Australian news, and some related international items

Solar energy’s bright future

sun-powerBright future for renewable energy on display at giant solar show, Financial Post, Diane Francis July 15, 2016 SAN FRANCISCO — It has been said that renewable energy is the energy of the future and always will be.

But the tipping point is nigh, thanks to Germany’s leadership, China’s pollution catastrophe and technological advances in battery storage, materials science and software.

At this year’s giant solar show – Solar 2016 – a future with abundant, clean and cheap energy was discussed and on display.

Success will be based on the continuation of five trends:

    • The Germans and Chinese have been dramatically transitioning to renewable energy by government edict, which has massively driven down costs for everyone through innovation and mass production;
    • The Americans, wary of government edicts of any kind, are increasingly adopting and developing viable solar “distributed power” units — a do-it-yourself and market-based approach designed to dramatically reduce or free residences and industries from any dependency on grids or utilities;
    • “Distributed power” is being adopted by developing countries to leapfrog the traditional giant power utility and extensive grid model. Power demands are high, fossil fuels are expensive and power grids inadequate so two-thirds of renewable development is underway in developing nations, led by China;
    • A materials science breakthrough involving solar cells made from a material called perovskite will be introduced next year and will drive down solar cell costs and exponentially increase efficiency;
    • Battery storage technology is advancing so dramatically that within three years a “tipping point” cost-wise will allow anyone with renewable power generation such as a rooftop solar system to go off grid.

The Germans have led the world to rid themselves of any dependency on fossil fuels from the Middle East or Russia as well as from nuclear power, which will be phased out by 2022. Their grand scheme — called Energeiwende — is publicly supported and German consumers pay a “green tax” of 24 billion euros annually to convert their economy to renewables such as biomass, wind and solar. Scaling and inventions have greatly reduced subsidies.

In the sunnier U.S., the biggest “tipping point” is closer thanks to cheaper storage, said Adara Power Inc. founder Greg Maguire. “Batteries are now US$650 per kilowatt hour and will be US$425 soon. In less than three years, they will hit US$200 and then there will be mass adoption.”……….


July 15, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized


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