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Powering Australian Renewables completes $2.7 billion Tilt Renewables takeover

Powering Australian Renewables Fund, a partnership between AGL Energy and QIC, has formally taken control of Tilt Renewables on the same day the consortium called on the Australian federal government to set a net zero 2050 target.
Manufacturing

MSquare Energy becomes Australia’s second module manufacturer

Sydney-based MSquare Energy has ambitions of becoming Australia's largest solar panel manufacturer, and it is entering the market at a pivotal moment when Australia's panel manufacturing industry is pushing to compete on equal footing with global leaders.
EV

Residential PV makes EVs cheaper, reduces emissions

The maintenance cost of an electric vehicle is estimated to be significantly lower than internal combustion engines, and studies show home solar furthers the cost savings and boosts carbon emission reductions.
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Markets & Policy

Solar-powered large scale microbial food production

Producing nutrient-rich microbes with solar PV has the potential to produce more food with fewer resources, according to a German research group that modelled the large-scale production of microbial biomass by combining ground-mounted photovoltaics, air,...
Installations

Victorian council to pass solar system’s savings on to community group

Mildura Rural City Council will install a solar system with up to 99 kW of capacity at its Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct, which is currently under construction. A spokesperson for Mildura Council told pv magazine Australia 50% of the ...
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Technology

Victorian government plans six grid ‘shock absorber’ projects for REZ’s clean energy influx

The Victorian government has commissioned the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to seek tenders for six new grid upgrade projects to prepare for the influx of clean energy associated with the state’s western Renewable Energy Zones (REZs).
Energy Storage

Battery-maker, retailer and financier alliance sees more players enter Australia’s VPP space

South Korean company LG Energy Solution has partnered with Australian fintech financier Humm Group and renewable energy retailer Diamond Energy to provide customers with Virtual Power Plant platform. Virtual power plants (VPPs) are gaining momentum in Au...
Hydrogen

Taylor makes second attempt at knifing ARENA

The Morrison government and Energy Minister Angus Taylor have made a renewed attempt to expand the remit of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to include technologies using fossil-fuels. The Senate, which blocked Taylor's previous attempt to illegall...

Press Releases

SolarEdge announces record revenues in second quarter 2021

SolarEdge Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: SEDG), a global leader in smart energy technology, today announced its financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2021.

Fortescue Future Industries signs collaboration agreement regarding a potential large scale renewable green hydrogen plant in New Zealand

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) has signed a collaboration agreement with Murihiku Hapu of Ngāi Tahu, that will see them working together to assess and potentially develop a large scale, renewable green hydrogen production project in Southland, New Zealand.

Consumer protections switched on for power customers in lockdown

Power connection protections have been reintroduced to shield Queensland’s most vulnerable households from having their power disconnected during lockdown.

Trina Solar Vertex 670W Modules Pass Six Rigorous Extreme-Weather Tests

Global weather continues to deliver extremes of load and stress to outdoor infrastructure, yet all regions should be able to reap the benefits of renewable solar energy. Trina Solar continues to test its modules with the aim of ensuring reliability and confidence in its solar solutions.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

Half of my new sales are either replacements or additional systems

I had quite the epiphany in the winter of 2020. I began to realise that selling cheap solar systems isn’t actually a smart thing to do in the long run. I’d heard all the rumours from old heads of the industry, but went in a bit wet behind the ears with the old ‘it couldn’t happen to me’ mentality. But replacing solar panels that were only four years old made me wise-up very quickly.

Why insurers are adjusting underwriting criteria for renewable assets

It’s no secret that extreme weather events are increasing, both in terms of severity and frequency. Australia is no exception. Despite historically seeing a relatively low occurrence of natural catastrophes, over the past 24 months the country has experienced cyclones, bushfires, large hail storms and numerous flooding events. This includes the recent floods in March of this year, in which New South Wales and parts of Queensland saw the worst flooding the region has experienced for six decades. Recent estimates predict the flooding to have caused between AU$919 million and AU$1.055 billion* in insured losses.

Solar export charging: a solution or just added confusion?

My partner and I just bought our first home, and after years of renting, we’re excited to get the keys and finally have the chance to install solar. But the process of choosing a solar installer and appropriate system size, ensuring that our appliances are set up to utilise energy during the middle of the day, and picking the best deal from a retailer is daunting – even for someone like me who works in energy.

Deciding our distributed energy future

The debate around the regulatory reform of distributed energy resources will help decide the future direction of Australia’s electricity system.

Solar panel demand hits record highs as prices set to skyrocket by 15%. This could cause a solar crisis as soon as this summer

There is a big concern in the industry right now for even the top tier solar companies. As the demand for installers and systems is ever increasing, the number of good solar installers are not. 

