Solar For Renters? Landlords & Tenants Share The Benefits with ‘Matter’

rental property without solar

Have you ever noticed that rental properties almost never have solar?

Australia has the lowest cost rooftop solar in the world, plenty of sunshine, and because we are heading towards having the most expensive pre-tax grid electricity in the world, solar is a must have for almost anyone who owns a roof.

But over the past 11 years Australian home ownership has fallen from 70% to around 66% and since it costs over a million bucks to buy a butterbox in Sydney, this figure isn’t likely to improve any time soon.  This means one-third of the Australian population is locked out of owning rooftop solar. [Read more…]

Tesla Solar Roofs Are Very Expensive And Their Warranty Is Far From Infinite

elon musk is buzz lightyear

Infinity Warranty? As Chuck D once said. Don’t believe the (Tesla) hype.

In October last year Tesla announced they were making tiles with built-in solar cells that would allow a roof to generate electricity without the need for solar panels.  Installations of these solar roofs will start in the United States in June and you can go to Tesla’s Australian site and slap down a $1,310 deposit to reserve one.  Tesla says they will be available here in 2018 and, given their record of meeting their own self-imposed deadlines, they should definitely arrive before the heat death of the universe.  Just so long as they don’t get cancelled like the DC Powerwall 2. [Read more…]

Is Tesla’s Solar Roof Fair Dinkum?

elon musk on tv

Tesla’s solar roof tile announcement raises more questions than it answers.

On Saturday the 29th of October, Elon Musk made an announcement that thousands of Australians were waiting to hear.

He spent 37 seconds making that announcement.

Then he spent most of the rest of the time spruiking Tesla’s new solar tiles. [Read more…]

Why NASA Chose Solar Power Over Nuclear For The Juno Space Probe

juno solar panel

One of Juno’s 3 solar panels. This section will produce about 5kW in earth orbit, and 185W in Jupiter Orbit. Image: NASA/JPL

Juno, the first solar powered space probe to be sent to Jupiter, entered orbit around the gas giant planet yesterday. Its mission is to probe Jupiter in ways it has never been probed before to discover clues about its formation, internal structure, water content, and weather. Part of its mission is the investigate the Great Red Spot.  However, because it is currently only around half the size it was 100 years ago, it is now really just an Okay Red Spot. [Read more…]

Adelaide University Solar Racer Taken For A Spin

Today the Solar Racing Team of the University of Adelaide gave Finn and I the opportunity to take Lumen, their solar racer, for a spin. And I was there to take Finn’s picture as he nailed it and completely managed not to hit or destroy anything at all. Well done, Finn!

Finn Peakcock sitting in the cockpit of the Adelaide University's Solar Racing Team's Car, Lumen, about to take it for a drive.

Finn, about to take the University of Adelaide’s Solar Racing Team’s vehicle for a spin.

[Read more…]

Perovskite solar cells in commercial production just around the corner says report

Perovskite

An unassuming lump of perovskite. “The fastest improving solar cell technology there has ever been.”

We’ve previously covered the novelty of perovskites as a potential game changer for solar cell cost and efficiency, and also asked why, with such a name, they haven’t as yet debuted in the latest James Bond blockbuster. But perovskite solar cells in commercial production as the “Next Big Thing” in solar cell technology? Surely that’s a long, long way off? [Read more…]

All-weather graphene solar panels will generate energy from rain

solar array in the rainThe performance of solar cells is often determined by the range of weather conditions. However a breakthrough by Chinese scientists has brought closer the practicality of solar cells being able to generate energy during… wait for it… both sunny and rainy days. [Read more…]

New “dipping technique” improves the humidity performance of perovskite solar cells

perovskite structure

Another breakthrough on the road to cheap, efficient perovskite solar cells

A combined Australian and Chinese team has developed a water-resistant perovskite solar cell using a specially-designed dipping technique. The new technology will dramatically boost the humidity tolerance of the cells, the lack of which was previously considered a stumbling block to commercialisation. [Read more…]

Up and away: high altitude solar balloons ready for take off

solar ballons

A solar ballon concept. Picture: E. Jullien/pixscience

High altitude solar balloons deployed where clouds won’t interfere with their output may be the stuff of science fiction. But are they? At least one reputable research house thinks this is where solar panels should be, saving space used for solar farms for much needed agricultural land. All while more than doubling solar conversion efficiency. [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…]