Government support for solar energy continues7th Mar 2013
It's a day for good news in the solar energy world, with the Australian government announcing its investment in developing more competitive and cost effective solar photovoltaic panels.
The federal government is partnering with Melbourne's Semitech Semiconductors and granting $1.86 million to develop a single-chip micro-inverter for solar panels.
This technology will transform solar panel systems into integrated circuits that will be able to perform smart grid communication.
Use of this micro-inverter in a solar panel system will increase the generated power by up to ten per cent.
As we posted earlier this week, Australia has been experiencing a solar boom with 1.5 million households having rooftop solar panels, providing 2.2 gW of peak capacity.
With increased efficiency and a lower cost, solar panels would likely become an even more attractive option.
The grant to Semitech Semiconductors is part of the government's Clean Technology Innovation Program to boost the development and usage of clean technologies, which is funded by returns from the carbon pricing tax.
"The global clean energy market is growing rapidly and it is important that Australian innovations are commercialised so we can export our expertise to major markets including China and the United States," said Greg Combet, minister for climate change and energy efficiency.
However with a federal election upcoming in September and the opposition leading in the polls, the future of the carbon tax is uncertain.
Tony Abbott has said to Nine's Today television show on March 4 that he will cut the carbon tax if his party is in power, creating uncertainty about its future, as well as the future of other renewable energy schemes.
However, cutting the carbon tax may be met with some resistance, as a report titled Taxing Energy Use from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) states its support for Australia's carbon pricing mechanism, saying it has been particularly effective and is a model for other countries.
Posted by Mike Peacock