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…]

Has AGL rung the death knell for Oz fossil fuels?

opening of the Nyngan solar farm

At the opening of the largest solar farm in Australia last week: Anthony Roberts MP -NSW Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, Mark Speakman SC MP – NSW Minister for Environment, Andy Vesey – AGL CEO, Lesley Ryan – Nyngan Local Aboriginal Land Council, Ian Kay – ARENA CFO, Jack Curtis – First Solar, Regional Manager APAC, Ray Donald – Bogan Shire Mayor.

Two major stories lead the debate over solar power in Australia this week, both throwing up intriguing developments for our renewable energy future. Both asking the question: are we seeing the last of the fossil fuel industry in our country? [Read more…]

Fossil fuel city flips to renewables

Texas has said “Hold ‘Em!” to the fossil fuel generators.

It’s not a surprise that the U.S. city of Georgetown has decided to go 100 percent renewable, after all solar has become an unstoppable force. What does raise eyebrows though is that Georgetown is in Texas, the state synonymous with gushing fossil fuel, the Bush family and well, more gushing fossil fuel.

Even more surprising perhaps is that the city has flipped the switch to renewables after admitting that solar and wind energy are a better financial option. [Read more…]

India’s renewable energy sector on cusp of greatness

indian flag and solar panels

India is embracing solar in a big way: 100 GW installed by 2022

As we in Australia struggle with a federal government attitude to renewables halfway between apathy and utter neglect, things continue apace on the sub continent. Indeed India’s renewable energy policy is now primed to make the country one of the world’s leaders in alternative energy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made the development of alternative energy — such as solar power — a priority since his election in mid 2014. In the latest phase of his government’s exciting policy development, the Indian government has announced the creation of a federation of 50 solar power-rich nations with India at the head of the grouping. [Read more…]

Coal vs Solar – Which is more space efficient?

solar and a coal fired power station

This is a guest post by Greg Bell – which was conceived in the comments section of another post on this blog.

Take it away Greg:

——-

Some things we can say we know for sure about photovoltaics – the fuel is free, it’s quiet, and there are no moving parts. But other benefits are more controversial. Recently a claim was made to me that solar PV is actually more area efficient – that is, it generates more energy per hectare – than coal.

Specifically, the claim was

“The 1,600 megawatt brown coal Hazelwood Power Station and associated mine in Victoria covers 3,554 hectares. In a sunny location in Australia 20% efficient solar panels covering that area would produce more kilowatt-hours than Hazelwood’s average output.”

Let’s see if that’s true. [Read more…]

Are millions of solar roofs making solar farms pointless?

solar roofs and a solar field

Are solar roofs making solar power stations uneconomic?

Utility scale solar, or solar farms, are fields of PV panels which generate electricity that is fed directly into the grid.  Currently we don’t have much of this in Australia.  Over 99% of our solar capacity is point of use which is mostly on rooftops and the juice it does produce is first used to power the household or business it is on top of and then after that the excess is generally fed into the grid. [Read more…]

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