Confession: I Believed Solar PV Was Causing LV Network Over-Voltage Problems. I Was Wrong.

You’ve heard the one about how the growth of grid-connected solar power is causing voltage rise on low voltage (LV) networks?

I sure have. I’ve written plenty about the phenomenon, often with an eye to what networks are doing to try and counter the problem.

However, courtesy of an e-mail from Green Energy Markets’ Tristan Edis, I have learned to my surprise that the “blame solar power” narrative simply isn’t true. [Read more…]

AC? DC! Why SunCable Chose DC To Export Aussie Sun to Singapore

Sun Cable and HVDC

Millions of solar panels sending Australian solar energy to Singapore via a 3,800 km cable. Crazy or genius?

I first learned about how the electricity grid works in the early 1980s, which meant I was taught the conventional wisdom of the times: high-voltage AC (alternating current) transmission was ubiquitous because it was the most efficient way to send electricity the long distances needed by the electricity grid. [Read more…]

Build It And They Will Come: Transmission Key To 100% Renewable Energy

transmission lines

ANU’s Professor Andrew Blakers says we need to build out transmission lines urgently.

If you wanted to block the expansion of renewable energy, a good place to start is to put bureaucratic roadblocks in the way of new, long distance electricity transmission infrastructure.

Discussing his participation in last week’s 100% renewable energy workshop at ANU, the university’s Professor Andrew Blakers told SolarQuotes transmission is the biggest short-term problem facing renewables in Australia. [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…]

Bifacial Solar Panels May — Straight Up — Dominate Australian Solar Farms


Are vertical solar panels the best orientation for new Australian solar farms?

Last week I wrote about double glass bifacial panels that are able to use light coming from the front and behind, while on Christmas Eve I mentioned large scale solar farms are taking off in Australia.  Because it’s the season for togetherness, I thought maybe we could put these two things together and make a bifacial solar farm.

[Read more…]

Chernobyl Gives Solar Power 3 Thumbs Up!

Chernobyl with 3 thumbed hand

Ukraine plan to install a 1GW solar farm in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Illustration: Tsunami Hee Ja

Why shouldn’t you wear underpants made in the Soviet Union?

Because Cher-nob-yl fall out.

And if you think that terrible joke doesn’t apply to you because you are female just spend some time in Chernobyl and maybe you’ll grow something that can fall out of your Soviet underpants. [Read more…]

Solar thermal electricity could generate 12 percent of world’s energy by 2050 says report

CSIRO solar tower with mirror array.

These mirrors at CSIRO in Newcastle can focus the sun to create superheated steam. That is the same pressure and temperature of steam that a coal fired power plant creates. Amazing.

A major report released last week has predicted solar thermal electricity (STE) has the potential to power six percent of the world’s energy by 2030 and 12 percent by 2050. The scenario is based on the most positive outcome where global capacity of STE (aka concentrating solar power) reaches 1,600 GW by the middle of the century. [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…]

Solar energy in Texas rides into town

soalr cowboy

Yee-haw – the solar cowboys are comin’ to Texas!

Texas. Land of wide open spaces, cowboys, the Bush family, Tex-Mex food and barrels and barrels of oil. At least that’s the mental image I conjure up when I think of the state, mostly through memories of Dynasty ( the T.V show and the Republican presidents). Like all generalisations though, this is wildly inaccurate. Particularly the image of Texan energy. For there is a new power boom on the horizon as solar energy in Texas rides into town.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, companies such as First Solar, SunEdison and Recurrent Energy (a division of Canadian Solar) have staked their claims with a number of solar farms in the planning stage in and around famous oil fields in Texas. These will total around $US1 billion, according to State records. [Read more…]

China puts faith in large-scale concentrating solar power as world watches

solar tower

A solar tower – similar to one of the 6 to be built in the Gobi desert

China was in the renewable energy news again this week though this time it wasn’t about the latest in solar panel technology or trade disputes. For the big (read huge) story was Chinese regional media reporting the start of construction of the country’s first large-scale concentrating solar power (CSP) plant.

To be carved out of 2550 hectares of the Gobi desert, the plant will use two 135 MW solar thermal plants in its first phase, with enough thermal energy storage to power half a million (!) homes in Qinghai Province.  [Read more…]

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