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Newcastle leading the way with solar technology

31st Jan 2012

Renewable energy - including solar - is an important part of building a clean energy future, especially in Australia, where we have no shortage of sunshine.

And now, solar energy systems are set to get even more efficient thanks to a new study in Newcastle that is helping to evaluate solar panels over the long-term.

The Newcastle Herald reports that a new project spearheaded by researchers at Mayfield's CSIRO energy centre will evaluate the efficiency of solar panels over the course of their entire lifespan, which can average between 20 and 30 years.

Newcastle, explained Australian Solar Institute investment director Olivia Coldrey to the publication, is a hotbed of renewable energy research.

She said: "There's a real hub forming between the energy centre at Mayfield and the University of Newcastle. We are really pleased to be supporting that.’’

The new project is funded by the institute and will receive a total of $2.6 million as part of the US-Australia Solar Energy Collaboration.

Researchers in Newcastle will design the new system to measure the efficiency of solar cells - and in the spirit of international co-operation, they will then send their prototypes to Germany or the United States, where they will be tested further.

The new year is a great opportunity to think about the changes you would like to make in the next 12 months - and with the government's recently-announced carbon tax at the front of many people's minds, it might be a good time to start thinking about your impact on the environment.

If you are keen to go green in 2012, reducing your carbon footprint might be one great way to get started.

By taking simple steps to improve your household's energy efficiency, you may not only be able to save money on electricity bills over the long term, but also significantly cut down on your carbon emissions at the same time.

The government's Living Greener program recommends that anyone considering a solar panel installation should speak to an accredited installer, who can advise on costs - as well as potential funding options, such as feed-in tariffs.

An installer can also give you information on whether or not you require roof reinforcement and explain which systems are likely to work best on your property based on your current electricity bill and the size of your home.

Posted by Mike Peacock - Solar Correspondent

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