Top News

Long Read: UNSW’s Martin Green sets out solar’s accelerating technological development

Martin Green and his UNSW collaborators have driven a wide range of innovations within the Chinese and global PV manufacturing sector. Green, a Scientia Professor at UNSW and the Director of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics shares his take on PV technology in 2018.
Markets & Policy

Landis+Gyr and PEP buy smart meter business from Origin Energy

The newly founded joint venture raised $500 million in capital investments realize a large scale smart meter roll out in Australia. Origin Energy previously contracted Acumen for this sector. The Acumen brand will be retained and managed together with intelliHUB

Installations

Risen breaks ground on ‘merchant’ 121 MW Yarranlea project

Chinese PV module maker Risen Energy has begun construction on the 121 MW Yarranlea project in Queensland. The company intends to have complete control of the project, from module supply, through to EPC, ownership and operation.

Markets & Policy

The path to US$0.015/kWh solar power, and lower

GTM Research projects US$24 cent/w solar panels and utility scale fixed-tilt systems at US$70 cent/W by 2022, which opens up new possibilities for ultra-cheap power from solar.

Energy Storage

SMA launching new multi string battery inverter

SMA says its new product will offer digital services such as monitoring and automatic notifications to perform maintenance as well as offering an emergency supply system. According to analysts, the varied applications of new inverters signal an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Energy Storage

Sonnen secures €60 million investment from Shell Ventures

Germany-based PV-storage provider sonnen has closed a new funding round from a group of investors led by Shell Ventures. Sonnen has already began to draw on the funds as it continues to expand market shares in the U.S. and in Australia. Shell Ventures is now a major sonnen investor and future cooperation agreement has been agreed to.

Installations

Interview: “We played a huge role in large scale solar becoming commercially viable”

The booming large scale and rooftop PV market in 2018 is providing many reasons to be optimistic about the future of solar under the Australian sun. In reflecting on his six-year tenure as CEO at ARENA, ahead of his departure in August, Ivor Frischknecht points to the role the agency has placed in bringing down the costs of large scale solar in Australia as ARENA’s greatest achievement.

Markets & Policy

Extension of P2P green loans program after successful first 12 months

Continuing demand and a good first year means that the CEFC and RateSetter have agreed an extension to the green loans agreement, with over 150 new installations every month.

Markets & Policy

Featured

US: Rush to gas risks hundreds of billions in stranded assets

A new report by Rocky Mountain Institute finds that gas plants proposed across the United States over the next 15 years could be replaced by clean energy portfolios at a net savings, and that these projects are at risk of becoming stranded assets.

Sungrow announces residential storage market entry in Australia

Sungrow is best known for its PV inverter range – which covers the residential, C&I and power plant market segments. The Chinese inverter maker has hopes to see it gain increased traction in Australia by broadening its product portfolio in the country.

More U.S. jobs in solar than coal and nuclear combined

A new report from a think tank headed by former U.S. Energy Secretary Moniz reveals an additional 100,000 jobs with a part-time solar component, and hints at the political powerhouse that solar is becoming.

ARENA provides funding to seed ‘solar gardens’ for apartment dwellers, renters

Community solar arrays or ‘solar gardens’ for people who can’t install a residential rooftop PV system could become a reality in Australia, with ARENA pouring in funds to fertilize the concept.

Clean Energy Regulator: RET will be met

There is already enough renewable energy projects under construction or generating to meet the Renewable Energy Target (RET). The Clean Energy Regulator officially confirmed today that the RET would be met, making a mockery of claims by former Environment Minister Greg Hunt that it was “simply not possible” to meet the original RET.

10-year solar leases come to WA

A new partnership is looking to introduce 10-year solar leases to WA. By targeting new builds and housing developments and halving the standard lease duration, the partnership aims to make solar leases attractive – where previously they have failed to gain traction.

Installations

Featured

A cautionary tale: Sourcing modules in a tight market

German EPC Goldbeck Solar shares the unfortunate details of a botched module supply deal with China Sunergy. To date, Goldbeck Solar claims it is yet to receive a single module and has been let badly out of pocket.

US: Huawei and Locus to monitor residential solar power from Amazon’s cloud

The three companies are coming together to monitor Huawei’s FusionHome Smart Energy Solution. Customer data security system robustness drives move.

CER launches quarterly tracker, finds over 50,000 rooftop PV systems installed Q1 2018

With small scale solar being installed throughout most states at record clip, the Clean Energy Regulator has developed a tracker to provide a more indicative view of the path the small-scale segment is taking.

Clean Energy Council: Installation of 2 GW of large scale solar to get underway in 2018

Large-scale solar’s rapidly falling costs has seen work on a record-setting number of projects get underway, worth some 2 GW of capacity. The Clean Energy Council’s Kane Thornton made the observation at its Large-scale Industry Forum in Brisbane yesterday.

Report: Business not waiting for lower power prices, 46,000 have installed PV

Australian businesses are not waiting for lower power prices to fall. Instead, they are turning to roofop PV in record numbers, with a new report illustrating how C&I solar installations increased 60% from 2016 to 2017.

Downer to construct 87 MW Beryl Solar Farm

The 87 MW Beryl Solar Farm is set to become one of the first in the world to deploy First Solar’s Series 6 modules. The U.S. module manufacturer is the project developer, with Downer selected to commence construction in July.

