About Richard Chirgwin

Richard Chirgwin is a journalist with more than 30 years' experience covering a wide range of technology topics, including electronics, telecommunications, computing and science.

Sungrow Crabby With Researcher Over Inverter Security Vulnerability Disclosure

A Brisbane researcher has alleged serious security vulnerabilities in a Sungrow inverter. Sungrow are not happy with him.

A few months after I wrote about security in the home renewables space, a Brisbane engineer bought a Sungrow SH5k-20 inverter, decided to “poke around”, and claims to have turned up a crop of serious security vulnerabilities. [Read more…]

Analyst Says Australian Lithium Needs To Get Greener

Australian lithium mining and carbon intensity

Australia has lots of lithium. Unfortunately due to the nature of the deposits, it takes a lot of energy to process into a form suitable for batteries. Luckily there are solutions to this problem.

I feel undeservedly lucky, that in the worst bushfire summer imaginable, fires came no closer than about 5 km from the little patch of bush I inhabit. [Read more…]

When SMA Inverters Won’t Talk To Tigo TS4 Optimisers: Tales From The Front Line

SMA inverter and Tigo optimisers

How do you get an SMA inverter to talk to Tigo Optimisers? Sometimes with great difficulty it seems.

Update: see SMA response at end of story. It’s time to chase up another customer experience, courtesy of Sharon, who contacted us because her SMA-Tigo installation turned into a saga. [Read more…]

A Tale Of Exploding Isolators: Alliance Solar, Can You Hear Us?

risk of explosion sign

De-energising a solar system can be dangerous if done incorrectly.

Alliance Solar doesn’t seem to have a media manager, and that’s a problem, because we reckon a bit of crisis communications will be in order. SolarQuotes emailed the company at its only public address, the ubiquitous [email protected] format, because its website doesn’t mention a media contact.

Why? Because a solar power system owner has posted tales of exploding kit in their reviews of Alliance Solar. [Read more…]

Renewable Energy Surge Could Power A New Industrial Australia

500% renewables for Australia

In spite of the best efforts of our government, Australia is going to overshoot 100% renewables.

That’s the conclusion of big names in renewables like Oliver Yates (inaugural CEO of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and former independent candidate for the federal seat of Kooyong), who yesterday told a Smart Energy Council online seminar we should “re-industrialise” Australia to make the best use of excess renewable energy. [Read more…]

Tony Seba: Rise Of Autonomous EVs Is About To Change Everything

Tony Seba on autonomous EV impact

Tony Seba predicts the cost of Transport as a Service (TaaS) vs. Individually owned (IO) cars.

With just one new technology, according to author and Silicon Valley investor Tony Seba, the world will undergo a disruption that will completely remake our cities, transportation – and thankfully, the world’s emission profile. [Read more…]

Zenaji Batteries: Will People Pay More For A 20-Year Warranty?

Zenaji aeon battery

The black tubes are the Zenaji Aeon battery. They offer a 20 year replacement warranty and cost $1,500 per kWh. Image: Zenaji

Australian battery vendor Zenaji is getting ready for what it hopes will be a ramp-up for lithium titanate batteries, which it says in home and grid storage applications offer better lifetime, safety, and value for money than the more popular and familiar lithium-ion chemistries. [Read more…]

Rocky Mountain Institute: “Game Over” For Gas Closer Than You Think

Gas based electricity generation - game over?

Does the rapid pace of battery technology mean game over for gas will be sooner than expected?

Governments’ flailing support for fossil fuels was handed another card marked “are you nuts?” last week, with the Rocky Mountain Institute releasing a report saying renewables plus batteries are already cheaper than new gas plants, and will be cheaper than existing gas plants in the mid-2020s. [Read more…]

Can Elon Musk Make It Third Time Lucky For Solar Tiles?

Tesla Solarglass roof - solar tiles

This was our cartoon from way back in 2016 when Tesla originally launched their solar roof tiles. Three years later it may actually be ready, rebranded as the “Tesla Solarglass Roof”.

Persistence has paid off for Tesla, which surprised finance markets with a US$143 million GAAP profit for Q3 2019, on the back of its long-promised and finally-delivered production ramp-up. [Read more…]

A Look At The Irish Hints To How AEMO Might Manage Australia’s Renewables Transition

Transitioning Australia to more wind and solar energy - AEMO

Worried that Australia’s grid will collapse with too many renewables? Ireland has shown – as long as we have a carefully ‘staged transition’ – the risks are manageable.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is trying to understand what might be what it calls the “upper limits” of wind and solar energy deployment into the Australian grid. In a report published this week, it has presented the first stage of its Renewable Integration Study. [Read more…]