All solar fans’ eyes were turned to the budget this week as Treasurer Wayne “The Knife” Swan brought down his sixth budget (gee doesn’t time fly Swanny?). So how did solar energy (and renewables in general) fare in the Budget? Did we do OK ? Or was it a case of solar energy being once again the target as cuts are made? [Read more...]
As the Federal Budget approaches, renewable energy supporters — including solar power fans — tend to get a bit twitchy. You know the deal folks, Julia “The Ranga Boss Lady” Gillard tells Wayne “The Knife” Swan that we’re not getting enough revenue from the carbon tax and to go find some more.
The Knife then goes through the options: Tax polluters more? Pop round Gina “The Big G” place with the hat asking for more shekels Oliver Twist-style? Try another, fairer, mining tax? [Read more...]
The big news in solar energy this week was the acquisition of Power-One — manufacturers of the fable Aurora Inverters — by the Swiss energy giant the ABB Group for one billion dollars. For those among us who will never see $1,000,000,000, to give you an idea of its worth, its about half of what celebrity Oprah Winfrey charged for her recent Australian appearance. [Read more...]
photo credit: flickr - kateausburn
Unless you’ve been living a hermit’s existence with no access to news outlets, the Internet or NSW premier Barry “Bumper” O’Farrell’s rants you’ll have heard the constant chorus “Frack Off!” being directed at the (not-so-green) gas industry led by AGL. The choice insult refers of course to the gas industry’s latest controversial method of extracting gas by fracturing deeply buried rock using a pressurised fluid. [Read more...]
Many solar commentators are predicting the end of cheap solar panels. The price of solar panels has fallen by around 80% in the last 5 years. In 2009 the wholesale cost of a solar panel was about $4 per Watt. Which made a 200W solar panel cost $800. Today ( March 2013) you can get a good quality solar panel (e.g. Trina or Suntech) for about $0.80 per Watt, or $160 for that 200W panel.
And if you want to buy some absolute junk you can currently buy bottom end, ultra cheap solar panels for $0.50 per Watt. But I wouldn’t recommend it. Unless you want to risk your roof turning into a giant barbecue.
Most solar panel factories have been losing money hand over fist for at least the last couple of years. Many of the largest companies have lost many hundreds of millions. This has led many observers to believe that solar panel manufacturers will have to start raising prices in order to survive. In fact there is evidence of this starting to happen with panel prices rising slightly in the first 2 months of 2013.
So is this the end of dirt cheap solar panels? [Read more...]
What solar buyers need to know: If you buy a solar system after the 16th November 2012, you have to have it installed before Jan 1 2013 to claim the current rebate. If your system is installed after that date your solar system will cost approximately $1,000 more regardless of what size you buy.
Well that was quick wasn’t it? Just when you thought the Federal Government’s collective speed on any given issue was only marginally faster than my first car (a VW Type 3: nought to 50 kms/hr in 30 minutes) … out comes a lightning-fast decision from the desk of Climate Change Minister Greg “Coalface” Combet. [Read more...]
The Australian solar energy sector received a huge morale boost this week with the release of the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics’ Australian Energy Technology Assessment (AETA) Report. Putting the report’s findings in a nutshell, which is always dangerous, it seems previous reports and energy assessments were, to put it bluntly, dead wrong and renewable sources of energy such as solar and onshore wind are set to have the “lowest levelised cost” of all the energy technologies in the country by around 2035. [Read more...]
A news item caught your correspondent’s eye last week. According to an ABC local news report of 4 July, the government is set to shell out half of the required funding for a project which will allow solar panels to be integrated into metal roofing. Due to one of Australia’s most polluting companies being on its knees due to the carbon tax (inserts <sarcasm></sarcasm> tags here) we, the taxpayer, are to contribute $2.3 million of this $5 million solar power project for Bluescope Steel. [Read more...]
It may be a little while before the dust settles on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to slap a massive 31 percent tariff on China’s top makers of solar panels (more for those about to enter the market) but already big questions are being asked. One of these is: who are the real winners and losers? [Read more...]
Debate continues to rage in the press over the last week as to whether or not Treasurer Wayne Swan’s much lauded Budget 2012 is good for the future of solar power in this country. The Treasurer’s delivery and demeanour gave no real hint of the speech being one that could be considered pro or anti renewables and solar pundits have split over what the Budget will mean for the Australian solar industry. [Read more...]