Australian news, and some related international items

New low-cost, high efficiency solar panel launched in Australia

solar-panelSunEdison Launches World First P-Series Solar Panel in Australia October 6, 2015 Energy Matters  Global solar leader SunEdison, Inc. (NYSE:SUNE) has today launched its low-cost, high efficiency SE-P265NPB solar panel; available exclusively in Australia.

This 265W panel is set to play a significant role in the nation’s solar power revolution and is the first SunEdison panel available in the Australian market.

“This module boasts all the hallmarks of quality Australian installers have come to expect; including a very low temperature coefficient, 35mm silver frame and MC4 connectors,” said SunEdison Australia Managing Director, Jeremy Rich.

SunEdison’s first foray into the Australian market with the SE-P265NPB polycrystalline solar panel offers an outstanding model efficiency of 16.2% and a better return on investment for Australian consumers based on the higher volume of watts per module. Multi-MPPT transformerless inverter compatible, the SE-P265NPB features a positive power tolerance and is Potential Induced Degradation (PID) free.

As a vertically integrated Tier-1 manufacturer, SunEdison has an impressive track record in the development and operation of solar power stations, with 50 years experience in the production of silicon and solar technology…….


  • The SunEdison SE-P265NPB solar panel is a 60-cell module with four bus bars per cell, helping maximise its energy harvesting capabilities.
  • This panel is considered a “greener” module in terms of embodied energy as cells are fired in furnaces at triple the density of other systems.
  • The bus bar printing technology enables printing of both cell fingers and bus bars in two separate steps, meaning great precision and allowing the print pattern for fingers and bus bars to be independently optimised.
  • Sealed process bars are used to avoid contamination of the cells.
  • Cells that do not pass rigorous testing processes are on-sold to other manufacturers for use in lower-spec panels.
  • The SE-P265NPB comes with a 10 year limited warranty on materials and workmanship, and a 25 year linear power warranty.


October 7, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

AUDIO: Australia world top in household solar panel installations

Hear-This-wayAUDIO: Australia leads world in household solar panel installations, ABC RadioThe World Today By Samantha Donovan Australia has the highest rate of household solar panel installation in the world, according to a new report from the Energy Supply Association of Australia.

“We’re clearly leading the world in rooftop solar,” said the association’s chief executive, Matthew text-people-power-solarWarren.

“There’s literally daylight [coming in] second.”

The report found about 15 per cent of Australian homes had solar panels………Installation rates are highest in South Australia and Queensland, and in some Brisbane and Adelaide suburbs more than half of all homes have solar panels.

Mr Warren attributed that to more generous schemes in those states.

“South Australia has 25 per cent of dwellings, which is the highest in the world, and Brisbane’s not far behind with 23 per cent, and then Perth and WA at 18 per cent.”

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

But the report found lower rates of solar panel installation in affluent suburbs. “It’s very popular with retirees,” Mr Warren said. “It’s more popular with mortgage-belt consumers who are probably more price conscious. “It hasn’t been in the trendy inner-city suburbs. There’s not much roof space and there are more renters, but it just hasn’t appealed to that demographic.”

Australia lags with large-scale solar projects

While Australians are taking to small-scale solar projects enthusiastically, the report found large-scale solar projects are less common than in other countries……..

September 30, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Canberra school Amaroo to get benefits from ACT’s largest rooftop solar system

sunAmaroo School to gleam under ACT’s largest rooftop solar system, Canberra Times, September 25, 2015   Canberra Times reporter Amaroo School will gleam beneath the territory’s largest rooftop solar system when school returns next term. Almost 2000 large solar panels will be installed across the school’s buildings, producing 600kW of power to be fed into the ACT electricity grid.

The school is leasing its roof space to solar energy company Solar Choice and will power the equivalent of about 175 Canberra houses each year. The 20-year lease will also generate $30,000 a year in school funding.

Solar Choice managing director Angus Gemmell said a team of 30 contractors would install the panels over the next fortnight while students were on school holidays, before solar inverters were installed the week after.

Mr Gemmell, who will soon oversee construction of the Majura Valley solar farm, said the school’s utility-scale panels would be about 25 per cent bigger than the panels installed on regular houses.

“We have large skillion, north-facing roofs that are much like a ski slope to the north. The panels can be perfectly flush-mounted, they won’t need tilt fronts,” he said………

the installation was part of a broader rollout of solar technology in the territory, which had seen rooftop solar capacity jump from less than one megawatt in early 2009 to about 45 megawatts today.

