Australian news, and some related international items

South Australian Premier Stephen Marshall carrying out the Liberal agenda – Cuts Access To Solar Batteries For Low Income Households.

SA’s New Premier Cuts Access To Solar Batteries For Low Income Households. Gizmodo, Hayley Williams Mar 19, 2018 

Incoming South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has today revealed that the Liberal government will not continue with Jay Weatherill’s plan to install batteries in thousands of low-income households. The new government’s plan will instead focus on means-tested subsidies for battery systems, and on the grid scale a focus on interconnectivity with NSW.

In a radio interview with ABC RN Breakfast this morning, Marshall talked briefly about his focus for South Australia in the upcoming years, including the direction he was planning to take with Jay Weatherill’s many renewable initiatives. Marshall confirmed that the party would be continuing with a $100 million home battery subsidy outlined mid campaign, rather than following through on the Labor campaign that would have installed Tesla batteries in South Australia’s Housing Trust homes at no cost to their occupants.

While on the surface Marshall’s plan sounds similar, promising batteries in 40,000 homes where Labor had aimed for batteries and rooftop solar on 50,000 houses, the Liberal plan cuts low income earners out of the equation. “[Jay Weatherill] was doing it for Housing Trust homes in South Australia. That’s not part of our agenda,” Marshall clarified. “Our agenda is the 40,000 homes and we’re going to do 10,000 a year.”

While the grants – around $2,500 per home – will be means tested, they are intended for houses with existing rooftop solar, and still require an upfront payment that low income earners will not be able to afford. The cheapest battery available in Australia is the Ampetus Super Lithium at $2,300 for 2.7kWh of usable storage, but this doesn’t include the cost of installation, a separate inverter and the solar panels to go with it.

Disappointingly, Marshall has said he will not be upholding Weatherill’s promise of a 75 per cent renewable target for South Australia. “We don’t believe in state-based renewable energy targets,” he explained. “We do support a national approach.” Yet experts have said that the federal government’s National Energy Guarantee sets too soft a target for the electricity industry to pull its weight on meeting Australia’s emission targets under the Paris Agreement, making it all the more disappointing that South Australia will now be doing even less to help……..


March 21, 2018 Posted by | politics, solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

India’s solar parks – a good system for Australia, too

Farming the sun’s rays: Should Australia follow India’s lead and create solar parks? NSW Country Hour By Michael Condon, 21 Mar 18, [Excellent graphics] 

March 21, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

New schemes may help renters get solar panels on their roof – Australia’s solar energy boom

Solar boom: New schemes may help renters get solar panels on their roof,  ABC Science, By Anna Salleh, 18 Feb 18,  


February 18, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

In Australia solar farm approvals and record rooftop installations expected to ‘turbo-boost’ production

Australia’s solar power boom could almost double capacity in a year, analysts say

Solar farm approvals and record rooftop installations expected to ‘turbo-boost’ production, Guardian,  Naaman Zhou, 11 Feb 18 

A record-breaking month of rooftop installations and a flood of large-scale solar farms could almost double Australia’s solar power capacity in a single year, industry analysts say.

A massive solar energy boom is being predicted for 2018, after an unprecedented number of industrial solar farms were approved by the New South Wales and Queensland governments last year.

Last month also became the biggest January on record for rooftop installations, according to the renewables website RenewEconomy and industry analysts SunWiz

With 111MW of new panels, it saw a 69% rise compared with the same month last year and became one of the top five months ever – largely driven by low installation costs and a boost in commercial uptake.

At the same time, nearly 30 new industrial solar farms are scheduled to come on line.

NSW approved 10 solar farm projects last year – twice as many as the year before – and has approved another in 2018. Queensland currently has 18 large-scale projects under construction, which is the most in the country.

The new farms could be operational within the year, according to John Grimes, the chief executive of the Clean Energy Council.

“These solar farms can be built within a matter of weeks,” he said. “They’re really quick and simple.”

Together, the new large-scale projects could add between 2.5GW and 3.5GW to the national grid and rooftop installations could add another 1.3GW, according to the Smart Energy Council’s estimates. This would nearly double the nation’s solar energy capacity, currently 7GW, in a single year.

“The train tracks are about to converge,” Grimes said. “Rooftop installations and utilities are both booming and could turbo-boost the solar numbers overall.”

In Queensland, residential solar panels are already the state’s largest source of energy, producing more combined than the 1.7GW Gladstone power station. Just under a third (30%) of residential homes in the state have solar installed – the most in the country.

