Top News

Long read: Sweet sweep, module cleaning tech matures

The amount and nature of desert dust determines whether daily cleaning of solar modules is a favorable option. However, frequent and water-intensive cleaning, as well as the amount of labor required, can be costly in desert installations. But the ingenuity of automation is on its way to help.
Energy Storage

Shell moves to acquire German storage business Sonnen

In May, oil giant Shell invested in German manufacturer Sonnen. Now the 112-year-old company wants to fully acquire the business, subject to Germany’s monopoly authorities. Sonnen said it hopes the deal will accelerate its growth by expanding its marke...
Technology

AEMC to fast track approval of SA-NSW interconnector

After it garnered broad support in political and industry circles, the proposed SA-NSW interconnector is in line for a speedier approval than expected, with the AEMC looking to fast-track the regulatory approval process.
Energy Storage

Genex Power starts works on 250 MW pumped hydro project

With financial close still in the works, Sydney-based publicly listed Genex Power has moved on the Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project, part of its landmark renewable energy hub in far-north Queensland, signing an early works agreement with EPC contract...
Highlights

Interview: How solar, storage and wholesale pricing can deliver a win for households

Wholesale electricity prices on the NEM can peak during heatwaves and when aging coal generators conk out. Amber Electric customers can both profit from but also bear the brunt of price spikes, but when they have solar+storage the upside is significant. ...
Energy Storage

World’s first solar-powered passenger car on roads next year

A Dutch start-up has designed an electric vehicle that runs solely on solar energy, and aims to deliver its first models next year. The car will also be available to lease.
Energy Storage

ShineHub selects Hanwha Q Cells for its lease-to-own model in SA

Solar 'lease-to-own' installer ShineHub has chosen Hanwha Q Cells as preferred solar panel provider for its Community Solar Program under the South Australian battery scheme.
Markets & Policy

Neometals commissions li-ion battery recycling pilot plant

Australian lithium developer Neometals has taken its lithium‐ion battery recycling technology to the floor at a pilot plant in Canada. SGS Canada has been contracted to construct and operate the pilot at its Lakefield facility, and handle both the fron...

Press Releases

Memorandum of Understanding between the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the AEMC

The Australian Energy Market Commission and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalise cooperation on the broad program of work currently underway to facilitate innovation in Australia’s energy markets.

Origin acquires OC Energy to grow centralised energy services business

Origin has entered into an agreement to acquire OC Energy, expanding its centralised energy services business.

Energy Council welcomes government decision on divestment bill

The Australian Energy Council welcomes the Government’s decision not to progress its big stick legislation through the current Parliament.

Vestas partners with local manufacturing service provider for Wind Turbine Assembly Facility in Geelong

Global sustainable energy solutions provider Vestas today entered a partnership with Geelong-based manufacturing company, Marand Precision Engineering (Marand), for its new wind turbine manufacturing facility in Geelong. The partnership will allow Vestas to bring its world-class wind turbine assembly and testing capabilities to Victoria, thereby supporting and expanding the Victorian renewable energy sector.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

IEEFA update: Even as forecasts signal decline in global thermal coal markets, Australia courts new mines

IEEFA supports new bill prohibiting the opening up of thermal coal mining in Queensland’s Galilee Basin

Victoria: Renewable energy policy brief

Climate change means more storms, bushfires and extreme weather events. Our energy system must adapt to this changing climate. Victoria is well on the way to meeting its renewable energy targets thanks to a range of policy measures.

Renewables momentum continues, despite political chaos

As 2018 draws to a close, it is worth reflecting on another extraordinary year for the Australian renewable energy industry.

Two million PV systems – solar a political power

We owe a lot to John Howard. He may not have realised it in May 2007, but when he doubled the Photovoltaic Rebate Program value to $8000, our second longest serving prime minister set in motion a chain of events that would lead to Australia hosting 2 million rooftop solar power systems.

IEEFA Australia: Thermal coal export sunset looming closer

Coal miner Glencore is failing investors in its latest forecasts.

The least wrong – rapid change in the energy station difficult to predict

While much has been made of the ‘trilemma’ facing the Australia electricity network, Ray Wills from Future Smart Strategies argues that rapid change of energy technology, business models and social changes is resulting in rapid and difficult-to-predict changes.