“As we head to a 90 per cent renewable energy target, rooftop solar is going to play an increasingly important role,” he said.”Medium and large-scale rooftop solar is the growth market now for PV [solar power] in Australia and I’m very excited to see Amaroo sharing in those benefits.”

Amaroo School principal Julie Cooper said the school, which is also home to a wind turbine, would make the most of the money injected into the school via the roof space lease.

September 26, 2015 Posted by | ACT, solar | Leave a comment

Big Solar Power: Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation

logo-ARENALarge scale solar plants get $350m push, The Age, September 9, 2015 – BusinessDay Editor Australia will get up to 10 new large solar power stations as part of an unprecedented $350 million tie-up between two major government renewable energy agencies.

As part of a new funding round the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation will collaborate to offer, respectively, grants and loans to get major solar projects off the ground to feed into the energy grid.

It is understood some state governments have also signalled they will financially support bids for projects in their jurisdictions potentially through long term offtake agreements. Continue reading

September 8, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Solar energy to power Perth

text-people-power-solarSolar to fuel new power generation Daniel Mercer August 27, 2015, 

Nearly all of Perth’s daytime electricity needs will be met by rooftop solar panels within a decade, according to State Energy Minister Mike Nahan.In his strongest comments yet on the rampant popularity of solar panels, Dr Nahan told an Energy in WA conference the technology would provide virtually all new generation capacity by 2025.

Fuelled by falling solar panel prices and rising electricity tariffs, demand for solar cells has been running at 20-30 per cent in Perth for the past six years.

About 170,000 households in the South West grid covering Perth now have a system.

Dr Nahan said installed solar capacity across the city was about 500MW — or the equivalent of a major base-load power station — and this was expected to more than double within years.

“We expect that the bulk of generating capacity during sunlight hours in the metro area in about 10 years time will be provided by rooftop solar,” Dr Nahan said.

“That’s the reality. So it is going to provide the bulk of additional capacity going forward.

“It will also displace a lot of the existing capacity. It’s low-priced, it’s democratically determined and it’s something we’re committed to facilitating.”

The comments came as Dr Nahan provided an update of the Government’s plans to shake up the electricity sector.

He said moves to end Synergy’s monopoly over the household power market and throw it open to competition by 2018 were on track.

Before the Government could do that, however, he said the subsidy to the State-owned utility would need to be erased and excess capacity from the system stripped by reducing some Synergy capacity.

He said it was too early to say which plants would be closed

August 27, 2015 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | 1 Comment

Sunshine Coast solar farm to start building before Christmas

map-Sunshine-CoastSunshine Coast closer to solar farm starting before Christmas, Brisbane Times, August 20, 2015 -Tony Moore The Sunshine Coast will beat a number of south-east Queensland councils to the solar energy punch by beginning to build its own 15-megawatt solar energy farm before Christmas 2015.

It will mean the Sunshine Coast Council will be Australia’s first council to own and use its own solar energy plant.

The Sunshine Coast plans to meet the cost of its own electricity once the plant is at full production, saving the council about $9 million over 30 years, Mayor Mark Jamieson said.

The Sunshine Coast is close to announcing the successful tender for the project………

August 20, 2015 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Australia’s Photovoltaic Institute ahead of Google with software tool for estimating solar savings

Aust-sunGoogle allows households to calculate solar system savings, but Australia beats them to it, Business Spectator TRISTAN EDIS , 18 Aug 15, Google has unveiled a software tool that assists home owners to estimate how much they could save on their energy bill from placing solar panels on their available roof space. Yet Australia’s Photovoltaic Institute had already developed a similar tool some time ago.

The Google tool, known as Project Sunroof, uses high resolution aerial maps to estimate the suitable roof space of a building that could host solar panels, and then calculates the amount of energy these panels would produce and associated power bill savings. It does this taking into account the amount of solar radiation for that geographic location and then adjusts for factors such as roof orientation and shade from nearby buildings and trees. At present the tool is only available for the US locations of the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno in central California and the North-east coast city of Boston.

However the Australian Photovoltaic Institute has designed almost precisely the same tool, releasing it several months ago.  Called the Live Solar Potential Tool, it is a free to use tool that operates in a similar manner to Google Earth, allowing anyone to zoom in on a specific household and then estimate how much energy a given area of the rooftop would be likely to generate with solar panels……..

August 19, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | 2 Comments

Huge solar panel array for Canberra Hospital’s roof

Canberra Hospital to get one of the nation’s largest solar rooftop arrays August 15, 2015  Reporter at The Canberra Times The ACT government will spend up to $3.3 million, and install one of the nation’s largest rooftop solar arrays, to make Canberra Hospital more energy efficient.

