What’s Turnbull and Hunt up to on renewable energy financing?

hunt and turnbull

Malcom & Greg rip millions from renewables research whilst claiming the opposite. Sigh.

The government’s re-shaping of renewable energy financing during the week has drawn quite a few responses in the media. Some applaud the allocation of $1 billion for renewables, however most of them have accused the PM and the Minister of the Environment Greg Hunt of duplicity and blatant vote-buying in an election year. [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…]

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

Image credit: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Cloak_of_Invisibility

Image credit: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Cloak_of_Invisibility

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…]

Plants and Meatballs inspire breakthrough in solar storage technology

meatballs and solar panels

What have meatballs and pasta got to do with solar storage? Read on to find out…

Recent breakthroughs have seen battery storage at the forefront of renewable technology news. Glitzy, much-heralded pressers in the past month or so have delivered announcements that have shaken the energy sector, giving us a hint that living free of fossil fuels may be commercially viable in the not-too-distant future.

However with less fanfare, scientists from UCLA have been working at their own version of solar storage technology, one based on ancient technology (and meatballs) which may have an even more far reaching effect than battery storage. [Read more…]

ARENA funds independent testing for battery storage

battery icons

Which battery is best for Aussie conditions? ARENA aim to tell you…

Just when you thought the news in battery storage was over following Tesla’s launch of the Powerwall, comes this little news gem.

Renewable energy consulting firm IT Power have been granted $450,000 from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) — remember them? — to conduct special independent tests to confirm the efficiency of eight different types of battery storage. [Read more…]

Solar will be the world’s most popular power source by 2050

big red hand pointing down

Down, down, solar panel prices are going down! 

When someone of the stature of Martin Green says the cost of solar PV technology will halve again by the next decade, you sit up and take notice. Even more so when he says solar will be the world’s most popular energy source by 2050.

For the University of New South Wales’ Prof. Martin Green is considered one of the world’s leading PV researchers. His department’s technological breakthroughs in silicon cell efficiency have not only given us the solar panels we know today but also put Australian PV research at the centre of world PV technology.

“The costs of solar will halve again by 2025 is my prediction,” he told a conference in Sydney on Wednesday. “We are at 60 cents per watt manufacturing now but we will get down to 30 cents per watt some time before 2025.”

[Read more…]

ARENA’s existence hangs by a thread

wind farm and solar panels and a thread being cut

Large scale renewables hanging by a thread thanks to Joe Hockey’s cuts.

Well we knew it was going to be a horror budget didn’t we readers? At least you couldn’t accuse the Abbott administration of not warning us. For weeks we had the drumbeat of fear. The chant that the so-called “age of entitlements” was at an end (except for certain vested interests it seems). The latest “Sloppy” Joe updates leaked to the Murdoch press and (of course) the draconian views of the Audit Commission. So we knew that the story for renewable energy Australia would be bad in the 2014 budget, the question was….how bad?

[Read more…]

ANU and Trina Solar Panels smash solar efficiency targets.

a solar cell

Trina and ANU are making kick-ass solar cells together!

With the start of the NRL (AFL just around the corner), the Spring cycling classics in Europe and as women’s and men’s football and others reach the pointy end of their respective seasons, its a case of too much teamwork is barely enough for your correspondent. However a more important form of teamwork was announced late last month. Chinese solar manufacturers Trina and our very own Australian National University (ANU) have combined to create a new, super conversion efficiency in solar cells. This has the potential to make Trina solar panels even more cost effective.

[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…]

Solar intermittency can be managed: CSIRO report

Sun and clouds

Do those pesky clouds mean we can’t use solar as base load power?

One of the chief criticisms fossil fuel narks level against solar power is its alleged inability to provide baseload power. This is defined as the minimum amount of energy needed over a 24 hour period to satisfy the utility’s customers. What about cloud cover? This is the critics’ plaintive cry and rallying point as they call for further subsidies for their beloved, earth-destroying coal and oil fuelled energy sources.

They have a point though, what of cloud cover (known as solar intermittency) reducing solar’s effectiveness? According to the aforementioned narks, solar power is unable to provide energy reliability due to this factor preventing the full exploitation of the sun’s energy potential and therefore cannot be considered a reliable form of energy. [Read more…]