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Another major solar+storage project waved through in South Australia

As it continues to drive renewables and energy storage, the South Australian government has given its tick of approval for the 280 MW Bungama Solar Farm coupled with a 140MW/560MWh battery storage facility proposed by EPS Energy.
Markets & Policy

Victorian Solar Rally to take place on the steps of parliament this Thursday

The Smart Energy Council (SEC) promised action, and it isn’t bluffing. This Thursday, 25 July at 10:30am the Victorian solar community will rally on the steps of Victoria Parliament House. “The Victorian Government Don’t Get It!” goes the cry as ...
Employment

Australia-Singapore power link, world’s biggest solar+storage project get government backing

The Northern Territory has given major project status to an ambitious plan to develop a 10 GW solar farm coupled with a 20-30 GWh storage facility near Tennant Creek and export solar power harvested in the Australian desert to Singapore via subsea cables.
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Markets & Policy

Blueprint for Australia’s new two-way energy system confers $1 billion in consumer benefits

A joint report released today by AEMO and Energy Networks Australia confirms that managing Australia's growing distributed energy resources presents an extraordinary opportunity, which could result in $100 billion in savings in network infrastructure and...
Installations

Aerial thermography takes off as an O&M tool for Australian solar farms

Raptor Maps has some 700 MW of Australian solar farms under monitoring by aerial thermal imaging. Compared to the company’s worldwide customer base, Australian PV plant experiences roughly the same average percentage — between 1.5% and 2% — of powe...
Employment

Western Victoria’s network upgrade to unlock up to 6 GW of new wind and solar farms

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has laid out a $370 million plan for network upgrades in Western Victoria which would deliver almost double the benefit to both energy consumers and energy producers. However, the proposal has provoked federal...
Highlights

Victoria’s biggest solar farm up and running, powering steelworks and Melbourne tram network

With 128 MWp, Numurkah is the largest operating solar farm in Victoria. The project developed by French renewable energy producer Neoen has a major supply contract secured with the Laverton Steelworks and is one of two solar farms supplying 100% renewabl...
Installations

Sunport MWT solar technology bursts onto the Australian market

Metal wrap-through technology combined with PERC confers multiple benefits on Sunport Power’s new solar modules. Add the involvement of UNSW’s Professor Martin Green in the product development, Sunport’s 1.4 GW production capacity and a 30-year per...
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Press Releases

BYD, Toyota enter agreement to jointly develop battery electric vehicles

Discussions to start with developing vehicles and onboard batteries. Agreement to jointly develop battery electric vehicles (BEVs); discussions include: Joint development of sedans and low-floor SUV BEVs; aim to launch the BEVs in China in the first half of the 2020s.

BayWa AG has committed to 100 percent renewable electricity as of 2020

BayWa AG has joined the global RE100 initiative, led by the independent non-profit-organisation The Climate Group in partnership with CDP.

“Practical laboratories” for hydrogen and green energy research

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has chosen twenty energy research consortiums to be eligible for 100 million euros a year in state funds. Their selection came after a nationwide competition as part of Germany’s “Energiewende” – its transition to renewable and sustainable energies.

Solar Vietnam: GCL raises grid connection volume to 700 MW with connection of Phu Yen and Vung Tan solar fields

GCL System Integration (GCL SI) announced today the completion of grid-connection and operation of two GCL Powered PV plants in Vietnam, the 110 MW Phu Yen and 111 MW Vung Tau solar fields. The two PV Plants were connected at the end of June 2019, taking the total grid-connection volume of GCL SI modules in Vietnam to nearly 700 MW.

Opinion & Analysis

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Solar prices up 13% in Victoria in July 2019

The Solar Price Index for July 2019 as published monthly by Solar Choice noted a 13% rise in residential solar prices in Victoria following the re-opened rebate scheme being snapped up in the first 3 days.

Large clusters of solar power stations

In the last of a series of blogs, solar pioneer Philip Wolfe looks at areas where solar generating stations are clustered together, without the coordination afforded by organised solar parks.

IEEFA Energy Finance 2019: Coal pipeline shrinking, stranded asset risk ballooning, renewables ever cheaper

Coal fleets represent huge financial risk to shareholders and investors write Tim Buckley IEEFA’S Director of Energy Finance Studies, Kate Finlayson the organisation’s Senior Communications Strategist.

Is PERC still bankable?

Light-induced initial degradation in PERC modules is currently a subject of intense discussion, but tests at PI Berlin have shown that the problem is solvable. Founder and CEO Paul Grunow explains the effects, the approach, and the results.