Are the Nationals now the party for mining, not farming?

The return of Barnaby Joyce to the federal National Party’s top job has highlighted tensions within, and dilemmas for, the broader party – particularly on climate change policy and coal.

Covid-19

Featured

‘Polysilicon shortage will continue through 2021’

The latest global PV industry outlook published by trade group SolarPower Europe, has indicated tight supply of the solar panel raw material is expected to persist this year but the trade body said it would be unlikely to drive further price rises.

Sterling and Wilson Solar’s order book grew 72% in FY2021, despite Australian subcontractor’s bankruptcy

Despite the growth, one-off exceptional events in the fourth quarter hit the solar EPC’s overall fiscal performance. These included a prime subcontractor going bankrupt in Australia, rising module prices, and increased freight costs.

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.

Markets & Policy

Featured

Meyer Burger plans to launch solar PV roof tiles in 2022

The Swiss group has acquired an integrated solar roof system solution from an unidentified German engineering service provider for this purpose. The aim is grow this sector from a niche market.

AEMO’s 2021 IASR sets new scenarios and ambitions for Australia’s solar industry

Solar PV is an important contributor to all energy scenarios presented in AEMO’s latest “Input, Assumptions and Scenarios Report,” but what’s the best possible outcome it can enable?

Sodium-ion batteries a commercial reality, claims CATL

The manufacturer has launched sodium-ion products online. Production has begun and will be easily scalable, according to the CATL chairman. Researchers have been keen to make the technology work as it offers a cheaper, more environmentally friendly alternative to lithium-ion products.

How Origin can pull the plug on gas and top Australia’s clean-energy leader board!

Australia’s big energy providers are being forced to take stock of the costs of fossil fuels versus renewables. One industry analyst and commentator has a fresh recipe for success for Australia’s biggest wholesaler and retailer of gas.

First Solar plans a 3.3 GW Indian module fab

The U.S.-based manufacturer is planning a vertically integrated thin-film solar module manufacturing facility in India. The factory will likely be built in Tamil Nadu and become operational in the second half of 2023.

Sunday read: Indonesia’s coal exit plan

Indonesia, the second-biggest coal exporter in the world, is now taking more steps to reduce its dependency on “black gold” as it starts to consider clean energy.

Installations

Featured

Saturday read: In conversation with UNSW’s Anna Bruce on distributed transformation

The time is now for the energy consumer, says Anna Bruce, as energy “prosumers” produce, consume, and provide electricity and grid services in previously unimagined ways. Bruce, a senior lecturer at the University of New South Wales’ School of Solar Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE), leads work on the role of distributed energy resources in the energy transition, analysing firsthand the dizzying level of complexity it brings.

Aldoga Solar Farm’s 600 MWp expansion receives approval

Acciona Energía has received approval from the Queensland state government for an expansion of its plans for the Aldoga Solar Farm outside Gladstone. Originally slated as a 250 MW project, the project will now reach a capacity of 600 MWp and work to support the development of Gladstone’s green hydrogen hub.

Mining giant unveils $73 million hybrid solar+storage project

Mining giant BHP has taken another step on the path towards a renewable energy future, commissioning a 48.2 MW solar + storage hybrid power facility that will help power its Nickel West mining operations in regional Western Australia.

Partnership to explore hydrogen technology in standalone systems

Standalone power system specialist Boundary Power has teamed up with Australian hydrogen technology company LAVO to investigate the potential application of its renewable hydrogen energy storage system in power solutions suitable for off-grid and edge-of-grid customers.

Commercial and industrial rooftops in India could deploy 1,875 MW of solar in 2021

According to a new report, India’s commercial and industrial sectors will increase their rooftop solar deployments by 47% year-on-year, with bifacials and large-size high-wattage modules offering cost-effective support for reducing electricity costs.

NRW gets nod to build Rio Tinto solar+storage project

Mining giant Rio Tinto has tapped NRW Holdings to begin construction of a large-scale solar PV and battery energy storage system at the Anglo-Australian multinational’s $2.6 billion Gudai-Darri iron ore mine in Western Australia.

Technology

Featured

ANU researchers go round the twist with latest ultra-thin solar discovery

Researchers at The Australian National University working on the photovoltaic potential of ultra-thin 2D materials have made an interesting discovery, the ability of these diaphanous materials to generate solar energy can be controlled by a mere "twist".

A closer look at liquid air energy storage

A British-Australian research team has assessed the potential of liquid air energy storage (LAES) for large scale application. The scientists estimate that these systems may currently be built at a cost between €300 and €600 (AU$480 to $960) per megawatt-hour and that a positive business case could be favoured by certain conditions, including a determined price structure in the energy market and the presence of a grid unable to support high levels of renewable energy penetration.