The moves to add a 500-kilowatt solar system and install LED lights throughout all hospital buildings were aimed at slashing energy use at the site, which accounts for a quarter of the government’s electricity bill.

Overlapping two of his portfolios, Deputy Chief Minister Simon Corbell said the loan to ACT Health from the Carbon Neutral ACT Government Fund – by far the largest in the fund’s short history – would reap financial rewards.

“The Canberra Hospital delivers a critical 24-hour service to our community and is the ACT government’s largest user of energy,” he said.

“The announcement will see the hospital save a massive $490,000 a year in energy bills by 2017-18 and improve the government’s overall carbon footprint.”

The Sunday Canberra Times understands the hospital would become home to one of the top 10 largest roof-mounted arrays in Australia. A 500kW rooftop array [see below] at Toyota’s manufacturing plant in Melbourne, using 2000 panels, was Victoria’s largest when installed last year………

solar-toyota Melbourne

August 16, 2015 Posted by | ACT, solar | Leave a comment

Solar power is top choice for Australians, nuclear is last

Solar Power Still The Preferred Energy Choice Of Australians  August 10, 2015

The Climate Institute has released Climate of the Nation 2015, its annual review of public attitudes on climate change and its solutions.Even in the face of stinging attacks from the Coalition, renewable energy has become even more popular with the Australian public – and fossil fuels less so.

Among all energy sources, solar power leads in popularity at 84 per cent, up 2 points on last year. Women turned out to be the strongest supporters of solar energy; with 86% ranking it their most preferred choice, compared to 81% of men.

Solar power is followed by wind at 69% (up 5 points on last year).

The popularity of both gas and nuclear crashed 7 points to 21 and 13 per cent respectively; making nuclear and coal tied as least preferred energy sources. Continue reading

August 12, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Australian electricity companies offer solar, battery technology for lease

Australia-solar-plugSolar power for rent: Electricity companies offer solar, battery technology for lease  AM  By Eric Tlozek Electricity companies have offered solar and battery systems for lease in a bid to keep customers and lower their own costs. Continue reading

August 9, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar, storage | 1 Comment

Australian Renewable Energy Agency helps kick off Queensland’s ‘Virtual solar plant’

text-people-power-solar‘Virtual solar plant’ in home trial in Queensland August 6, 2015 Angela Macdonald-Smith  Californian electricity storage developer Sunverge Energy has forged an alliance with Ergon Energy for a limited commercial rollout of its power systems in Queensland homes, with at least two similar deals with other Australian partners expected to follow later this year.

The partnership with the Queensland utility, which also involves US-listed solar panel provider SunPower, will tap into keen interest in battery storage among households in Australia, partly thanks to the huge popularity of rooftop solar.

The deal announced on Thursday involves installing SunPower solar panels and Sunverge energy storage systems in 33 homes in Toowoomba, Townsville and Cannonvale in a program that will receive $400,000 of funding by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

The Sunverge systems include back-up power, a six-kilowatt inverter with 11.6 kilowatt-hours of energy and a sophisticated communications and control capability that allows the utility to control and collectively manage them to increase the efficiency of power supply on its grid. Continue reading

August 7, 2015 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

How federal govt changes to Clean Energy Finance Corporation will affect Australian househholds

solar-panels-localSolar panels: What do the federal government changes mean for households, SMH July 19, 2015  

Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has been told not to invest in rooftop solar. What does that mean for me?

The CEFC is the “green investment bank” set up by the Gillard Labor government that the Abbott government wants to scrap. It has been blocked in the Senate so instead it wants to narrow the CEFC’s mandate by blocking investment in “mature” technologies such as wind farms and solar panels.

The fund, though, exists mainly to find ways to boost the competitiveness of all renewable technologies, from large-scale solar plants to wave and geothermal sources, and energy-efficiency measures.

Earlier this month, for instance, the CEFC joined in a 12-year, $100 million venture with Origin. The energy giant will own, install and maintain solar PV systems for households and businesses. Customers get a fixed energy price for a longer term than would typically have been offered by banks.

 The fund is hoping to persuade Treasurer Joe Hockey to rescind the restrictions on its activities. According to Alan Pears, a senior industry fellow at RMIT University, the short-term impact of banning CEFC involvement in rooftop solar PV will be fewer creative financing options for getting solar power with no or low upfront costs. “In the longer term, it will slow the roll-out of more efficient, cheaper and smarter photovoltaicsystems and limit Australia’s potential to develop intellectual property for export.”

