Australian news, and some related international items

Big solar panel company opening in Sydney, sees great future for solar power in Australia

GREEN DEALS: Australia’s new solar player, Climate Spectator,  11 Jul 2012 Daniel Palmer Yingli Green Energy The world’s third largest solar manufacturer is setting up shop in Australia. China-based and NYSE-listed Yingli Green Energy has said it will open an office in Sydney to serve as its regional headquarters. With the unique claim to fame of being the first renewable energy company to sponsor the FIFA World Cup, the company sees Australia as a great place to further boost its global market share.
“Australia is one of the most promising markets in the solar industry,” Liansheng Miao, Chairman and CEO of Yingli, said. “We are happy to enhance our local presence by establishing this subsidiary, which will enable us to provide more convenient products and services to Australian customers.”  The new branch will also be looking at selling panels in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands……

July 12, 2012 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | | Leave a comment

Solar power with energy storage will benefit Australian households, AND utility companies

 The partnership can actually benefit utilities too, though.

The residential systems (5 kW/20 kWh) will be available to the general residential marketplace in fall 2012, the company states. It will also be offering commercial and utility-scale energy storage systems.

Energy storage and solar join forces in Australia, REneweconomy, By Zachary Shahan   11 July 2012 Solar energy is getting cheaper and cheaper. It’s an excellent choice for homeowners around the world. It can cut electricity bills
dramatically and deliver up some pretty sweet long-term savings. But things get really exciting when you let it play with a cheap, home energy storage system. OK, I’m not sure if there’s a truly “cheap” system out there yet, but prices are falling for those as well, and a decent energy storage system with a solar power system is a match that utility companies probably don’t want to see.

Recent news is that energy storage company Greensmith Energy Management Systems has teamed up with South-Australian solar developer ZEN Energy Systems in the land down under.

“In the agreement, Greensmith will provide software licenses for its
Battery Operating System to ZEN, who will market and deliver a line of
energy storage products in Australia.”

This could be big news. Continue reading

July 11, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | | Leave a comment

Australia’s Solar PV threatening profits of big energy companies

How big utilities propose to kill solar PV, REneweconomy By Giles Parkinson   9 July 2012 A couple of nasty figures have been produced in recent weeks that will give energy companies – retailers, generators and distributors – cause to reflect on how they will manage to satisfy their shareholders’ insatiable appetite for increased profits in coming years.

The figures were inter-related. The first lot were the updated demand forecasts issues by the Australian Energy Market Operators. Demand for 2012/13 is now likely to be nearly 10 per cent below where it was predicted just a year ago, and demand out to 2020 might be 30 per cent below the most optimistic predictions. For an industry that has relied on an unremitting correlation of electricity demand to GDP growth, this has been a shock to the system.

AEMO chief Matt Zema acknowledged the problems facing the industry as it tries to eke out more revenue in the face of declining demand. Essentially, he said in an interview with RenewEconomy, as demand falls and investment in fixed infrastructure increases, the cost per megawatt grows – creating a vicious circle, or what AGL Energy described in a document last week as the Energy Market Death Spiral.

Part of this reduction has been partly blamed on reduced manufacturing, and partly on reduced demand from households and business in response to surging electricity costs, and on the massive investment in infrastructure to cope with peak demand. But the most enduring, and growing factor, at least on the demand side, is the penetration of solar PV. And AEMO forecasts give little consolation to the established industry – the amount of solar PV in the Australian market is tipped to grow 10-fold over the next two decades, and its impact on revenue and profits for the incumbent generators, retailers and network operators will increase accordingly.

Private forecasts suggest that the growth of solar PV could be much greater than that recognised by AEMO. Yingli, the world’s largest solar PV manufacturer in 2012, has said that Australia could, in fact, become the first “mass market” for solar PV in the world – thanks to a combination of declining costs, rising grid prices, lots of sun and innovative financing models…….

