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Saturday read: Politicians tend to overpromise, except when it comes to solar

The speed of all transitions is inherently underestimated, and solar PV is no exception. The EU has grossly underestimated its coming of age, as its forecasts for 2020 were off by 67% for the Netherlands and 74% for Germany, writes Rolf Heynen, CEO of Dutch New Energy Research.
Energy Storage

Repowering Gippsland project pushes ahead with Fulham Solar Farm plans

The group behind an ambitious plan to develop more than 600 MW of solar PV and 600 MWh of energy storage in Victoria’s Gippsland region have announced planning for one of the projects included in the proposed three-pronged renewables portfolio is under...
Markets & Policy

Environment minister threatens shake-up for module manufacturers

Solar PV module manufacturers have been put on notice with Environment Minister Sussan Ley warning they need to formulate a recycling strategy as the growing number of decommissioned panels threatens a waste management nightmare.
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Markets & Policy

Taylor’s plans for ARENA under scrutiny in senate

Legal doubts have emerged about the Morrison government's proposed change for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency which would allow it to finance a broader range of technologies including some using fossil fuels.
Energy Storage

Landmark moment as Pilbara town powered 100% by solar PV and battery

Western Australia utility Horizon Power has achieved a major milestone with the coastal town of Onslow powered 100% by solar PV and battery during a successful trial of what is one of Australia’s largest distributed energy resource microgrids.
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Hydrogen

WoodMac forecasts Australia’s low-carbon hydrogen export revenue to reach US$90 billion by 2050

Wood MacKenzie's energy transition modelling is predicting a primacy in the future low-carbon hydrogen economy for Australia. Thanks to the country's solar irradiance and renewable energy expertise, as well as its relative proximity to major off-taker ma...
Installations

AEMO analysis finds Western Australia on the fast track to energy system transformation

The Australian Energy Market Operator's latest analysis of the Western Australian Wholesale Energy Market has found that investment in renewable generation and distributed solar is accelerating at a rapid pace, and importantly, that that acceleration is ...
Hydrogen

Demand, policies, investment key to green hydrogen development

Ruchi Gupta is a research fellow at the University of Geneva’s Institute for Environmental Sciences. She focuses on how flexibility options, such as sector coupling with hydrogen production, can support renewable energy integration and decarbonise a wi...

Press Releases

Queensland’s Electric Super Highway heads west

The Palaszczuk Government will almost double the length of Queensland’s Electric Super Highway (QESH) with a $2. 75 million commitment to deliver 18 new charging sites across the state.

CEFC becomes billion dollar solar investor with latest equity investment in large-scale renewables

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has announced its third equity investment in a large-scale renewable energy development, with a $51 million stake in Victoria’s 200MW (AC) Kiamal Solar Farm.

HydroREC joins Australian Smart Energy Council Zero Carbon Certification Scheme, powered by Smart Trade Networks blockchain

Smart Trade Networks (STN) congratulates HydroREC for becoming a founding partner of the Zero Carbon Certification Scheme pioneered by the Smart Energy Council and Hydrogen Australia to establish Australia as a world-leader in green hydrogen certification.

Finalists announced in 2021 Clean Energy Council awards

The Clean Energy Council is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2021 Clean Energy Council Awards.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

What G7 leaders could have said – but didn’t

The four-day G7 summit in Cornwall ended with little cause for celebration from anyone worried about climate change. Most of the pledges that emerged were relatively old news, with the UK repeating its promise of £500 million for ocean conservation efforts and the group reaffirming its commitment to end support for coal production abroad.

Tracking the transition: the ‘forgotten’ emissions undoing the work of Australia’s renewable energy boom

Climate and energy specialists at the Australian National University have published a working paper on the data that will create a set of indicators to quantify the progress of Australia’s energy system transition. Initial findings show that despite renewables-driven strides in electricity supply, reductions in emissions have come from elsewhere, and the transport, industry and buildings sectors are dragging the country backwards.