What is this large-scale solar we’re hearing about?………

July 22, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, solar | 1 Comment

Australia’s government not stopping Sydney IKEA’s renewable energy project

IKEA backs renewable energy targets despite government changes, SMH,  by Sue Mitchell, 17 July 15  Richard Wilson is looking forward to the day he can go off the grid – not at his Sydney home but at homewares chain IKEA. As sustainability manager for IKEA Australia, the 43 year old is spearheading arguably the nation’s most ambitious private sector renewable energy project.

The world’s biggest furniture retailer, which has annual sales of €30 billion ($44 billion), is aiming to be energy neutral by 2020, with 100 per cent of its energy needs coming from renewable sources.

IKEA’s Australian business took the first steps last year, installing 16,000 solar panels on the roofs of six stores, including almost 4000 panels at its flagship store at Tempe, near Sydney Airport.

 The panels are now generating just under five megawatts of energy a year – enough to power air conditioning systems and low-energy lighting in stores and distribution centres during the day.

“It’s really cool,” says Wilson, who gave up his job running Randwick Council’s Sustaining Our City program almost three years ago to join the Swedish retailer, attracted to the company by its ambitious long-term environmental targets.

“When they do have bold ambitions it makes things happen,” says Wilson. “It was the 100 per cent renewable energy targets that got me excited about working for IKEA – I want to be on that journey.”

It’s a journey that may not have got off the ground if not for Labor’s now defunct carbon tax. When electricity was cheap and solar panels expensive, the business case simply did not stack up.

 “But we just kept recalculating it,” says Wilson. “We managed to get it in with the carbon tax and panels kept coming down in price.”

The company pressed ahead after the carbon tax was scrapped by the Abbott government last year and now expects to achieve payback in less than 10 years, in line with its parent’s relatively generous return on investment hurdles……….

July 18, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | 1 Comment

South Australian government says wind and solar power are sources of jobs

text-relevantWind and solar a source of jobs in SA
JULY 13, 2015 THE South Australian government says a commonwealth ban on supporting solar and wind energy scheme will make it harder to create jobs.

THE commonwealth has directed the Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to back any further wind energy projects as well as rooftop solar schemes.

But South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis says wind energy is a source of immediate and future jobs and putting barriers in the way of investment will make it more difficult to cut SA’s unemployment rate, which climbed to 8.2 per cent in June.

“South Australians are told by the commonwealth government that we are not allowed to build cars, we’re told we are not allowed to build submarines, now we are being told we shouldn’t build wind farms when we have investors ready to spend their money and create jobs now,” he said.


Climate Change Minister Ian Hunter will meet his interstate counterparts this week and says they will call on the federal government to end its ideological opposition to renewable energy.
“The message being sent to renewable energy investors by our federal government is `look elsewhere – don’t spend your money in Australia and don’t create jobs here’,” he said.

July 15, 2015 Posted by | politics, solar, South Australia, wind | 1 Comment

Concentrated Solar Power pre-feasibility study now being finalised at Port Augusta

text-relevantThe transition from fossil to renewable energy  The Fifth Estate, Graham Davies, Engineers Australia | 13 July 2015“…………It is encouraging that Alinta, with financial support from ARENA and the SA Government, is currently finalising a pre-feasibility study into concentrated solar thermal power at Port Augusta – a project that has the full support of the community. At present the capex of CSP is too high for a company to meet what is required for shareholder returns, but costs will decrease as the technology develops further. If government were to contribute an amount equivalent to saved externalities (such as adverse health effects associated with continuing the coal power station) it is probable that the project would be economically viable now.

concentrated solar Spain1

CSP is of particular value to a renewable grid, as it has the ability to efficiently store energy, be despatchable and provide synchronous generation and grid stability. These capabilities will circumvent the need for inflexible base load generators such as coal, CCGT and nuclear, with their many externalities. Port Augusta is an ideal location for CSP and presents a great opportunity for the future.

The closure of the Port Augusta Power Station may initially appear as bad news, but it may galvanise South Australia in becoming the iconic turning point for a new future – a future in which Australia again leads in solar development and export; where energy security is based on the sun and not the fossil reserves; where long-term thinking is built into economic analysis; and where prosperity is not measured by GDP but by net wealth and wellbeing.

Graham Davies is incoming chair of Engineers Australia’s Sustainable Engineering Society.

July 15, 2015 Posted by | solar, South Australia | 1 Comment


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