Technology

EU startups focus on software for solar integration and operation

The 2018 Ecosummit Berlin, a EU cleantech startup platform, focussed on smart green energy and mobility. Of the 99 speakers, 69 were startups presenting innovative solutions to a changing energy economy, catering to the needs of end-customers, developers and utilities alike.

Tandem PV cells present potential for residential applications, MIT scientists say

Four different thin film solar PV technologies were tested by the MIT experts across three types of environment in the U.S.: Arid (Arizona); temperate (South Dakota); and humid (Florida). The research found that despite high costs, tandem cells may become viable in rooftop applications.

ARENA study to bring blockchain energy trading to dairy farmers

Through a study funded by ARENA, the distributed database platform blockchain will be used by Latrobe Valley dairy farmers to buy and sell locally generated renewable energy.

Power Ledger: “Japan is a really good market”

Blockchain-enabled peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading will be trialed by Japanese utility KEPCO, under a new agreement with Power Ledger announced this week. Meagan Cojocar, an analyst with the Perth-based company says Japan is the ideal location for the Power Ledger as the country’s energy drive self sufficiently and its “crypto friendly” attitude.

ABB launches what it says is world’s fastest EV charger

The Terra High Power charger can charge an electric vehicle (EV) in just eight minutes, thus adding up to 200 km of range, says ABB, which launched the new model at this year’s Hannover Messe.

EU grants €5 million to perovskite research consortium

Belgian institute Imec will be the coordinator of a project involving many of Europe’s leading research organizations, which will focus on developing stable, scalable, low cost PV modules based on perovskite technology. The project, named ‘ESPResSo’ has received more than €5 million in funding from the European Union.

Manufacturing

Featured

Nextracker to supply trackers for 634 MW of First Solar projects

The tracker maker will also supply a new type of racking for the roll out of First Solar’s large-format Series 6 modules.

ABB showcases high powered string inverters for utility scale and C&I

Global infrastructure giant ABB is showcasing its PVS-120 sting inverters. The company claims that high power density can deliver Opex and Capex reductions for developers and EPCs.

LG bumps up product warranty on NeON 2 to 25 years

Premium PV module producer and supplier LG Electronics Australia has increased its product warranty to 25 years. Having sold some 750,000 modules in Australia to date, LG reports a “very, very small” number of warranty claims.

Panasonic, Tesla reveal plan to produce lithium batteries in China

Tesla’s batteries may soon be Made in China. The announcement was made by Panasonic CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga during a conference accompanying the company’s 2018 fiscal-year results last Friday.

Hanwha Q Cells improves profitability, reduces 2018 shipment guidance

The solar module manufacturer reports that Europe will likely replace the United States as its number one market, due to Trump administration duties. While Q1 revenues grew by around 2.5% year-on year, and net profit almost doubled from $17.6 million to $31 million, the outlook for 2018 shipments has been reduced by 400 MW to 5.6 GW to 5.8 GW.

SunPower to exit utility-scale solar development

The company is pivoting to DG solar and expanding its manufacturing as it continues to struggle with profitability.

Energy Storage

Featured

Kokam steps forward as supplier of batteries for Alinta’s 30 MW gas/battery hybrid

Korean battery manufacturer Kokam has stepped forward as the supplier of the 30 MW/11.4 MWh electricity energy storage system installed at Alinta Energy’s Newman Power Station in North West WA. The producer says its Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) Oxide delivers advantages in high power utility and industrial applications.

Energylab opens start-up accelerator in Brisbane, supporting two solar start-ups

The start-up accelerator programme widened its reach to Brisbane. Off-grid solar bicycles and modular solar batteries are among the first to enjoy the kickstart.

US: Tesla Powerwall adds time-based control

A software update for the Powerwall 2 home energy storage system adds controls to allow owners to take advantage of time of use electricity rates in California and other states.

18 MW Tesla battery ‘backbone’ of new Belgium VPP

The installation of an 18 MW battery storage system shows the Belgium region of Flanders’ pioneering work in integrating innovative storage systems to its electricity grid.

Musk hints at 1 GW battery as Tesla U.S. solar power installations fall further

The company’s energy generation and storage division set a record of $410 million in revenue during Q1, but solar power fell to 2013 deployment levels.

Iconic Mercedes-Benz star to disappear from residential market

The German car maker entered the solar PV home storage business in mid-2016. In the future, its parent company, Daimler will align the stationary storage segment with its grid business.

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Press Releases

The Solar Impulse Efficient Solution label: A new approach to project the environment

By launching its Efficient Solution Label the Solar Impulse Foundation wants to prove that protection of the environment is profitable.   Bridging the gap between ecology and economy Following the success of the first solar flight around the world, the Solar Impulse Foundation, led by Dr Bertrand Piccard, has set itself a new challenge: select #1000solutions that can protect the environment in a profitable way.

The Smart Energy Council is going to SNEC!

The Smart Energy Council is pleased to announce that we will be attending the Shanghai New Energy Conference and Exhibition (SNEC) on the 28th, 29th, and 30th of May, at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre.

New coal doesn’t stack up: Snowy Hydro

In a long exchange with Senator Keneally about the viability of new coal-fired power stations in Senate Estimates, the CEO of Snowy Hydro, Paul Broad said:

Renewables flow for Queensland

Renewable energy continues to flow into Queensland’s electricity network, with the state’s largest solar farm to date now supplying the grid and another signed up to connect.