Why green hydrogen is reaching tipping point

An increasingly dynamic low-carbon hydrogen market has seen a deluge of government support, corporate commitments, announced projects and even bystander intrigue over the past 18 months. We believe this activity amounts to a paradigm shift which will see green hydrogen – hydrogen created from the electrolysis of water using renewable energy – emerge as a key element of the energy transition.

Check your mirrors: 3 things rooftop solar can teach us about Australia’s electric car rollout

Governments and car manufacturers are investing hundreds of billions of dollars on electric vehicles. But while the electric transport revolution is inevitable, the final destination remains unknown.

Software can reimagine breakthrough battery tech to power the electric future

By understanding the challenges that impacted the solar industry, battery material manufacturers will be better equipped to scale next-generation technologies from the lab to have a real-world impact.

‘Green steel’ is hailed as the next big thing in Australian industry. Here’s what the hype is all about

Steel is a major building block of our modern world, used to make everything from cutlery to bridges and wind turbines. But the way it’s made – using coal – is making climate change worse.

Covid-19

Featured

100+ businesses band together to demand 1% of GDP be allocated to clean energy in May budget

More than 100 Australian businesses, including some of the country’s largest, have banded together to put pressure on government to commit at least 1% of GDP to a green energy recovery in the May budget and to ensure a more equitable transition to renewables for marginalised Australians.

Here’s what Biden’s infrastructure bill offers solar and cleantech

The $2 trillion package includes a proposed 10-year extension of the ITC and PTC and calls for further incentives to add transmission capacity. Most solar advocates liked it, but one nonprofit panned it as being too industry-friendly.

Five large-scale community batteries to be integrated into the Sunshine-absorbent State’s substations

Queensland’s government will install five community batteries at regional substations across the state in a bid to time-shift its abundant solar resources.

‘Falling solar module costs are behind us’

Canadian Solar is pivoting towards energy storage and is preparing to IPO its manufacturing and Chinese solar project activity in China, under the CSI Solar operation, by July.

Sunday read: History repeats

“Unprecedented” was a term widely used in 2020, as the world grappled with the Covid-19 pandemic. The same word can be similarly applied to the plans and investments in production capacity announced by Chinese PV manufacturers right across the supply chain. But what shape are these expansions taking and what is driving this renewed confidence? Vincent Shaw reports from Shanghai.

BHP nickel refinery hooks up with the largest solar farm in the West

BHP has started the year by signing a PPA that will halve emissions at its Nickel West Kwinana refinery and double its green cred as a supplier to environmentally conscious lithium-ion battery manufacturers.

Markets & Policy

Featured

UN wants to reduce carbon footprint of peacekeeping

The international organisation has pledged to deploy clean energy generation equipment wherever possible in its global operations, with the help of the International Renewable Energy Agency.

How a Queensland city’s co-location past is fuelling its green hydrogen future

In the world of renewable energy, the past carries charge. It can be an anchor, a learning curve, a hurdle. In Bundaberg, it’s quite literally the fuel for the future. And that green future is being energised by an unusual crew: its local government.

Victoria declares ‘energy emergency’ with Yallourn Power Station at risk

Australia’s coal-fired power generators are again in the spotlight with the Victorian government declaring a state “energy emergency” as damage caused by recent flooding in the Latrobe Valley threatens the ongoing viability of the 1.48 GW Yallourn power station.

NSW to invest record $380 million for renewable energy rollout

The New South Wales government will allocate $380 million in next week’s budget to help fuel investment in large-scale renewable energy as it continues its transition away from coal-fired generators.

Solar panels installed across 59 bus and train stations in Perth

Over 1000 kW of solar capacity is being installed atop 59 Western Australian train and bus stations, with work already completed at a number of the sites.

Has China extended solar grid-connection deadlines by a year?