With the completion of the new solar farms, solar will provide 17% of the state’s energy. “We’ve turned the sunshine state into the solar state,” Queensland’s former energy minister Mark Bailey said in October.

In New South Wales, the planning minister, Anthony Roberts, said the 10

new solar farms would generate 1.2GW of energy and reduce carbon emissions by more than 2.5m tonnes – the equivalent of taking about 800,000 cars off the road.

Grimes said the solar boom “was only going to grow” in future.

“Solar is the cheapest way to generate electricity in the world – full stop,” he said. “It’s not unusual for grid pricing to be north of 20c per kilowatt hour in a majority of jurisdicitions. A solar array, at an average size for an average home, if you amortise the cost over 20 years, the effective rate is 5c per kilowatt hour. That’s called an economic no-brainer.”

He said the rush to install rooftop panels could have been sparked by January’s warm weather and rising energy prices.

“I think people are acutely aware of energy prices. People are running air conditioning and thinking, ‘hooley dooley I’m going to get a bill’.”

2017 saw a record 1.25GW of solar power added to the grid nationally, counting both large-scale solar farms and rooftop panels. The predicted rate of rooftop panels alone in 2018 is expected to be 1.3GW.

February 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

New South Wales Liberal Premier Berejiklian is approving a solar energy revolution

The Berejiklian government has approved 11 large-scale solar energy plants in the past 12 months, clearing the way for NSW to join a “tsunami” of new renewable energy capacity across the nation.

The 170-megawatt Finley Solar Project in the Riverina, which will include half a million solar panels, is the first to get approval in 2018.

The 10 to get the go-ahead in 2017 doubled the number in the previous year, and alone supported 1800 construction jobs, Planning Minister Anthony Roberts said.

Those 10 “collectively reduce carbon emissions by over 2.5 million tonnes, which is equivalent to taking around 800,000 cars off the road”, he said.

NSW had more renewable generation capacity under construction than any other state, Energy Minister Don Harwin said.

 “These projects will ensure our energy security and with many more in the pipeline, NSW is in a stronger position than other states,” he said.
Energy security remains a contentious issue in Australia, with the Turnbull government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee yet to secure sign-on by states and territories unsure about the fine detail.

John Grimes, chief executive of the Smart Energy Council, a group promoting solar energy and storage, described the acceleration of solar approvals in NSW as “fantastic”.  The Coalition-led state government was “one conservative group that’s not working against renewables, and that’s got to be good thing”, Mr Grimes said.

In 2017, large-scale and roof-top solar added about 1.3 gigawatts nationally, a record for the industry.

On current trends, roof-top panels could alone add 1.4 GW of new capacity this year, with solar farms soaring by 2.5-3.5 GW, the Smart Energy Council estimates.

Together the 2018 tally may come close to doubling existing capacity in a single year as firms rush to supply the Renewable Energy Target that has to be filled by 2020.

“We’re about to get this giant, enormous tsunami, and nobody knows about it,” Mr Grimes said. “Wind [energy] used to be big and solar was small – now solar’s big, and wind is small.”

Officials in various approval agencies are struggling to keep up with approvals as companies flood them with applications, he said.

“With some of the best sunshine anywhere in the world and lots of good locations available, it is not surprising that NSW is up there with Queensland as one of the national frontrunners for new large-scale solar power projects,” Kane Thornton, chief executive of the Clean Energy Council, said.

At present, Queensland is ahead of NSW in terms of projects with finance or under construction, although the two states have similar numbers of approved ventures.

Renewable energy projects to be built under the Renewable Energy Target in the next couple of years add up to more power than the original Snowy Hydro project, which took a quarter of a century to complete, Mr Thornton said.

Solar projects can typically be developed, approved and built faster than wind ventures.

“And with the cost of new solar power continuing to plunge, they can also be built for a very competitive price which is substantially lower than either new coal or new gas,” Mr Thornton said.

An example of other states’ development includes a plan by Tilt Renewables to spend almost $500 million to integrate two projects – a solar farm and battery venture, and a 300-megawatt, pumped hydro storage project in a disused quarry – with its wind farm interests in South Australia.

Tilt’s $90 million Snowtown North solar and storage project includes a 180,000-panel farm with 44-MW capacity and a 26 MW-hour battery. It is forecast to have an operational life of around 25 years and offset around 85,000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent.