An overview of the world’s largest solar power plants – 3

In the third of a series of four blogs, solar pioneer Philip Wolfe lists the world’s largest solar power plants. In these articles, a ‘solar plant’ is defined as an individual generating station.

The sun rises on the bifacial module market

With market penetration exceeding expectations in 2018, bifacial technology is set to account for one third of global solar module production by 2022, writes Edurne Zoco, Research Director at IHS Markit. Bifacial and half-cell technologies are rapidly gaining momentum due to their improvements in power output, along with their low implementation barriers and minimal capex requirements.

Markets & Policy

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Rule change to allow big energy consumers to get paid for demand response

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) is looking to reward large energy consumers for reducing their power usage at times of peak demand. The electricity market’s rule maker is looking to prevent the summer blackouts that have become commonplace around Australia in recent years in a cost effective manner through the proposed rule change.

FRV achieves financial close on 68 MW solar project in NSW

Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) has secured financing for the 67.8 MW Goonumbla Solar Farm in New South Wales. The Spanish developer inked a power purchase agreement for the project with Snowy Hydro last year.

SEC warns of installer “bloodbath” if Victorian Solar Homes Program remains unchanged

The fallout of Victoria’s Solar Homes Program is verging on a “bloodbath” in the words of the Smart Energy Council (SEC) CEO John Grimes, who spoke at length in a SEC Webinar featuring over 200 Victorian solar industry actors about the adverse impacts of the program for both the industry and consumers. The SEC is now readying for action.

NSW Parliament launch inquiry into the sustainability of its energy future

The New South Wales Legislative Assembly’s Committee on Environment and Planning has launched an inquiry into the future sustainability of the state’s energy supply and resources. The question being asked: “What does the future of energy look like in NSW?”

PV module demand expected to reach 125.5 GW in 2019, TrendForce

According to the Taiwanese market research company, PV module demand will increase by 16% over 2018 shipments. TrendForce also believes this growth trend will continue in 2020.

Australian airports turn to emissions-linked financing amid growing appetite for sustainable lending

As sustainability-linked debt financing continues to gather momentum, Australian airports are turning to innovative funding mechanisms. In the latest such deal, the operator of Gold Coast Airport will be incentivised to reduce carbon emissions under a loan agreement with Commonwealth Bank and Westpac.

Installations

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Connection issues continue to hamper large scale solar PV projects

The 60 MW Kennedy Energy Parkhas been deprioritised by its developer Windlab due to “uncertainty around connection solution.” The move comes despite the fact the hybrid solar, wind and storage facility known as “Big Kennedy” was completed last December.

Old South Freo tip solar farm gets green light

The proposal to build a solar farm on the site of the old South Fremantle tip has been given final development approval. Construction on the former landfill site, for which various redevelopment plans had been submitted since 1985, finally looks set to move ahead.

Batteries well-suited to play valuable role in grid management in New Zealand’s energy transition

A report published by New Zealand’s state-owned transmission grid operator Transpower finds the widespread uptake of distributed battery storage could play an important role in supporting the power system as rooftop PV and electric vehicles are increasingly adopted.

Cambodia approves four PV projects totaling 140 MW

The Cambodian government has decided to approve four new solar projects, ranging in size from 20 MW to 60 MW, in response to rising energy demand. It further announced that the 60 MW project that it tendered at the beginning of the year is planned to start commercial operations in August.

More calls for review of Victoria’s Solar Homes Program

Following similar calls from other industry bodies, the Clean Energy Council has urged the Victorian government to review its landmark Solar Homes Program and warned about the serious effects its dynamics has on the industry.

Terregra switches on its first merchant solar farm in South Australia

The 5 MW Mobilong Solar Farm will run on a fully merchant offtake arrangement over its 30-year lifetime.

Technology

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Green hydrogen joins natural gas in WA pipelines

Canadian gas giant ATCO has unveiled its Clean Energy Hub in Jandakot which will explore the potential of hydrogen for home use in gas appliances. On the same day, the Western Australian government has launched a renewable hydrogen strategy and announced the creation of a $10 million green hydrogen fund.

Australia’s first compressed air energy storage facility gets go-ahead

The South Australian government has given its tick of approval for the development of a 5 MW/10 MWh compressed air energy storage facility, which will store excess solar and wind power at a closed underground mine.

Wind and solar cut rather than boost Australia’s wholesale electricity prices

Wholesale prices in the National Electricity Market have climbed significantly in recent years. The increase has coincided with a rapid increase in the proportion of electricity supplied by wind and solar generators. But that needn’t mean the increase in wind and solar generation caused the increase in prices. It might have been caused by other things.

