Australian news, and some related international items

China developing a distributed power grid for 1000s of small solar installations

flag-ChinaChina as a model renewable energy economy By Li Hejun, China New Energy Chamber of Commerce and Hanergy Holding Group  31 Dec 14  “……..Even more exciting than falling costs are the new ways in which China will use and transmit power. China is now intent on developing a distributed power grid that will rely on the interconnection of thousands of rooftop and building-integrated solar installations generating power close to the point of consumption. This is a drastic departure from the current centralised power system that relies on goliath, coal-burning power plants and costly, inefficient power transmission over hundreds, or even thousands of kilometres. This new, smart grid will help eliminate pollution, slash costs, and increase reliability.


In addition to making the distributed grid possible, new forms of solar technology are ushering in an era of mobile energy in which customers can take power with them wherever they go.

At present, around 90 per cent of the world’s solar power output is geared towards first-generation crystalline silicon panels, which for a long time were the most efficient technology available. But traditional silicon panels are hard, opaque and heavy, while thin film solar technology can be can be lightweight, flexible, and translucent, making it ideal for a wide variety of applications, from curved automobile rooftops and building integration to consumer clothing and portable power stations.

In recent years, thin-film technology has caught up with, and even surpassed, crystalline silicon in terms of both conversion efficiency and cost. Furthermore, producing thin-film cells requires just a fraction of the material and energy necessary to make crystalline silicon, conserving resources, cutting costs, and reducing pollution.

In the coming years, technologies will continue to improve, and prices will continue to fall. Two of the most promising technologies now are solar cells made from CIGS (Copper, Indium, Gallium, Selenide) and those from GaAs (Gallium-Arsenide), with maximum conversion efficiencies topping 20 percent, and 30 percent, respectively. As these are further developed and brought to market on a mass scale, solar panels will transform into something capable of being integrated into nearly every fabric, product, and structure at a reasonable cost……..

Li Hejun is Director of the China New Energy Chamber of Commerce, and CEO of multinational clean energy company Hanergy Holding Group.


January 5, 2015 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. This good page deserves some comments, so I’m thanking you for the very hopeful news that China appears to be reconsidering its head-long leap into nuclear energy.

    Thanks also for broaching the subject of thin film solar panel technology replacing the old, which raises several serious concerns.

    * The environmental footprint and the owner expense of running an array of old tech solar panels for (say) 5 more years –is zero. In the meanwhile, facilities for recycling old panels will become more plentiful. (Perhaps the ones which still work should be simply shipped to a solar energy farm and kept working.)

    * I am _not_ expert on these matters, so please correct any of my errors.

    It seems intuitive (IMHO) that the biggest reasons for the premature retirement of old solar panels will stem from placing them on existing roofs.

    ~ When it’s time to reroof (15 years or so down the road), the additional costs and commensurate life expectancy of new panels will make replacement a no-brainer (if the home owner hasn’t become soured on solar power) .

    ~ I worry that we’re up against a growing home owner and solar panel industry catastrophe, to judge from reports that some fire departments are refusing to tread upon or direct water upon solar paneled building and house fires with roof involvement. I want the solar panel industry to address and fix this problem –before the insurance and mortgage industry gets ahold of it.

    ~ UL has already done an initial study of this hazard which resulted in many cautions –per:

    I strongly suggest that the solar panel industry positively engage it, toward the goal of coming up with specifications for acceptable new construction and retrofits of existing homes –to safely accommodate and support solar panels. (It might turn out that existing homes must either build an addition to the roof, put the panels on a separate garage or shed, or separately support solar panels with some sort of pole construction next to the house.)


    Comment by Craig Daniels | January 11, 2015 | Reply

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