“By combining wind energy – with typically an evening peak at this site – and solar energy with a daytime peak,  the two assets can combine to better match daily electricity demands,”  Tilt chief executive Deion Campbell said, adding that “with the battery reducing the effect of short-term variability from the two renewable generation technologies”.

One area where NSW is a relative laggard is the penetration of rooftop solar, with roughly half the 30 per cent rate of South Australia and Queensland. “There’s a lot of ground to make up,” Mr Grimes said.

Beyond the big solar farms, though, is a jump in demand from companies looking to install smaller systems – such as between 400 kilowatt to 10 MW capacity – without power purchase agreements to offset the output.

“They are doing it to offset their own electricity use” and to get price certainty, Mr Grimes said.


February 10, 2018 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

South Australia’s new solar energy plan – an international first

Reuters 4th Feb 2018, South Australia’s state premier Jay Weatherill announced a plan on Sunday to create a network of 50,000 home solar systems backed by Tesla Powerwall batteries, ahead of a state election in March.

“We lead the world in renewable energy with the world’s largest battery, the world’s largest solar thermal plant and now the world’s largest virtual power plant,” he said in a televised interview from the state capital of Adelaide. “The size of it is the reason why it’s going to be a success.” The project would begin with a trial on 1,100 public housing homes, the government said on its website.

February 5, 2018 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australia’s renewable energy powerhouses to come – Whyalla and Port Augusta

Whyalla and Port Augusta could be a renewables powerhouse, says local mayor, ABC North and West By Tom Rohde  , 4 Jan 18

SA’s clean-energy projects

  • A hybrid power station is being built at Coober Pedy. The hope is that the outback community can be powered solely by solar, wind and diesel energy
  • Investors have funded a $300m solar battery-power plant at Roxby Downs
  • A wind, solar and battery farm is planned at Crystal Brook in the state’s mid north
  • A 100 megawatt solar powered facility is being built at Tailem Bend
  • US-based company Solar Reserve is seeking federal support for a $650 million solar-thermal project in Port Augusta
  • Zen Energy wants to build a solar power plant in the Upper Spencer Gulf

Whyalla Mayor Lyn Breuer said she hoped her city could team up with Port Augusta 80 kilometres away to make the plan a reality.

Regional South Australian cities have seen several energy projects announced over the past year, with construction on a new solar thermal power station in Port Augusta to start early this year.

In October last year, Whyalla steelworks owner Sanjeev Gupta announced that he had approved a plan worth up to $700 million for solar, battery storage and pumped hydro, with 200 megawatts of solar photovoltaics at Whyalla……..

Port Augusta’s mayor Sam Johnson said he believed the region was already becoming a hub for renewable energy.

“Port Augusta will, and I believe actually is becoming the renewable capital of Australia and there’s no doubt that Whyalla is a direct link into that.

“There’s some really great synergies between Port Augusta and Whyalla in what’s becoming a new and exciting industry.”….

January 6, 2018 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

World’s first fully solar-powered train on the New South Wales North Coast

World-first solar train now leaving the platform in Byron Bay with zero emissions, ABC North Coast , By Bruce Mackenzie, 17  Dec 17,  What is claimed to be the world’s first fully solar-powered train is operating on the New South Wales North Coast.

A refurbished 70-year-old ‘red rattler’ is running on a three-kilometre stretch of disused rail line at the popular tourist destination of Byron Bay.

It made its maiden trip yesterday with almost 100 passengers on board.

Electric bus solar system

The $4-million project is the brainchild of multi-millionaire businessman Brian Flannery, who owns a resort in the area.

“Hopefully it attracts people to Byron Bay,” Mr Flannery said.

“I think international tourists will come here to have a look at this world’s first solar train.

“So let’s see, in five years’ time they’ll probably still say I’m mad, but it’s a bit of fun.”

Tim Elderton, from the Lithgow Railway Workshop, was tasked with building curved solar panels and a battery system to power the train.

“Of course the major difference is it’s got solar panels on the roof so it can recharge itself.

“For those cloudy days we’ve also got 30 kilowatts of solar panels in this [station’s] roof here so we can also plug it in.

“On a sunny day like today we can do about four or five trips before we have to plug it in.”……..

Tram infrastructure a possibility

Longer trips than this one — 10 minutes to cover three kilometres or so — would require regular recharging stations along the route, but Mr Flannery said the technology might be suited to inner-city trams.

A lot of the tram networks of course have overhead wires and they’re electric but they’re powered off the grid from overhead,” he said.

“But in a case where you want to build a tramline without that infrastructure, I think you could.