Markets & Policy

Featured

CEDA calls for strong government policy “in areas we can control”

The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) has released its 2019 Economic and Political Overview, calling for “durable policy in energy and climate change” in a year it says will be wracked by economic uncertainties.

Vietnam mulls multi-layered FIT scheme as it kicks energy transition into gear

With its feed-in tariff set to expire at the end of June, Vietnam is considering different levels of payment, classified across three irradiation regions and involving four solar technologies. Future payments would range from $0.0659-0.0985/kWh, with the cloudy north in line for the highest tariffs and with the government likely to revise tariffs for new projects every two years.

EnergyAustralia to help charities slash power bills with solar+storage

Backed by an estimated $15 million raised from the sale of renewable energy certificates, EnergyAustralia will install free solar PV and battery systems for participating charitable organizations, with the goal to connect them into a virtual power plant and slash their electricity bills by as much as 50%.

NSW Greens add to solar election momentum, to mandate solar, storage on new builds

A proposal to mandate solar and storage systems for all new dwellings has been proposed by the NSW Greens in the lead up the state election. The policy is a part of a wider package that the party says will see one million households add rooftop PV over four years.

Blaming renewables for power failures is wrong

In the aftermath of January’s blackouts in Victoria and South Australia, public policy think thank Grattan Institute underlines that blaming renewable energy for supply failures is wrong and dangerous. The new report flies in the face of repeated claims by the Coalition government that renewables are undermining the reliability of electricity system.

New Zealand identifies 11 GW solar potential

The nation already meets well above 80% of its electricity demand from renewable energy. With e-mobility and electric industrial processes on the rise, higher demand has created new development opportunities.

Installations

Featured

Shell unveils 120 MW Queensland PV project, to supply QGC onshore gas operations

Shell Australia has “well advanced” plans for a 120 MW utility scale PV array to supply its QGC onshore gas operations in northern Queensland. The announcement was made Shell Australia Chairman Zoe Yujnovich during a speech today, in which she pointed to an Australian “energy transition” in which “electrons will play a bigger role”.

Melbourne trial looks to beef up grid for rooftop solar boom

A $2.2 million trial run by Jemena, AusNet Services, and UNSW Sydney will explore how existing network infrastructure can better integrate with solar power, as Australia’s rooftop PV uptake goes from strength to strength.

Energy-management company AEES to green golf clubs’ energy use

Australia’s more than 1,300 golf clubs can each spend upwards of $100,000 a year on electricity bills in the process of managing their greens and running their clubhouses. Today AEES Group announced an exclusive partnership with Golf Management Australia, to provide customised energy-efficiency audits and solar solutions that can reduce Australian clubs’ carbon footprint, and their grid-derived energy by up to 60%.

Long read: Towering utility bills drive C&I tracker market

The growing market for tracker-mounted solar within the U.S. commercial and industrial market is being driven squarely by mammoth utility bills that often include time-of-use charges and total demand charges. Single-axis and double-axis systems are being deployed on warehouses, at agricultural facilities, factories, mines, landfills, carports, and other sites, often with a payback of only a few years, equipment sellers say.

Pacific Hydro gets regulatory nod for 555 MW of solar

The 240 MW Prairie Solar Farm in Victoria has moved forward with a planning permission and the 315 MW Clarke Creek Solar Farm in Queensland has received a material change of use permit.

Victoria gives 90 MW solar farm go-ahead

The Central Goldfields Shire Council has given its tick of approval for the construction of the Carisbrook Solar Farm, proposed by Germany’s ib vogt.

Technology

Featured

New model for calculating bifacial boost

Belgian research institute imec has developed a new simulation framework it says can calculate the expected output of a bifacial PV system. The model could help improve developer understanding of the best system configurations for bifacial, and foster confidence among investors by providing a precise prediction of energy yields.

ARENA backs distributed generation projects with close to $10 million

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has awarded $9.6 million in grants for five projects and seven studies into the role of distributed generation assets on the grid – and how to expand their penetration.

Disused zinc mine transforms into clean energy hub with compressed air storage

In an Australian first, Canada’s Hydrostor is delivering a 5 MW / 10 MWh compressed air energy storage facility, which will store excess solar and wind power at a closed underground mine in South Australia.