Such a decision, which industry body the CPIA is adamant has already been announced, could make all the difference to investors struggling with a surge in equipment costs fuelled by the polysilicon shortage. The all-important National Energy Administration, however, has yet to confirm whether the CPIA’s interpretation is correct.

Installations

Featured

FRV builds on Australian portfolio with Dalby solar-storage hybrid power plant

Saudi-owned renewable energy developer Fotowatio Renewable Ventures continues to build upon its Australian portfolio, commencing construction on a 5 MW solar-storage hybrid power plant near Dalby in southern Queensland.

Aldi takes first place in supermarket race to 100% renewables

Aldi Australia committed to reaching 100% renewable energy for its operations by the end of 2021, it’s done that with six months to spare. Achieved through an unprecedented commercial solar rollout, PPAs with two wind farms, and renewable energy certificates, the German discount supermarket beat out its competitors and is now preventing 274,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.

‘Bitter reality’ revealed in global renewables report

REN21 today published its Renewables 2021 Global Status Report, finding the share of fossil fuels in the global energy mix remains virtually unchanged from a decade ago, even as renewables are installed at record pace.

‘Agrivoltaics can certainly be a viable and meaningful alternative to large-scale solar’

US expert in environmental and energy policy Alexis Pascaris spoke with pv magazine about opportunities and barriers associated with agrivoltaics. Agrivoltaics are a very practical and advantageous alternative to large-scale solar, specifically in places where there are land-use constraints or needs for rural economic development, she explains. Differences in costs related to ground-mounted solar can typically be attributed to the raised racking systems or additional fencing, but these upfront investments in specialised hardware are eventually recovered as agrivoltaic systems produce dual-revenue streams.

Photovoltaics and geothermal heat pumps for domestic hot water heating

According to a new study from LUT University, domestic water heating costs may be reduced by combining rooftop PV with geothermal heat pumps. Scientists developed a control method to minimise these costs by taking advantage of cheap spot market electricity and maximised PV power generation, as well as considering heat demand, PV generation forecasts, and heat pump efficiency.

Thrashing out public and industry submissions to the AEMC rule change

Have you heard about the proposed “solar tax”? Haha! But seriously, there’s more to it than meets the eye. A multitude of perspectives and considerations are brought to light in the submissions made to the AEMC. We take a shallow dive … and recommend total immersion.

Technology

Featured

Organic solar cell with 18.4% efficiency via new electrode coating

Saudi scientists built the cell’s electrode with a hole-transporting molecule called Br-2PACz and not with the commonly used PEDOT:PSS. It helped improve the photovoltaic cell efficiency by around 0.9%.

Out-of-the-box Australian selected to be one of eight in World Hydrogen Advisory Board

Andrew Horvath, Global Chairman of hydrogen technology company Star Scientific, has been selected by the global Sustainable Energy Council to be one of the eight leaders on its World Hydrogen Advisory Board. “I’m the only Aussie!” Horvath told pv magazine Australia.

Gravity-based storage for distributed solar

An international research team has designed a residential solar-plus-storage system based on gravity. The system was built with a solar power generator, a bulk booster charge controller, an inverter, a solenoid device, a deep cycle battery, a pulley block, a geared motor, a microcontroller, and wire ropes. Its creators said the system is ideal for regions with high solar radiation. They found that, due to its high electrical requirements, the system needs to rely on high-power solar modules with an output of over 500 W.

ARENA launches $43 million program for industrial abatement studies as concern around mandate change grows

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) today announced the launch of its $43 million program aimed at identifying how to reduce emissions in industry. The program’s launch comes amid concern about proposed changes to ARENA’s funding mandate as the Commonwealth Government seeks to expand definitions to include funding for controversial technologies and fossil fuel projects.

A DNSP perspective on the contentious AEMC rule change and the spectre of a ‘solar tax’

There’s nothing simple about the Australian electricity system in transition. The constantly shifting landscape requires continuous regulatory adjustment to old coal-fired settings. That, too is fraught. One network services provider gives their perspective on the rule change currently under consideration.

