WA Solar Power: a template for the future of energy in Australia

WA leads the way for solar power adoption

WA leads the way for solar power adoption

A recent study underlining the popularity of rooftop solar in WA has given Australians a glimpse into the country’s solar-driven energy future. For a survey conducted by Curtin University that has everyone talking is the one that shows power generated from rooftop solar systems in the state’s South-West Interconnected System (SWIS) produce as much energy as the state’s largest power station.

“We are in the extraordinary position of saying that Perth [SWIS] now has rooftop solar as the largest supplier of electricity, it’s the biggest power station in WA,” said Curtin University sustainability professor Peter Newman to the ABC AM program.

He added that the area currently has 20 percent coverage of solar panels, though this was just the beginning. [Read more…]

New Year kicks off more solar cell efficiency gains

30% badge on a solar panel

30% solar cell efficiency is on the way. That would mean a 50% reduction in the cost of solar. Hooray!

Will 2016 see the beginning of the end for fossil fuels in the wake of the rise and rise of green energy? Many commentators are saying this is the case and if solar cell efficiency gains are any indication, they have a good case. [Read more…]

Trina Solar Panels deliver (yet another) efficiency record

trina solar logo and panels

Trina Solar Panel Efficiencies Keep On Rising,

Trina Solar panels look set for a big 2016 with news that the company has achieved yet another solar cell efficiency record.

Fresh from trouncing its previous record for efficiency for a p-type polycrystalline silicon solar cell, Trina Solar announced last week they had achieved an efficiency of 22.13 percent for a 156 x 156mm² solar cell for a mono-crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cell. This beats the company’s previous record of 21.40 percent, set in November 2014. [Read more…]

New Sunpower solar panels to go from ‘crazy expensive’ to ‘expensive’.

new sunpower solar panel

Sunpower are releasing new, cheaper solar panels in 2016. Hooray!

When SunPower talks, the solar market listens. This was the case this week as one of the globe’s leading PV manufacturers released their new line of SunPower solar panels. The company also gave financial forecasts for 2016, when it expects to “achieve revenue of $3.3 billion to $3.5 billion and gigawatts deployed in the range of 1.7 GW to 2.0 GW”. [Read more…]

New Trina solar cell efficiency record smashes previous mark

solar panels on a roof and trina solar logo

Trina solar are still kicking goals in solar cell efficiency.

One year after setting the world record, the world’s largest Tier 1 solar panel manufacturer Trina has done it again. The new benchmark for Trina solar cell efficiency for a p-type polycrystalline silicon solar cell has skyrocketed from 20.76 percent to 21.25 percent. [Read more…]

The High Cost Of Cheap Solar Systems

warning tape

Caution – extremely cheap solar has a high cost

The best deal is very rarely the cheapest deal. This is something we all understand intuitively.

So why do we get so easily get seduced by unbelievably cheap solar deals that appear so totally believable?

Let me be totally up front with you. I did not set up SolarQuotes as a tool for people to find the absolute cheapest solar systems on the market. [Read more…]

If you want a 5kW solar system in QLD – consider getting it before Sept 30 2015!

map of qld

Rules for installing solar in QLD change after 30 September

 

The Queensland electricity networks (hello Ergon and Energex!) are a fussy bunch. At the time of writing (August 2015) if you want to install a standard grid connect solar system bigger than 5kW, you need to jump through all sorts of technical hoops. And then the networks may also insist that you install a box of electronics that stops any of your excess energy being exported. That’s right you have to waste any excess clean energy instead of letting your neighbours use it! [Read more…]

Solar Systems in ACT to increase by $400 from 1 July 2015

a meter and $400

$400 extra from July 1. Ouch.

ACTEW AGL have just announced that they are increasing the cost of installing a solar compatible, import export meter from July 1 2015.

Basically – if your application to connect is received after 30 June, instead of paying $66, you will be charged $500 for a new meter.

So if you live in ACT and have decided to go solar, it makes sense to sign up as soon as possible. You can get quick quotes from up to 3 ACT installers here.

ActewAGL General Manager Asset Management Stephen Devlin said:

“Charges for meter installation will be increasing. This change has occurred because of new National Electricity Rules that have been introduced that restructure the provision of metering in the industry.

 

As part of the Australian Energy Regulator’s final decision released on 30 April 2015, ActewAGL Distribution is required to move to full cost recovery for metering services from 1 July 2015.

 

Therefore, from 1 July 2015 ActewAGL customers will be required to pay the full up-front cost for new meters, including installation. Applications for any connection received before 30 June 2015 will be treated under the old pricing regime, where customers only pay for installation.

 

For solar customers, the cost of a new meter and installation would change from about $66 to $500.”

Solar meter charges will also be increasing by around $200 in NSW if you are on the Ausgrid network from July 1 thanks to the AER’s decision.

Will solar leasing in Australia offer certainty for homeowners?

solar panels and australian cash

Will your solar purchase be Cheque, Savings or Credit?

Do the benefits of solar leasing in Australia outweigh the traps for young players?

It’s a given that Australians, perhaps more than any other nationality, prefer ownership over leasing or renting. Etched into our history of suspicion of authorities and banks, this is expressed most clearly in “The Great Australian Dream” — to completely own one’s own home or block of land.

This preference to be one’s own master is also true of domestic solar arrays. The preference for homeowners has been to buy their solar panels outright. However this may not be possible for all and new solar leasing models which have become popular overseas are now being introduced into the Australian market. Supporters of the model claim it provides access to solar energy where none was previously available. [Read more…]

Uncertainty grows as solar panel anti dumping report delayed again

solar panels and a no dumping sign

Will the next Great Big Tax, be on cheap Chinese solar panels?

The long-delayed anti-dumping investigation into Chinese solar panels is having the desired effect of disrupting the solar industry in Australia, whatever the outcome.

Desired that is by the fossil fuel giants and their fans in federal politics.

One sure way to kill a fledgling industry is to manufacture uncertainty. Such has been the case with government support in the solar power industry. The on again, off again support mechanisms and half-hearted policies in general seem designed to keep the solar sector in a semi-permanent state of uncertainty. This has the effect of killing off investments because of the inability to guarantee investors a future “level playing field”.

Of course this is a lucrative strategy if you happen to have a heavy investment in fossil fuels. [Read more…]