“At various stations you could top the train [or tram] up.”

December 17, 2017 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

Queensland election is critical for solar energy, and for electricity consumers

Queensland poll could be a show-stopper for solar, and consumers By Giles Parkinson & Sophie Vorrath on 24 November 2017 Dirty versus clean; old versus the new; fossil fuels verses renewables; expensive energy versus cheap. There has rarely been so much at stake for an industry as there is in Saturday’s state election in Queensland, and the result is far from clear.

Current polling from Galaxy puts the ALP on track to win the required 47 seats for a majority, but as the Brisbane Courier-Mail reports, this will hinge on a number of factors, including unpredictable preference flows from One Nation supporters.

As at the federal level, politics in Queensland has been heavily focused on energy in the run-up to Saturday’s poll.

The Labor Palaszczuk government – which has a 50 per cent RET by 2030 for the state – has been campaigning strongly around renewables, with a particular focus on increasing rooftop solar uptakeas a way to cut power costs for businesses and homes around the state.

The new policies, launched in late October as part of the Palaszczuk government’s $2 billion Affordable Energy Plan, will offer no-interest loans to consumers wishing to invest in rooftop solar and battery storage, but lacking the up-front capital to do so.

They will also work to give landlords and renters equal access to solar, through a trial initially involving 1000 rental households. Queensland energy minister Mark Bailey said the rental solar scheme had the potential to save tenants up to 10 per cent off their annual bill, or up to $150 a year, while landlords could get a rebate of up to $520 per year.

On large-scale renewables,  as we reported here, Labor, has promised to follow through on a program already underway to underwrite 400MW of renewable energy projects.

Following on from this, it has committed to support a further 1000MW of renewable energy projects via a new government power company; and to look to construct new transmission infrastructure in Northern Queensland that would unlock a vast new province of wind, solar and hydro power projects.

On the other side of the political divide, the LNP conservative coalition that is seeking to replace the current Labor government has made its intentions on energy clear: the end of renewables incentives; government money for a new coal generator in north Queensland; and support for the Adani coal mine.

The LNP is also claiming a huge reduction in consumer bills: $160 a year for two years, followed by savings of up to $460 a year in 2020.

But this is largely a mirage, as energy analyst Hugh Grant has pointed out. He noted that the only parties with policies that would deliver price reductions were the Greens, and Labor.

Not that Queenslanders got to read about that anywhere – apart from RenewEconomy, the local media refused to publish the results, as Michael West points out in this piece.

In the Conservative corner in the fight for new coal is federal minister for resources and northern Australia, Matt Canavan, who – recently restored to his portfolio – is as keen as ever to use the federal government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to help fund a new coal-fired power plant in Queensland’s north, as well as to get the Adani coal mine and port project off the ground.

One Nation is also keen to build a coal-fired power station west of Townsville, with party leader Pauline Hanson pledging to commit $1.5 billion to the project, which she wants built in Collinsville – a former coal hub of the state that is more recently turning to large-scale solar.

In fact, according to data gathered for RE’s Renewable Energy Index, the North Queensland region has more power generating capacity under construction than the entire state of NSW, and almost as much as Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia combined.

Meanwhile, Queensland home and business owners are leading the country – which in turn is leading the world – in rooftop solar uptake.

A Climate Council report last month showed that almost one third (31.6 per cent) of all Queensland homes now have solar panels, which puts the state ahead of South Australia, at 30.5 per cent, and Western Australia at 25.4 per cent.

What’s more, there are 14 postcodes in the Sunshine State alone where more than 50 per cent of households have rooftop solar, including the the Moreton Bay region town of Elimbah, where an impressive 63 per cent of homes have PV panels on their roofs.

The Australian Solar Council – newly rebranded as the Smart Energy Council – aren’t resting on their laurels, though. The peak solar industry body is spooked enough about a possible LNP victory that is has launched its own major election campaign, urging voters to put the Coalition last.

“Queensland voters face a stark choice at the election tomorrow,” the SEC said in an email to members on Friday:

“A new polluting coal-fired power station or a solar thermal plant providing 24-hour solar power; no new large-scale renewables and massive job losses or 1,000 megawatts of new large-scale renewable projects in regional Queensland; and a National Energy Guarantee that delivers the longest solar eclipse in history or sensible national energy policy.”