Investigating all-manganese flow batteries

Scientists in Germany fabricated an all-manganese flow battery, which they say serves as a proof of concept for the potential of such devices. Their results working with various battery configurations show that cheap, abundant manganese has plenty of potential for flow battery applications; and is worthy of further investigation in the frame of developing sustainable energy storage technologies.

Manufacturing

New process to recycle silicon, silver and glass from end-of-life PV panels

A €4.8 million (AU$7.5 million) EU-funded research project is aiming to develop a process that allows recovering all components of a photovoltaic module.

Sunday read: China struggles with solar supply

Since July 2020, the PV industry has been experiencing price rises, which have affected almost all the components in a solar system. As these price increases spill out into higher installation costs, we see end user prices for solar rising for the first time in 10 years, threatening the competitiveness of PV in certain markets. Vincent Shaw reports from Shanghai on solar manufacturing’s supply chain crisis.

LG claims new rooftop module range ideal for Australia

South Korean solar module maker LG Electronics has unveiled a new range of solar panels for residential and commercial PV projects which it has described as the most reliable and efficient renewable energy solution it has yet created.

Simplifying solar cell deposition

Scientists in Germany have developed a new process for deposition of silicon dioxide layers during cell production. Without the need for high pressure, flammable gases, or vacuum conditions, the process could lead to cost reductions for cell manufacturers, provided it can be developed and applied in a large-scale production setting.

Consumers look at off-grid options amid talk of tariffs

Solar module manufacturer Q Cells Australia has revealed a growing number of residential customers are contemplating exiting the grid entirely as policy makers grapple with how to integrate increasing amounts of small-scale renewable energy technologies like rooftop solar PV and batteries into the electricity grid.

Factory explosion in Xinjiang threatens further polysilicon shortage

With the solar industry already seeing prices rise because of a shortage of panel raw material polysilicon, an explosion yesterday at the factory of a silicon metal producer in Xinjiang could have further repercussions on supply. No casualties have been reported.

Energy Storage

Featured

Victorian developers commit $5.8 million in first sale of Australian company’s modular hydrogen production units

Sydney-headquartered Patriot Hydrogen has secured the first sale of its modular hydrogen production 'P2H' units. It is set to deliver Port Anthony Renewables Limited two of the modules by the end of the year.

Solarwatt, BMW launch new storage system for residential PV

The smallest of the storage units has a capacity of 4.8 kWh and an output of 1.5 kW. It can be expanded to eight battery modules in steps of 2.4 kWh and has a maximum of 57.6 kWh, and 6 kW, of power.

Queensland commits $2bn to renewable energy projects

The Queensland government has underscored its commitment to a clean energy future, announcing a $2 billion fund to be used to finance new renewable energy and storage projects, hydrogen production and clean energy resources projects.

1 GW pumped hydro project progresses in Queensland, state minister pushes for ‘deserved’ federal contribution

The Queensland government has today announced $22 million for detailed design and cost analysis for a new pumped hydro facility at Borumba Dam, west of the Sunshine Coast.

Solar & wind still cheapest generation sources in Australia, despite costly integration, CSIRO finds

Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO, and the Australian Energy Market Operator have found even when factoring in additional ‘integration’ costs such as storage and new transmission infrastructure, solar and wind continue to be the cheapest sources of new-build electricity generation in Australia.

World-first ‘solar hydro’ plant to be built in Victoria, promising 17 hours of storage for $27m

Australian technology company RayGen Resources has received funding to build a 3 MW/50 MWh ‘solar hydro’ power plant. Described by ARENA as the “first of a kind,” it is being lauded as one of the largest and lowest cost storage projects undertaken in the country. Energy giant AGL has also come onboard and will assess whether the technology would be suitable for its soon-to-retire Liddell facility.

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