ANU: Australia on track for 50% renewables by 2024, at “zero net cost”

Australia’s renewable sector is driving the country towards its Paris commitments well ahead of schedule. The Australian National University (ANU) published the findings today, concluding that on the current trajectory the country is on track to hit 50% renewable electricity in 2024 and 100% in 2032 – at a net cost “of approximately zero.” Despite the good news, the Clean Energy Council warns that current federal government policy may result in the country squandering the opportunity.

Super-grids vs prosumer states: storage may decide the battle

Indra Overland, head of the Center for Energy Research at the Norwegian Institute for International Affairs, explains how the world’s future energy landscape may include pan-regional super-grids. However, prosumer states seeking energy independence could also be in the mix. According to Overland, the two developments will go hand in hand and the balance between them will be determined by the competitiveness of storage technologies.

Deakin University breaks ground on 7.25 MW solar-powered microgrid

The first sod has been turned on a $30 million smart microgrid which is to power Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds Campus. The project, featuring a 7 MW solar farm and a 1 MW battery, is delivered in partnership with AusNet Services and its subsidiary Mondo with the goal to provide an integrated research and education platform, and contribute to the university’s sustainability goals.

Manufacturing

Featured

Inverter supplier offers utility solar-farm planning, grid modelling and O&M services

Supplier of solar inverters SMA has announced two new service offerings – plant engineering, and operations and maintenance – designed to de-risk new project investment, streamline grid connection, and drive greater ongoing performance from utility-scale solar farms.

Canadian Solar revises up estimates while giving PG&E update

The Ontario firm has revised figures for shipments, net revenue and gross margin after seeing better-than-expected trading in the final three months of 2018.

Jinko achieves 24.2% efficiency for its n-type monocrystalline cell

The Chinese module maker said the result was certified by the Photovoltaic and Wind Power Systems Quality Test Center at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The record, Jinko said, is thanks to its high quality n-type wafers, selective doping technology and advanced fine-line printing.

PV Info Link: Jinko the largest module maker of 2018

According to the Taiwanese analysts, JA Solar was number two, followed by Hanwha Q-Cells and Trina Solar in joint third. The ten largest module makers met around 70% of demand, with 66 GW of shipments.

REC Group strengthens Australian presence with new distributer

Having welcomed Sol Distribution on board, Norwegian solar manufacturer REC Group hopes to expand its presence in Australia, which it sees as its key market in the APAC region.

Solar will rebound this year with more than 100 GW of new capacity

Wood Mackenzie’s number-crunchers are the latest analysts queueing up to predict a bumper year ahead for PV, with falling prices, rising efficiency rates and booming markets outside China all on the cards. And it could be a make-or-break year for mega-projects, says Wood Mac.

Energy Storage

Featured

Redflow batteries power remote Thai village

The Brisbane-based battery supplier has deployed 10 of its zinc-bromine flow batteries coupled with three li-ion batteries to store solar generated power in a far-flung village in northern Thailand.

India eyes South America’s lithium reserves for battery manufacturing

As India plans to set up large lithium-ion battery plants, the Lithium Triangle countries in South America (comprising Chile, Argentina and Bolivia) have offered to meet India’s growing demand for lithium.

Redback added to SA Home Battery Scheme

Australian-based Redback Technologies is now eligible for subsidies under the South Australia Home Battery Scheme, alongside nine other brands. The company manufacturers its solar inverter-battery hybrid systems overseas.

Eni enters Aussie renewables market with acquisition of NT largest solar farm

Diversifying its gas-focused portfolio Down Under, the Italian oil group has acquired the Northern Territory’s largest solar project – the 33.7 MWp Katherine Solar Farm.

Western Australia launches strategy to fuel battery industry

With li-ion battery supply chains stretched by the rapid EV and energy storage uptake, Western Australia is looking to position itself at the forefront of global battery manufacturing. The state government has launched a strategy to grow WA’s future battery industry, which includes plans for an investment attraction strategy.

Senate warns Australia will be left behind in EV uptake

A flagship report from the Senate Committee on Electric Vehicles (EV) has called on the federal government to adopt a strategy that will accelerate EV uptake in Australia, and implement new vehicle emissions standards to encourage manufacturers to sell more EVs. Since a growing EV fleet could pose a challenge to the grid, solar is set to assume an important role in flattening out the demand and supply curve.

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