November 25, 2017 Posted by | politics, Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Australian Solar Council launches campaign againstQueensland’s Liberal National Party

Solar industry launches big campaign in Queensland poll against LNP By Giles Parkinson on 17 November 2017  The Australian Solar Council – the peak body for the country’s solar industry – has announced a major advertising campaign against the Liberal National Party coalition in the Queensland election campaign, saying the future of the industry is at stake.

The ASC says it is spending “hundreds of thousands” of dollars in the first stage of its campaign, which will include TV, designed to highlight the implications for the solar industry if the LNP win power.

“It is a huge step for the Australian Solar Council to do political advertising, but solar companies are concerned,” says John Grimes, the chief executive of the ASC.

Liberal National Party policies present a direct threat to profits in Queensland’s renewables industry.”

 Grimes told Reneweconomy that campaign was launched because it was felt that the issue – essentially one of solar versus coal – had not got the prominence it deserved.

“The reality of what’s at stake is not well understood, we have got to shake people up,” Grimes said.

“The implications of a Queensland LNP government that abolishes the renewable target, abolishes the RET in Queensland and signs up to new coal fired power station is completely untenable. That’s why we are taking this action.”

The LNP has made clear it will remove all subsidies for renewable energy in the state, and focus instead on building a new coal fired power station in north Queensland – an idea that even other coal generation companies say is ridiculous.

Labor, on the other hand, has promised to reach “at least” 50 per cent renewable energy by 2020, and promised more funding for a first solar thermal plant with storage, more solar for schools, initiatives for renters and low income households, and a 400MW tender for solar and storage.

The result, however, is in the balance, with One Nation polling strongly enough to possibly win some seats, and provide the numbers to support the LNP in a minority government.

Grimes noted that there were more than 24 large scale solar projects under development, or committed, in Queensland, and a pipeline of at least double that.

“We right on the cusp of an energy transformation,” he said. “There is a whole lot of investment that will fall by the wayside if we get a change in government.

The ASC is also concerned about the LNP’s declared support for the proposed National Energy Guarantee, which critics say will end up supporting existing fossil fuel generators and effectively penalise and put a halt to renewable energy development. The National Energy Guarantee is really a guarantee for coal,” Grimes says. “It means delay, inaction and confusion for renewable energy. That’s untenable for Queensland’s solar industry.

“When the National Energy Guarantee was announced, the Australian Solar Council promised a pointed political campaign against it. We are making good on that promise through newspaper, radio and digital advertising in key marginal seats in Queensland.

“Thousands of regional jobs have been created by the solar boom, and billions of dollars are being invested in regional communities but the solar boom could turn to bust in the Sunshine State,” said Mr Grimes.

November 17, 2017 Posted by | politics, Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Record low electricity demand in South Australia, due to rooftop solar

Rooftop solar pushes South Australia to record low demand (again) Giles Parkinson on 6 November 2017

The combination of growing rooftop solar installations, mild temperatures and sunny weather has pushed South Australia’s grid demand to yet another record low, this time shaving around 6 per cent off the previous low set just six weeks ago.

The new low was set just before 1.30pm in South Australia (just before 2pm on National Electricity Market time) when the minimum grid demand hit 554MW.

This shaved some 33MW off the previous low of 587MW set on September 17,which itself was nearly 200MW or 25 per cent the previous record low demand of 786MW set just a week earlier.

For six hours, according to the APVI solar map, rooftop solar PV provided more than 30 per cent of the state’s demand. For nearly three hours, rooftop solar provided more than 40 per cent of the state’s demand.  As we explore in this article here, rooftop solar provided 9.2 per cent of the state’s local generation in 2016/17 and would likely be more than 10 per cent if larger rooftop solar installations were included.

Within a decade, that share is expected to double to more than 20 per cent, at which times on days like this Sunday, minimum demand may actually fall to zero because of the amount of solar being generated.

The Australian Energy Market Operator, which includes these forecasts in a new report into the South Australia grid, suggests that by that time it will be necessary to store some of that excess solar for use later in the day.

The same situation may occur in West Australia, too, because of the amount of rooftop solar being installed in a small grid. The uptake of rooftop solar is accelerating because of high grid prices and the falling cost of solar technology, and grid demand fell in W.A. to an 8-year low last week.

“At these times, South Australia could store or export its excess generation to the rest of the NEM via the interconnectors, provided they are in service,” AEMO notes in its report.

“This, in turn, will provide market participants with greater opportunity to manage their energy use.”

AEMO noted, as it has previously, that South Australia is the first region in the NEM in which high rooftop PV penetration has caused minimum demand to shift from overnight to near midday – a transition that occurred five years ago.