Here are some tactics that are being suggested to deal with what AGL Energy managing director Michael Fraser described on the Radio National Breakfast program 10 days ago as the “infiltration” of solar PV and distributed energy. “It’s been a good thing,” Fraser said. “But we will have to watch that.”….

July 9, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | | Leave a comment

Jumbo sized solar pergola at Perth zoo

Perth Zoo unveils ‘jumbo’ solar plant WA Today July 5, 2012 Perth Zoo has completed its jumbo-sized solar panel installation – stretching partly across its elephant enclosure – making it the city’s largest single source of sun power.

A new 102-metre “solar pergola” was unveiled today, completing the $2.7 million clean-energy project that began last year with the installation of 303 solar panels on eight zoo structures. They include the elephant barn, reptile display, retail shop,
maintenance and administrative buildings.

A total of 755 solar panels are now used by the zoo, with the potential to generate about a third of its energy needs – 370,000kW hours a year – saving the popular tourist attraction about $100,000 a year. The installation was jointly funded by the state and federal governments as part of the nation’s $94 million Solar Cities program.

While the steel-framed solar pergola is the centrepiece of the Perth Zoo project, it also doubles as a bus shelter, running along the northern perimeter road and propping up 452 solar panels with a power rating of 145kW.
The entire system is rated at 237kW, making it the largest single solar generator in Perth – the world’s sunniest capital city, with an average eight hours sunshine a day over the entire year. Perth Zoo hosts about 610,000 visitors a year.

July 6, 2012 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | | Leave a comment

Solar Dawn confirms its plan to rise  Ecogeneration, , 5 July 2012 The Solar Dawn consortium has advised the Federal Government that its Solar Flagships Program-winning project is well-advanced and remains Australia’s best prospect for a large-scale solar thermal facility, despite the consortium failing to meet the recent financial close milestone and the Queensland Government’s decision to withdrawn from its project support agreement.
Solar Dawn Project Director Anthony Wiseman said that while the project delay represented a set-back, the consortium – made up of AREVA Solar and Wind Prospect, after CS Energy pulled out – will pursue discussions with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Queensland Government to move Solar Dawn forward based on the project’s advanced status and the strong economic and environmental benefits it offers to the state and the country…..

The Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES) said that it is deeply disappointed with the Queensland Government’s decision to axe funding to the project, as it will put Australia at the forefront of the global solar thermal industry. AuSES is seeking industry feedback on the decision…..

July 6, 2012 Posted by | Queensland, solar | | Leave a comment

Queensland’s anti solar energy government swings into action

Campbell Newman Government axes Queensland solar energy scheme, nation’s largest by: Darrell Giles  The Courier-Mail July 02, 2012 AUSTRALIA’S biggest solar energy scheme is dead in the water, torpedoed by the withdrawal of funding by the Newman Government. The State Government is pulling $75 million out of a renewable energy power project, effectively killing off up to 400 jobs.

Regional Queensland was set to be home to one of the biggest combination solar and gas power plants in the world under a $1.2 billion scheme, a joint Federal-State Government and private partnership.

The Solar Dawn project would have used Australian-pioneered technology and transformed Chinchilla and the western Darling Downs into the nation’s mixed-energy capital.  But the Liberal National Party has found a way to back out of an earlier Bligh government agreement and halt its contribution.

Premier Campbell Newman signalled soon after winning the March state election that he would look at pulling the plug on the $75 million investment if he could do it without risk to taxpayers. Minister for Energy and Water Supply Mark McArdle wrote to federal Energy Minister Martin Ferguson last week to confirm he had cut the Queensland contribution. Mr McArdle was understood to have told Mr Ferguson Solar Dawn was unable to meet the State Government’s funding agreement.

As a result, the agreement between the two governments was “terminated”…… Prime Minister Julia Gillard had committed $464 million, saying the project would support Labor’s carbon tax and keep the environment clean……

July 2, 2012 Posted by | politics, Queensland, solar | | Leave a comment

Aboriginal and solar firms join in outback solar projects

Indigenous firm eyes solar power Peter Williams, The West Australian June 27, 2012, A new indigenous-controlled energy company has plans to build solar power systems in regional areas as big as any existing projects in Australia.

