BP Solar Stops Making Residential Solar Panels

By Rich Bowden:

bp solar

An old school BP Solar panel – now a collectors item? (Credit: Thomas Springer)

The news that BP Solar will close its global distribution for residential solar panels and related PV products in favour of large scale projects has raised eyebrows amongst solar analysts throughout the world.

The announcement came after the company had been in the business of marketing PV products for thirty years, making it one of the world’s acknowledged leaders in this field. A company spokesperson was reported by wire news agencies as saying late last week that “…we think we can have a much stronger business going forward focusing on developing projects,” as he added that the company is now looking to concentrate its interest in this field.

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What Odds a Clean Energy Future for Australia?

By Rich Bowden

Two points of interest for SolarQuotes readers raised by the federal government this week over the future of energy in this country, one by the embattled PM and the other by her Climate Change Minister (and some would say a possible successor) Greg Combet.

It was the PM who got the solar ball rolling this week when she visited a blustery Gunning, ACT wind farm (minus the ubiquitous hard hat for once) to open the venture, an enterprise financially backed by Spanish sustainable energy company ACCIONA. [Read more…]

Big Solar in Box Seat After Carbon Tax Announcement

This week’s big ticket news item for the solar industry and its consumers was the fillip given to the sector by the federal government’s long-awaited carbon tax announcement.

While there is some debate over whether or not the carbon price announced last weekend will go far enough to achieve its primary purpose (i.e. significantly decrease the level of carbon emissions in Australia) there appears to be little doubt that the renewable energy incentives attached to the legislation will go a long way towards rejuvenating the renewables sector, particularly solar energy.

“Solar on steroids” was how John Grimes, chief executive of the AustralianSolarEnergySociety (AuSES) described the Clean Energy Future announcement, adding that the solar industry was the real winner to emerge from the package. He focused on the earmarking of $10 billion, half of which will be made available for the renewable sector from a new investment bank, hailing it as a major step forward. [Read more…]

Australian Researchers Break World Record for Solar Panel Efficiency

By Rich Bowden

Now this is the sort of news your SolarQuotes.com.au correspondent likes to deliver. After weeks of wading through government reversals on solar feed-in tariffs, reporting on the various sniping at the edges of the solar industry and talking about savage cuts from state and federal governments affecting the Australian renewables sector, here comes a really positive development.

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Uncertainty for SA Solar Industry as Parliament Rejects Feed-in Tariff Increase

By Rich Bowden

South Australian investors in rooftop solar energy have been left shaking their heads after events in the state capital this week saw the solar feed-in tariff retained at 44c instead of the promised increase to 54c.

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What to Really Expect at the Second NSW Solar Summit

By Rich Bowden

This week’s announcement by NSW Energy Minister Chris Hartcher that the Second NSW Solar Summit, to be held in Newcastle on July 1, will provide a “…key pathway to managing the development of the renewable energy industry in a consistent and sustainable manner,” brought a smile to my face.

Solar Muppet
For wasn’t it the same Honourable Member who, as part of his newly-elected government’s “slash and burn” approach to the solar industry, unilaterally declared he would decrease the solar bonus feed-in tariff retrospectively from 60c per kilowatt hour to 40c? Opposition from solar customers, the solar industry, the public and even from the NSW Government’s own backbench ultimately forced a stubborn Mr Hartcher to reinstate the original offer, negotiated under the previous Labor Government.

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Push to Make Electricity Retailers Pay as NSW Coalition Continue Solar Spin Cycle

The issue of solar energy, and more importantly the backflip on the Solar Bonus Scheme continues to dominate debate in the NSW Parliament “bearpit”. Heroic efforts by the Coalition to contain fallout are matched only by attempts by certain Liberals to accept credit for the turnaround.

Meanwhile injecting a new angle into the sorry NSW solar debate, NSW Greens MP Dr John Kaye has led his party’s endorsement of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s (IPART) recommendation that NSW electricity retailers pay the full cost of the solar power they receive. [Read more…]

NSW Pollies Back Down On Daft Retrospective Solar Feed In Tariff Legislation

By Rich Bowden

The NSW Government’s decision to reinstate the solar fund feed-in tariff to 60c per kilowatt hour has come in reaction to bitter criticism, not just from solar investors and the solar industry but all sides of politics. Opponents of the decision to reduce the compensation to 40c have emerged, not just in the wider community of NSW, but also within the ranks of the NSW Liberal party.

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How Economically Viable is Solar Energy?

By Rich Bowden

A recent report by the University of Melbourne’s EnergyResearchInstitute has found that, not only is solar energy a viable form of energy, but that costs will compare favourably with traditional fossil fuel technology in the very near future.

The report, the Renewable Energy Technology Cost Review May 2011, was commissioned by  government climate advisor Ross Garnaut and included the current and expected future costs of three forms of renewable energy; wind, solar and thermal. [Read more…]

NSW Govt Opts for ‘Hardship’ Package for Out-of-Pocket Solar Customers

By Rich Bowden

The NSW Government has refused to back down over its controversial decision to reduce the bonus feed-in tariff offered to households for solar power returned to the grid from 60 cents per kilowatt hour to 40 cents.

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