Many argue this is a good reason to shift the “controlled load” of electric hot water systems from the night-time to the mid-day hours, particularly since the closure of the coal fired generators which could not be switched off at night and needed something to power during the night time.

However, problems with the nature of the metering, and the potential expense of the shift, are barriers to the migration of hot water systems to the day-time hours.

November 6, 2017 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australia’s Whyalla to become a booming renewable energy hub

Whyalla steel city goes green with 1GW of solar and storage, UK billionaire Sanjeev Gupta has made good on his commitment to transform his newly acquired Australian steel business into a renewable energy powerhouses, announcing massive investments in solar and storage that will knock 40 per cent off his electricity costs.

Gupta said on Monday that he would build 1 gigawatt (1,000MW) of dispatchable renewables in and around Whyalla, where his major steel plant is located. This would comprise huge investments in solar, battery storage, pumped hydro and demand management.

He won’t stop there. Gupta is looking to repeat the dose – although with varying mixes and scale of renewables and storage – to power the company’s steel operations in Melbourne, Sydney and Newcastle. He said on Tuesday he wanted these bigger plants to be powered 100 per cent by renewable energy.

The initial development will see a proposed 80MW solar farm at Whyalla expanded to 200MW and completed by the first quarter of 2019.

 This will be accompanied by:

Continue reading

November 1, 2017 Posted by | solar, South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Solar energy: from day one Australian business solar projects pay for themselves

Our Future | Business solar projects pay for themselves from day one,Nathan Henkes   22 Oct 17 Right now, you’re paying more money than you need to be for energy. Why? Because of the widely-held misconception that traditional energy is still cheaper than solar.

October 23, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, solar | 1 Comment

A futuristic family car at the World Solar Challenge

Guardian 15th Oct 2017, A futuristic family car that not only uses the sun as power but supplies
energy back to the grid has been hailed as “the future” as the annual
World Solar Challenge wrapped up in Australia. The innovative bi-annual
contest, first run in 1987, began in Darwin a week ago with 41 vehicles
setting off on a 3,000km (1,860-mile) trip through the heart of Australia
to Adelaide. A Dutch car, Nuna 9, won the race for the third-straight time,
crossing the finish line on Thursday after travelling at an average speed
of 81.2kmh (55.5 mph).

October 16, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Small-scale solar cutting $billions from electricity bills, Cole Latimer, 14 Oct 17,

Small-scale solar systems have cut wholesale electricity costs by up to half in the past 12 months, a study has shown.

The report by consulting firm Energy Synapse, commissioned by a community-based organisation Solar Citizens Australia, found solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in NSW had saved consumers up to $2.2 billion from May 2016 to April 2017

During this period, small solar PV systems are estimated to have generated 1540 gigawatt hours of power within the state.

The report says the volume-weighted average price of wholesale electricity would have been between $29 and $44 per megawatt hour higher than the actual average price for the period of $88 per megawatt hour.

The study found that small-scale solar had the largest impact during February, when record heatwaves were experienced, reducing the volume-weighted average price of wholesale electricity by between $119 and $258 per megawatt hour.

There has been a massive increase in renewable energy investment and construction this year. New solar energy generation has grown by 50 per cent globally, according to a report by the International Energy Agency. The IEA’s Renewables 2017 report says 165 gigawatts of new energy came online from renewables as a whole – including solar, wind and hydro power.

“We see renewables growing by about 1000 GW by 2022, which equals about half of the current global capacity in coal power, which took 80 years to build,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol said.

“What we are witnessing is the birth of a new era in solar PV. We expect that solar PV capacity growth will be higher than any other renewable technology through 2022.”

In Australia, there are more than 40 large-scale renewable energy projects that have either started, or will start, construction this year.

Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thorton said this represented an investment of more than $8 billion.

“These 41 projects will deliver over 4330MW of new capacity, which is crucial to increasing supply in the energy market, replacing old coal-fired generation that continues to close, and ensuring downward pressure on power prices,” Mr Thornton said.

There are 26 projects being built, and another 14 projects that have secured finance with the expectation that construction will start before the end of the year.

“We have already seen six times the investment value in 2017 of what we saw in 2016, and the new capacity will also help with energy security,” Mr Thornton said.

“In 2016, the combined capacity from all projects completed stood at 264.1 MW. This year 2210.2 MW of projects have been committed and 1881.2 MW are in construction with a whole financial quarter still to go.”

October 14, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, solar | Leave a comment