Carey Power, a joint venture between indigenous-owned mining services provider Carey Mining and Perth solar energy specialist Next Power, is targeting mine camps as well as remote communities and local governments.

Next Power chief executive and Carey Power executive director Kieron D’Arcy said Carey Power planned to install systems of up to 10 megawatts, equal to the size of the nation’s biggest solar plant being built in the Mid West. Continue reading

June 28, 2012 Posted by | aboriginal issues, solar, Western Australia | | Leave a comment

Queensland Premier Newman’s war on solar energy

Can-do Campbell slashes Queensland solar PV tariffs,  REneweconomy,  By  on 25 June 2012 One of the most depressingly predictable political back-flips has finally come to pass, with the Campbell Newman-led Queensland state government abandoning its commitment to the solar bonus scheme, and announcing it will slash its net feed-in tariff from a 44c/kWh to just 8c/kWh.

The dramatic move means that Queensland is the last state to remove the solar PV FiT, and replace it with a nominal amount. The 8c tariff will be reviewed in July 2013, and will end in July 2014 – leaving retailers to make only a “voluntary contribution.”

This is despite promises by Newman during the campaign that the solar bonus scheme would not be cut. But as we pointed out in this item in March, Can-do Campbell and the art of political risk, Newman intended to cut a whole range of climate and clean energy schemes. Newman has now brought an end to a variety of renewable energy schemes, including a $5 million grant for the Cloncurry solar PV project, and funding for geothermal research.

Newman also sought to exit a $75 million grant for the Solar Dawn project in the solar flagships program, but has found he could not. He may still be able to hold on to the money if Solar Dawn is unable to negotiate a power purchase agreement with the state government-owned utility. Continue reading

June 26, 2012 Posted by | Queensland, solar | | Leave a comment

Community owned solar farm plan for Bacchus Marsh, Victoria

Solar farm proposed for Bacchus Marsh, Melton Weekly, Moorabool Weekly, BY CLAIRE KNOX, 26 Jun, 2012 STATE and federal governments need to encourage smaller-scale community renewable energy (CRE) projects, according to sustainability leaders. They say promoting community-owned models could be the key to engaging the wider public in lowering carbon emissions.

Deb Porter, secretary of Moorabool Environment Group (MEG), said the group was looking at developing a community solar farm in Bacchus Marsh, with people purchasing shares. Continue reading

June 26, 2012 Posted by | solar, Victoria | | Leave a comment

A New South Wales City Council sets up Australia’s largest solar powered streetlighting project

Shining light in renewable energy Goulburn Post, 22 Jun, 2012  GOULBURN Mulwaree Council is leading the way when it comes to combining renewable energy and street safety by installing more than 50 solar powered streetlights along Marys Mount Road.
The 3km stretch of road is believed to be the single largest solar powered streetlighting project for a councilowned and maintained road in Australia. The solar powered streetlights took three weeks to install, with local tradespeople contracted to assist with the project……..
Each stand-alone system comprises primarily the three major electronic
components, all working in unison.

1) Solar Panels – Absorbed radiation sent to through the controller to the batteries. The Solar Panels are monocrystalline and generally do not require maintenance.

2) Sealed Batteries – Supplying daily stored power. The batteries are sealed and require no regular maintenance.

3) Controllers – The Control Centre (operating, monitoring, regulating).

The controller automatically adjusts for the daylight savings throughout the entire year, and no manual adjustment is required.

The Cost of Life Analysis included the poles, solar panels, batteries, controller and fittings. This worked out to be $400 per pole/annum or approx five per cent of the Total Project value.
Goulburn Mulwaree Council has also installed solar panels at its Visitor Information Centre (installed by Ingenero Pty Limited), and is currently investigating options to install panels at its Aquatic Centre. Stage 1 of this process is now complete, with local company Sunup Solar and LED Lighting Systems installing the systems. Council is investigating the possibility of tendering for Stage 2 of an additional 5KW.

