Election 2016: renewables roundup week #7 – the Brexit Edition

brexit text on solar

Q. What does the Brexit mean for Australian Solar? A. Higher prices.

Well that was interesting wasn’t it folks? Just as the Australian election was drifting off into the sunset, we get hit by the arrival of an enormous, loud and dangerous elephant in the room. I’m talking of course of the surprise Brexit result where Brits voted to exit the European Union, a result that sent shock waves across the world.

Prime Minister Turnbull was quick to grace our screens (sans the hi-vis vest and hard hat this time) to assure us — in his most statesmanlike voice — that the vote would not affect Australia in any way. The fact that he looked like a kid hauled before the headmaster, with a trembling bottom lip and shaky “wasn’t me, wasn’t me” speech didn’t make him look that convincing though.

Next came Bouncing Billy Shorten, who will now see his chances of winning the election recede, also determined to tell us that his party’s policies are the best choice in these now choppy waters. [Read more…]

Enphase’s Cunning Plan: Make Micro Inverters Cheaper than String Inverters.

enphase costs: half price by 2017When it comes to Australian solar installations, conventional string inverters tower over the competition like a current converting colossus. But microinverters, which are tiny in both physical size and market share, are shaping up to beat string inverters on both price and reliability. Enphase, the world’s largest producer of microinverters, plans to beat conventional inverters on price within two years. If they meet their goal of cutting micro inverter costs in half, it will change the way Australians install solar power. [Read more…]

How The Cost Of Powerwall Storage Doubled In 11 Months

cost of powerwall

The cost of a storing each kWh in a Tesla Powerwall is much more than you might think.

 

[Update: on Oct 28 2016 Tesla announced the Powerwall 2 ]

[Update: In June 2016 Tesla updated the Powerwall warranty – details here]

11 months ago Elon Musk jumped on stage and announced the Powerwall.  The Tesla data sheets released after Musk’s presentation proclaimed we would soon be able to buy a 7kWh daily cycling Powerwall for US$3,000. It would be guaranteed for 10 years with an optional 10 year warranty extension available. Treehouse, one of the companies who Tesla announced would be first to sell it in the US declared that $3,000 was the retail price – not the wholesale price and we all went “Wow! Cheap batteries have finally arrived.”. [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…]

Is coal now more expensive than solar?

pile of coal

The declining cost of solar is making Aussie coal exports look increasingly expensive.

Not-so-strange bedfellows Greg “Smiley” Hunt and Big Clive emerged hand in hand after negotiating the “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” (sorry “Direct Action”) legislation earlier this week. Meanwhile a less publicised news article revealed the dirty truth behind the future, or otherwise, of fossil fuel exports to one of our major markets.

That truth is that it is now more expensive for India to import Aussie coal than produce their own solar power. [Read more…]

Why the Mining Industry Is Looking Sunny

As costs continue to reduce, many mining companies are using renewable energy sources such as solar power to extract and process copper, silver, and other raw materials. A group called “THEnergy” has even developed an online database tracking which mining companies are implementing solar power in their business. To read more on this, click here.

Solar Hot Water vs Solar Panels. Which should you buy?

Poor old Solar Hot Water.

The concept of heating water directly from the Aussie sun with a solar hot water system like this…

a solahart hot water heater

The humble solar hot water heater

…really seems to have gone from hero to zero over the past 3 years. [Read more…]

Talking perovskite: the new kid on the solar cell block

panel from russia

From Russia WIth Love: Perovskite could reduce solar costs by 75%

One of the many advantages of solar energy is its charge down the cost curve as new technologies outstrip old in performance and cost. This week at SQHQ we’re dusting off the crystal ball and looking into the future of solar power. Specifically we’ll be checking out perovskite; the “new kid on the block” (with all the rave reviews). Perovskite is considered to have the potential to replace silicon in solar cells. [Read more…]

Origin Energy’s propaganda war against renewables

origin not love renewables

The sorry state of origin’s stance on renewables…

Australian energy utility Origin Energy is under the SQHQ microscope this week readers. More specifically their claim that the carbon tax and subsidies for green schemes are the chief cause of the rise in the average electricity bill. Your correspondent received his bill from Origin on Thursday. While never a pleasant experience this was made worse by a clear message situated prominently on the lower right side of the document in big red letters.

NSW Govt estimates that the Federal carbon tax and green energy schemes add about $332 a year to a typical 6.5MWh household bill.

Sounds nasty readers but is it true?

[Read more…]

Think solar is expensive? Be glad you’re not American!

Our American friends may get dirt cheap Nike runners, Levis jeans and iTunes downloads compared to us Aussies, but at least we can get some comfort from the fact that our solar systems are a helluva lot cheaper than theirs!

This infographic from those nice people at US site lineshapespace.com does a great job of spruiking the benefits of solar power, but also gives an insight into just how cheap Aussie solar is.

A big part of the price discrepancy is that the permit system for solar power is a bureaucratic nightmare in America. If you buy a 3kW solar system in the US you could pay $12,000 for it, of which $3,000 is permit paperwork! Compare that to about $5,000 in Australia of which about $0 is permit paperwork. In most states in Oz your installer simply fills in a 2 minute form online and gets ‘permission to connect’ within a day or so.

Here;’s the lovely infographic in all its glory – just be aware that the prices only apply to the US! [Read more…]