Fire at Victorian Big Battery now under control

Speculation will be rife as to the cause of the fire which destroyed one Tesla Megapack and damaged another in Moorabool on Friday. Investigators are waiting until the site is deemed safe to begin their forensic examination.

Aussie startup invents breakthrough non-toxic battery electrolyte that’s cheaper ‘by factor of 100’

It’s a breakthrough so staggeringly simple the patent office needed convincing it counted as an invention. In what Professor Thomas Nann jokingly told pv magazine Australia basically equates to adding dishwashing liquid and oil to water, he and two of his former PhD students have unlocked the potential of water-based electrolytes for batteries, promising a solution that is cheaper, easier to manufacture and non-toxic. The startup plans to initially use the formula in supercapacitors before exploring it in conjunction with redox flow batteries.


Coin-sized solar panels to protect koalas from bushfires

Solar panels the size of five cent pieces will be used to locate koalas and protect them from incoming bushfires as well as to care for the threatened species as their habitat regenerates.

Bushfire affected and rural Indigenous communities among 20 projects funded to explore microgrid solutions

The federal government has allocated $25.6 million to support 20 microgrid feasibility studies, including in communities affected by the Black Summer bushfires, which left regions without power for weeks.

Manufacturing

Featured

Solar manufacturers warn of 12-18 months disruption for standalone products

Potential price rises of 14% for the solar home systems that are driving access to electricity in the world’s under-served regions could signal further arrested progress towards the UN goal of universal access by 2030.

Sunday read: Europe’s gigafactory boom – 25 by ‘25

A gigafactory, as the name indicates, is a facility that aims to produce Li-ion cells at a gigawatt-hours scale of total capacity, so they can then be used in electric vehicles or stationary storage applications. The global production capacity of Li-ion cells is expected to reach 740 GWh by the end of 2021 – almost a threefold increase from 2017 – and Europe will account for 8% of the total. João Coelho, an analyst at Delta-EE, looks at how Europe plans to catch up.

Australian Vanadium to fast-track manufacture of flow batteries

Western Australian company Australian Vanadium Limited has been awarded $3.69 million in federal government funding to fast-track manufacturing of large-scale vanadium redox flow battery systems that can be used to support rooftop solar PV or in off-grid settings such as mining, agriculture and remote communities.

REC unveils second generation of its N-Peak solar module

The manufacturer plans to start production of the performance-enhanced solar modules in August. The first customers should then receive the products in October.

Australia’s first lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility attracts additional federal funding

Australia’s first lithium-ion battery manufacturer, Energy Renaissance, has received a half million dollar grant to develop its pilot manufacturing facility in the state’s Hunter region.

Serial inventor aims to change PV value chain by addressing heat

Kent Kernahan has set out to take the heat out of solar cells. He and his partners may end up bringing solar manufacturing jobs to disadvantaged communities, while making low-cost rooftop solar more widely available.

Energy Storage

Featured

Federal government launches Battery Stewardship Scheme

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans, has announced a newly accredited Battery Stewardship Scheme that he says will triple the battery collection rate over a period five years and divert 90% of the collected materials from landfill. 

‘Stick-on’ solar panels in France secure EU funding

The TotalEnergies-controlled solar manufacturer will secure an, as yet undetermined chunk of a new €118.6 million low-carbon innovation fund to start producing its frameless, glass-free solar roofing products at Porcelette, in northeastern France.

Queensland energy survey reveals shifts in battery and EV embrace coupled with continued love of solar

Households with residential batteries have doubled in Queensland in the last two years, though cost remains a barrier – as it has with electric vehicles. As prices fall, however, the state is likely to welcome the technology with open arms, as it has with solar. 37% of Queensland households now harvest the sun’s energy and a further 22% looking to install or upgrade their systems, according to the government’s Queensland Household Energy Survey. Of those with solar systems, 93% would would replace their panels with the same size or larger, if they were to fail.

Melbourne council plans city-wide community battery network

The City of Melbourne is planning a network of co-ordinated community batteries to be installed at council sites across the city, aiming for a potential capacity of 5 MW by 2024.

RACV Solar adds another installation company to its stable

Victorian solar company RACV Solar has continued its expansion strategy with the acquisition of Great Ocean Solar and Electrical, a solar and battery installation business based on the Bellarine Peninsula in the state’s southwest.

Multi-day iron-air batteries reach commercialization… at one tenth of the cost of lithium

Boston startup Form Energy has secured US$200 million (AU$270 million) Series D funding for the development of what is being called a breakthrough in energy storage.

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