuel enrichment technology firm, is in talks with Chinese state-backed power generators to invest in its major solar farm project in Australia and buy its equipment to develop projects in China.
The company, listed in Australia and the United States, commissioned a 1.5 megawatts solar farm in Victoria in July, and plans to build a 100MW expansion project on the same site late next year.
Its 1.5MW plant is Australia’s first grid-connected solar farm based on so-called concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) technology.
Silex chief executive Michael Goldsworthy said the company had started talks with two of the mainland’s five state-owned power generation groups about investing in the proposed 100MW project, and for them to buy equipment from Silex to develop solar farms on the mainland. Read more »
North west Victoria tapping into renewable energy http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-04/ag-energy-victoria/5067808Vic Country Hour By Brett Worthington Nov 2013, Victoria’s north west is quickly developing a reputation as the state’s clean energy heartland.
Near Mildura, there are plans to build a power plant that uses waste from almond, grape and grain growing. Just meters away is a one of Australia’s largest solar electricity plants, which features satellite dishes covered in mirrors.
Melbourne University researcher David Coote says agricultural communities can slash their bills if they embrace renewable technology. ”Somewhere like Mildura could easily target going 100 per cent renewable,” he said. Read more »
How To Gain Energy Independence http://www.energymatters.com.au/energy-efficiency/energy-independence.php 4 Nov 13 Are you interested in having more control over the energy you use? Would you like to be less dependent upon traditional electricity generators, distributors or retailers? Energy Matters can help you.There are several steps along the path toward full energy independence.
The simplest and most effective way to gain some energy independence is toinstall solar PV. You will generate your own power and export the excess to the grid; for which you will receive a credit. Apart from simple maintenance every three years, there is nothing to check or worry about – simply enjoy your reduced power bills.
The other great thing about installing solar panels is you don’t necessarily need to pay anything up front. Energy Matters offers a zero deposit payment plan and repayments for a large system can be less than a cup of coffee a day!
Run your appliances when the sun shines Read more »
Home Energy Storage Penalised In South Australia http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4004 3 Nov 13, SA Power Networks seems to have taken a dim view of mains-connected solar households incorporating battery storage systems. While countries such as Germany are actively encouraging the uptake of home energy storage, it appears South Australia is actively discouraging it.
In an industry news bulletin from earlier this month; SA Power Networks have declared that customers installing energy storage will lose their feed in tariff incentive. According to the document: Read more »
Solar has power to cut grid reliance http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/19635839/solar-has-power-to-cut-grid-reliance/ Thousands of WA households with solar panels could begin disconnecting from the electricity grid once batteries became “affordable and reliable”, Australia’s peak renewable energy lobby has claimed.
Warning about the huge financial implications for traditional energy businesses unless governments got policy settings right, the Clean Energy Council said residential solar customers could soon become independent of the network. Read more »
Ratch To Invest $232 Million In Australian Solar Farms http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4001 28 Oct 13 Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding PCL has announced it will invest AUD $232 million in developing two solar farms in Australia.According to the Bangkok Post, the two solar farms will have a combined capacity of 53 megawatts and will replace the recently shuttered coal-fired Collinsville power station.
Queensland’s Largest Solar Panel Array Announced http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3998 27 Oct 13, Queensland University will soon be home to the largest solar power system in the state.
Announced last week, the 3.275 megawatt pilot plant will incorporate more than 34,000 ground mounted solar panels. The solar farm will be constructed on a 12.6 hectare former airstrip site at the University’s Gatton campus, which is situated 90km west of Brisbane.
Doubling as a research facility, the Gatton plant will augment the University’s existing St Lucia campus 1.22 megawatt photovoltaic array; which is currently Australia’s largest rooftop solar installation. Read more »
The solar industry in response is feeling outraged because of the way in which the sector has been singled out when the greatest cross subsidy in the industry is given to users of air-conditioners. This is something that the Australian government itself concedes in a white paper revealing that each $1,500 air con system imposes five times that amount in network costs on other users.
Australian utilities are therefore deciding to fight back, rather than adapting their business model to the new renewable economy. They hope to rely on regulatory protection in order to knock back the take-up in solar PV installation.
Australian utilities raise the barricades against solar http://www.renewableenergymagazine.com/article/australian-utilities-raise-the-barricades-against-solar-20131023 Robin WhitlockTuesday, 22 October 2013 Utilities in Australia are now pushing for higher network charges, refusing connections, removing discounts, forcing tariff changes on solar consumers and downsizing rooftop proposals in their bid to resist the growth of solar PV
Hostility to renewable energy in Australia has been notched up a little again as the country’s major utilities prepare to brake or even halt the rapid uptake of solar PV in the country. They are currently pushing for higher network charges, refusing connections, removing discounts, forcing tariff changes on solar consumers and downsizing rooftop proposals. This activity comes even after most of the subsidies for solar have been removed and represents a tacit admission among major generators, network operators and electricity retailers that renewable energy, particular solar PV, is hurting their business model.
The latest move has come from the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) which has released a “strategic priorities” document that as described the growth in solar PV as one of the most pressing issues for the electricity industry, suggesting that network tariffs do not reflect the reductions in the use of the grid caused by solar installation. Read more »