June 22, 2012 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | | Leave a comment

Harvey Norman aims to be an Australian leader in solar panel sales

Harvey Norman invests in solar panels 19 June 12  Retailer Harvey Norman plans to be a market leader in the domestic solar industry after placing a substantial order for user-friendly solar panels. Continue reading

June 22, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | | Leave a comment

Solar panels in Australia- cutting mains electricity use and wholesale prices

Solar Panels Cutting Australia’s Mains Electricity Consumption  by Energy Matters Results of a study released earlier today show energy efficiency efforts and home solar power installations are reducing Australia’s mains grid supplied electricity consumption – and wholesale electricity prices too. Continue reading

June 21, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | | Leave a comment

Australia using less ‘baseload’ energy – largely thanks to solar panels

more than half the cut in power use was due to photovoltaic solar panels, solar hot water systems and energy savings programs in Victoria and New South Wales that encourage use of more efficient lightbulbs and appliances.

 the cost of solar energy and energy-efficiency schemes was modest compared with other factors pushing up electricity prices……

Solar panels linked to lower power usageIllawarra Mercury, ADAM MORTON, 20 Jun, 2012  SCHEMES encouraging people to install solar panels and save energy have cut household power consumption and will restrict the pace at which electricity bills increase in coming years, a new analysis has found.

While solar incentive schemes have been criticised as an expensive way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, an industry analysis has found they have led to a reduction in the amount of fossil fuel electricity drawn from the national power grid.

It suggests it is likely no new baseload power plants will be needed over the next decade.

Electricity consumption fell 3.2 per cent over the three years to 2011, ending years of dramatic increases and bucking projections that it would continue to soar due to economic and population growth. Continue reading

June 20, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, efficiency, solar | | Leave a comment

Distributed solar energy is transforming Australia’s electricity system

Energy myths exposed: King Coal or King Solar? “   The Conversation,  by Ray Wills, Adjunct Professor, School of Earth and Environment at University of Western Australia and Peter Newman Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University   16 June 2012, “…….. A new report was released by the Australian PV Association (APVA)… It reveals a total of 837 MW of PV was installed in Australia in 2011, capacity not considered in the BREE publication. Add 2668 MW from BREE to 837 MW from APVA and we find solar delivered an amazing 25% of new installed capacity in Australia in 2011. Revised proportions for the other generation is gas 29%, wind 33% and coal 14%. Renewables added a remarkable 58% of all electricity generation capacity in Australia in 2011.

King Coal is well and truly on the way out. What’s more, renewables now make up over half of all new power being generated in Australia.

There is a major challenge in Australia, and globally, to understand the rapidly changing scene of energy investment toward sustainable energy. The agencies responsible for reporting these metrics are not reporting the whole picture, because the conventional view of energy markets doesn’t consider you can generate a lot of electricity on homes……. Continue reading

June 16, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | | Leave a comment

A compelling case for Australian households to adopt solar energy

The Australian Energy Market Operator report on solar photovoltaics,… recognises that solar PV can provide a compelling economic case for households as its costs fall and retail prices from fossil-fuel-dominated centralised grids continue to rise.

We are missing the boat on clean energy, BY: GILES PARKINSON  : The Australian June 15, 2012, THE International Energy Agency was created 40 years ago, soon after the first major oil crisis, to ensure that OECD countries continued to have a secure supply of energy.

In the past few years, however, it has emerged as one of the loudest and most powerful advocates of clean energy.

The more it looks at the issues of climate change and energy security, the less it likes oil, gas and coal, and the more it is attached to what its secretary-general, Maria van der Hoeven, describes as a radical and early transformation of the world’s electricity systems.

A 685-page analysis released this week by the agency contains two important conclusions: renewable energy sources can do the job, Continue reading

June 15, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | | Leave a comment