Hollande’s merger initiative (outside the presidential bedroom)

french actress and solar panels

Oooh La La! What has a French actress got to do with solar panel manufacturing? Read on…

Here at the SQHQ we try to cover solar policy as often as we can in these pages. Let’s face it there’s nothing more enjoyable than covering the sorry policy efforts offered by the chair polishers in state and federal seats of power. With some exceptions (heads up ACT), policy that takes into account the advantages of solar energy in Australia might as well be made by a bunch of backward-looking, chest-thumping, narky neo trogs …. (or am I being too harsh here?). [Read more...]

The gutting of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation: is Howard a ray of hope?

John Howard and a ray of light

Is John Howard a CEFC fan?

Just when you thought the gathering of the dark clouds of the new government’s blitzkrieg against renewable energy initiatives was complete, a tiny ray of sunshine bursts through the gathering gloom. Or has it? I speak this week of the uncertainty over the dumping of the showcase Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

The ray of sunshine, if it is such, comes in the unlikely form of Arthur “Svengali” Sinodinos, who many will remember as being one of the inner cabal that served John “carbon tax” Howard, noted PM and Australia’s worst off spinner.

[Read more...]

Why the government’s direct action sideshow is a joke

An infographic showing why the government's direct action sideshow is a joke.

“Direct Action” is nothing more than a sideshow. Do you agree?

[Read more...]

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How to unlock a great solar payback (even with crappy rebates).

solar panels and a key

The key to good solar payback is system sizing.

Occasionally I venture out of my straw-bale, solar passive eco-cave and meet real people, in person instead of over the interwebs. When they inevitably ask me the standard icebreaker “what do you do?” and hear that I’m in “solar power”, the usual response is: “Oh – that must be a tough industry, now that the rebates / buy back rates have all ended?”.

The reality seems to be that most people who don’t work in the solar industry seem to use the words “rebate” and “feed in tariff” interchangeably. And who can blame them? Both are essentially government cash handouts.

Of course the truth is that the Solar Rebate“, is actually still available through the Federal government. The government frowns upon anyone who calls it a rebate, preferring the term “Financial Incentive”. But all that really matters is that you can get about $700 off the upfront cost of every kW of solar you buy. For a typical 3kW, that’s a $2100 subsidy. [Read more...]

Any positives for solar power under the new Coalition government?

How will solar fare under Abbott and the Coalition?

How will solar fare under Abbott and the Coalition?

Here at SQHQ — as with all of those supporting alternative energy — we’re surveying the damage after the Coalition’s expected yet stunning landslide win on Saturday night. Both the Liberals and Nationals took a slash and burn approach to solar power in Australia and the whole renewable energy sector during the campaign. This approach included policy announcements such as the gutting of ARENA and the end of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and “Sloppy” Joe and his finance mates have given no inkling of changing their minds on this all important issue. See last week’s article for more details. [Read more...]

Solar Farms: Re-election chance sees government invest in ‘very, very large’ projects

solar farming

Clearing the land for a solar farm!

Never underestimate the power of an election to get our pollies moving on environmental issues folks. Thanks to opinion polls showing the Ruddslide bringing both major parties neck-and-neck in the latest “Most Important Election Since the War” even solar farm policy is on the move. Or so it seems. [Read more...]

Pacific Energy Summit hears calls for better funding for renewable projects

pacific energy summit logo

Will this summit result in more 100% solar powered pacific nations?

It may have received scant attention in the Australian mainstream, whose attention may have been distracted by aborted leadership coups, football kickoffs et al, but a very important energy summit (including the latest in Pacific solar energy projects) took place in Auckland, New Zealand last week.

Eighteen Pacific nations attended the summit which was hosted by the New Zealand Government with co-sponsors the World Bank, The Asian Development Bank and AusAID. The Pacific Energy Summit explored a range of options for Pacific nations to achieve their energy targets and, perhaps most importantly, how to raise funding for such programs. [Read more...]

Interview with Paul O’Reilly of the Rainbow Power Company

Rainbow Power Company Logo

Rainbow Power Company - one of Australia's oldest solar companies

In this, the first in what we hope will be a number of interviews with solar opinion leaders, business people and experts in the solar industry we chat with Paul O’Reilly, director of the Nimbin-based Rainbow Power Company. Sit back and enjoy as Paul talks feed-in tariffs, the almost constant boom and bust cycles in the Australian solar industry and his optimism for the future.

The solar industry must have changed a lot since Rainbow Power Company first set up? Do you think this has been for better or worse?

[Read more...]

Solar Panel Scheme : terminated and to cost taxpayers $440 million

Since 2000, the the Solar Homes and Communities Plan started out as the Photovoltaic Rebate Program offering $4,000. The program was changed in 2007 and was receiving by then an average 153 applications per week.

As part of the Rudd Government’s election commitments, the program was allocated $150 million to provide increased rebates of up to $8,000 to 15,000 homes over five years.

The number of applications for the rebate grew from 420 per week in May 2008 to approximately 6,043 per week in May 2009. [Read more...]

Queensland Government Announces Massive Solar Program

Anna Bligh, the Premier of Queensland has announced plans to provide two hundred thousand Queensland residents with solar powered, economical and ecological, hot water systems. Bligh states the government has begun its election commitment, and is encouraging householders to take advantage of the new program. A government hotline has already been set up, so anyone interested can register quickly, and easily. [Read more...]