ClearVue inks solar strip module supply deal with BeyondPV

Western Australia-based solar glass developer ClearVue has signed a deal with Taiwanese thin-film solar module manufacturer BeyondPV to set up a dedicated production line for solar strip modules at its production facility in Tainan.

Horizon Power’s Carnarvon DER trials picks up award

Western Australia utility Horizon Power’s Carnarvon Distributed Energy Resource (DER) PV trails have received the silver award in the Energy Smart Communities Initiatives (ESCI) Best Practice Awards in the category of Smart Grids. The award recognises the necessity of DER trailing in order to find better ways to integrate solar PV into regional locations. 

Curtin’s new thermal battery project brings on the midnight sun

An international research collaboration led by Curtin University is set to help decarbonise mining and other off-grid industry with concentrating solar power that delivers clean energy night and day.

Manufacturing

ABB exits solar inverter business

This Swiss giant is following a trend as large multinational high-tech companies see their role as redesigning infrastructure rather than supplying inverters at ever lower margins. Schneider Electric has pulled out of large scale solar, Siemens’ Kaco acquisition and Junelight launch show increasing interest in the C&I and residential markets, and GE is likely to divest its power conversion business due to low profit margins in that sector.

Long read: Patently disruptive

Australia has become the latest front in South Korean company Hanwha Q Cells’ legal battle against three competitors – JinkoSolar, Longi Solar, and REC Group – that it claims have infringed its patent on a particular aspect of passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC) technology. Among many speculations is the idea that the case splits layers with an indefensible claim, perhaps seeking to strategically impose a slowdown on Hanwha’s rivals.

Solar Juice becomes REC Group partner

Solar Juice has signed an agreement to distribute REC Group modules in Australia – in particular to target commercial and industrial (C&I) customers. The announcement last week, made no note of the patent lawsuit that Hanwha Q Cells has brought against REC Group in Australia, which includes two of its distributors.

Cell and module prices falling in China

Taiwanese analyst Energytrend saw prices for high power products fall over the past week, but so far only in China. That trend could be replicated around the world next week, however.

Roth: Huawei exits U.S. solar inverter market

Roth Capital Partners reports that the inverter maker ceased U.S. sales last Friday, laying off all of its U.S. citizen staff, amid rising tensions between the Trump Administration and China.

Longi to spend $349m on new 5 GW module fab in Taizhou

The world’s number one mono silicon module manufacturer will add another 5 GW to its annual panel production capacity in 2020 as it pursues 16 GW of output this year and 25 GW next year.

Energy Storage

Featured

Cryogenic energy storage firm teams with Tenaska to develop U.S. projects

United Kingdom-based Highview Power has contracted with U.S. energy developer Tenaska to pursue gigawatt-hour scale cryogenic energy projects in the U.S. Highview reports a storage cost of $140/MWh at industrial scale; the firm currently operates a 5 MW pilot facility in England.

Smart meter time of use pricing to drive up household energy costs without the help of solar and batteries

New research released this week by The Australia Institute shows that ‘time of use pricing’ (ToU) facilitated by smart meters is likely to drive up household energy costs by $429 a year on top of already high prices. Analysis of national electricity market data suggests that demand for electricity in Australia is very inelastic, which makes ToU more likely to increase the profits of electricity companies than to assist consumers. Households with solar PV and batteries, however, are best suited to cope with this type of pricing. 

Genex’s Kidston pumped hydro project lands $610 million federal loan

Australia’s first large-scale project to use pumped hydro to store solar generated power, the Kidston facility in north Queensland, has landed a $610 million loan from the Federal Government’s the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).

WA government looks to bolster battery minerals sector

The McGowan Government is continuing to forward WA’s Future Battery Industry Strategy with the launch on a new early-stage funding initiative. On Wednesday, the government announced a new online Funding Assistance Register, a further boost to the state’s ambition toward a world-leading, sustainable, future battery industry by 2025.

Vicinity sets net zero carbon target by 2030, as $73 million solar program nears completion

On the back of a combination of its industry-leading solar program and energy efficiencies, Vicinity Centers has announced a zero net carbon target by 2030 for its 34 shopping centers.

AEMO: Australia will need 15 GW of utility-scale storage by early 2040s

Increased storage and strategic transmission development will be needed to ensure the lowest cost and risk transition of Australia’s energy system, the Australian Energy Market Operator states in its latest study. In 20 years time, the need for storage will be at a scale not seen before in the NEM, and both pumped hydro storage and distributed storage are set to play major roles in lowering wholesale electricity prices and building a reliable and resilient power system.

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