Paris climate talks: out of weasel words comes light at the end of the tunnel

paris climate talksWhat do you think about the hoopla surrounding the signing of the Paris Climate Talks agreement readers? Happy? Deflated? A sense of the same old, same old? Or a new beginning for the planet? [Read more…]

Goldman Sachs report recommends investors back renewables

Those crusty greenies at Goldman Sachs are bullish about renewables and efficiency.

Those leftie greenies at Goldman Sachs are bullish about renewables and efficiency.

Goldman Sachs divides opinion. There are those who say the financial behemoth may have engineered — and certainly profited from — the 2008/2009 Global Financial Crisis. However backers insist that the investment giant is an example of good old fashioned American “get up and go” and what’s a few billion between friends/taxpayers anyway.

But this week saw another side of the company. One where it encouraged investors to invest in renewables for the sake of the low carbon future and for the health of their bottom line. [Read more…]

Do solar panels increase house value? 85 percent of Aussies think so


for sale sign and solar panels

A recent study shows that solar really does increase the value of your home.

Australians overwhelmingly believe solar panels increase house value, according to joint research carried out earlier this year by Origin Energy and and their optimism is backed by a number of surveys.

The Origin/RealEstate research found that 85 percent of respondents believe that having solar panels adds value to the home. Having a PV system rated the highest, leading energy efficient appliances, solar hot water and water tanks.

“This research demonstrates that solar panels could provide a real boost for homeowners if they decide to sell,” said Phil Craig, Executive General Manager of Corporate Affairs at Origin Energy. “Origin want to encourage Australians to start recognising their empty roof space could be an asset,” he added.

REA Group Chief Product Officer Henry Ruiz described having solar panels as “… a valuable investment” for homeowners.

[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 Solar 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 changing face of Australian solar as confidence returns

changes ahead sign

The large scale solar industry is really starting to pick up – now Abbott’s gone.

There’s a new spring in the step of investors in big solar as confidence that has been lacking during the Abbott years has been boosted following the Turnbull takeover.

The level of enthusiasm for solar power in Australia — and large-scale projects in particular — has been remarkable. The removal of the anti-renewables team of Abbott and Hockey (let’s call it like it is) hasn’t completely dissipated attempts to dismantle renewable energy in Australia. Witness the indecent rush to approve the Adani mine in Queensland as an indicator of the strength of the fossil fuel lobby.

However the removal of the Abbott administration and replacement with the more urbane, measured and supportive approach of the Turnbull team is paying dividends with the big end of town. [Read more…]

How solar energy is revolutionising microfarming

a solar powered micro farm

A solar powered 2 hectare farm that arrives in a shipping container. Pic: Farm-out-of-a-box

The advantages of solar energy in rural communities is well documented. Particularly those who are located in more remote parts of the land and countries where access to the grid is difficult, if not impossible.

For isolated communities in developing countries face enormous problems, both financial and logistical, to access centralised energy. To remedy this, aid organisations now supply people with solar panels for energy, lighting and heating. However this week saw news of a partnership between solar inverter leader SMA and practical aid group Farm from a Box that promises to take solar energy and micro-farming to a new level. [Read more…]

Pane relief on its way with transparent solar cell technology

stacked uPVC windows

Is this what solar panel warehouses will look like in the future?

Completely transparent windows that generate solar power have been a goal for researchers for many decades. Previous attempts at transparent solar cell technology have achieved only partial success with the windows left with a decided tinted effect and the resulting office/room space.

This is not the ideal working conditions for offices, unless of course you work in a discotheque!

However now a team of researchers at Michigan State University have resolved that problem by unveiling their unique transparent solar cell technology, which creates energy from the sun when placed over a window or glass surface. [Read more…]

Harry Potter-style invisibility cloaks to improve solar cell efficiency?

Image credit:

Image credit:

In a development that will bring a smile to the faces of Harry Potter fans, researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) announced this week the success of using invisibility cloaks to improve solar cell efficiency.

While the technology sounds very J. K. Rowling, the benefits of invisibility cloaks for solar cell efficiency — or at least technology that acts very much like invisibility cloaks — are very real. [Read more…]

Have we turned the corner on clean energy policy?

windmill on a cornerTrying to determine the present government’s stance on renewables is confusing to say the least. Has the Turnbull/Bishop palace coup brought on a complete rethink of clean energy policy? Have we seen the end of the relentless “war on renewables” of the Abbott era? Or is it more of the same?

It’s too early to say for sure of course but there are definite signs that a gradual evolution (rather than revolution) of government clean energy policy is underway. If so, this can only be a good thing for confidence in the renewables sector and Australia in general. [Read more…]