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Saturday read: Game of drones

Drones have already established themselves in industries as disparate as warfare, wedding photography, and burrito delivery, and increasingly the solar sector is taking the high road, too. Combined with thermal imaging, drones have the potential to obviate expensive maintenance costs for large-scale solar plants, as well as C&I and growing niches like floating PV. But how useful are they, and what role does AI play in making the most of a bird’s eye view?
Installations

Amp powers ahead with 85 MW Hillston Solar Farm

The Australian arm of Canadian clean energy investment firm Amp Energy expects to begin energisation of its 85 MW Hillston Solar Farm in New South Wales early next year after confirming it had achieved financial close for the estimated $100 million proje...
Installations

French utility EDF eyes large-scale solar in Hunter Valley

French energy giant EDF has revealed the latest element of its planned expansion into the Australian renewable energy market, teaming with New South Wales-based miner Malabar Resources to jointly develop large-scale solar PV projects in the Hunter Valley.
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Energy Storage

EnergyAustralia progresses plans for ‘world’s biggest battery’

The rollout of large-scale batteries in Australia continues with electricity gen-tailer EnergyAustralia issuing a call for a project partner to help deliver the Wooreen Energy Storage System to be built in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.
Markets & Policy

Regulator recommends changes for Australia’s rooftop solar sector

The Clean Energy Regulator has recommended major reforms for Australia’s rooftop solar PV industry, including that it be solely responsible for the enforcement of regulations in relation to accredited installers, retailers and component manufacturers.
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Manufacturing

How long do residential solar inverters last?

Multiple factors affect the productive lifespans of residential solar inverters. In the second part of our new series on resiliency, we look at PV inverters.
Manufacturing

Semi-transparent organic solar cell for window applications

Developed by U.S. scientists, the 10%-efficient device is intended for applications in solar windows and promises efficiencies close to 15%. According to its creators, the cell retained 80% of its efficiency after 1,900 hours at 55 degrees Celsius.
Energy Storage

New player ACE Power enters Australian market with 1.3 GW portfolio

Australian renewable energy developer ACE Power has called on the federal government to set clear policy and emissions targets as it looks to make an impact on the nation’s transition to renewables with an estimated 1.3 GW portfolio of large-scale sola...

Press Releases

New incentives proposed to maintain power system frequency

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has announced draft measures to offer incentive payments to market participants who help control system frequency and keep the power grid stable. This is expected to result in lower costs to consumers.

Wind farm jobs just the beginning

Construction has commenced in the first Queensland Renewable Energy Zone (QREZ), connecting the Kaban Green Power Hub to the electricity grid and creating 250 jobs.

AGL accelerates Electric Vehicle subscription service, expanding to Adelaide

AGL is expanding its Electric Vehicle (EV) subscription service to Adelaide, giving South Australians the opportunity to take the wheel of an EV without committing to ownership.

Golden milestone for ETP solar farm project

Construction of Melbourne Water’s solar farm at the Eastern Treatment Plant (ETP) has hit a major milestone this week with the installation of the project’s first row of panels, known as the ‘golden row’.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

There’s no decarbonisation without data

WePower's Kaspar Kaarlep offers a closer look at how we must use data to avert the worst of climate change.

Are solar and wind the cheapest forms of energy? And other FAQs about renewables

Everything you ever wanted to know about the way we will ultimately derive all our power from renewable sources, and how quickly it will be achieved.

A closer look at Australia’s ‘solar stopper’ market reforms

Australia is currently staring down a suite of reforms which could stifle our rapid and sensible transition to clean energy.

Hydrogen must take centre stage at COP26

Hydrogen is likely to play a crucial role in the pursuit of energy transition over the coming years. However, the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in November will be the acid test that determines whether involved players are now prepared to put their words into action.

AEMO’s 2025 goal means that SA becomes the proving grounds

The latest news in the NEM is AEMO’s goal to be capable of handling periods of 100% instantaneous renewables penetration by 2025. This is a significant challenge and fitting given the pace the NEM is moving to
supporting increasingly higher levels of instantaneous (and increasingly asynchronous) renewables on a regular basis.

Chasing the sun — tax-free!

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has made final a rule that will allow for solar export tariffs to be gradually introduced in the NEM jurisdictions (that is, everywhere except WA and the NT) under limited circumstances in four years’ time.

Covid-19

Featured

Sunday read: A decisive movement in module prices

The sky is the limit. Fortunately, this expression does not apply to current prices for PV panels, which have recently declined, following a continuous rise since the beginning of the year. Whether this situation holds, or whether prices drop further in the coming months is hard to say at the moment, writes Martin Schachinger of pvXchange. Polysilicon prices and thus wafer and cell prices could be in for a slight decline. However, a decisive movement in module prices in general is unlikely before the fourth quarter.

Looking beyond 5-minute settlement to tariff models that show how flexible energy retailers can be

Processing nightmare, or product opportunity? Impending five-minute settlement comes at a difficult time for energy retailers. Software from across the ditch could help highlight the benefits and opportunities of more solar and a forecast uptick in battery energy storage.

‘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.

Markets & Policy

Price increases hit US solar

Price increases, supply chain disruptions, and a series of trade risks are threatening the U.S.’s ability to decarbonise the grid, warned SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper.

Blockchain-tech launches to help corporates transition to renewables without greenwashing

Global software as a service (SaaS) company, WePower, has today launched its new ‘Incite’ solution, allowing businesses to track and certify their operation’s sustainability through blockchain-enabled technology, ultimately combatting greenwashing. Australia is first cab off the rank for the Lithuanian-headquartered company’s new product suite.

Hydrogen fuel-cell trucks to be used in zinc giant’s Queensland operations from 2022

Global hydrogen vehicle maker Hyzon Motors Inc. has confirmed five of its ultra-heavy-duty hydrogen trucks will be used by Korea Zinc’s subsidiary Ark Energy in its Queensland operations from as early as next year.

Australia branded a laggard as new report reveals China holds key to cancelling global coal projects

With pressure mounting on the world’s governments to turn their back on the fossil fuel, China and peers in South East Asia, Europe and South Asia could help deliver a coal-free future at the COP26 climate summit planned in Glasgow in November.

Hanwha Q Cells unveils plan to produce perovskite, TOPCon solar modules

The US$1.28 billion (AU$1.7 billion) plan includes a 3.1 GW production capacity expansion in South Korea, where the company’s solar module capacity will reach 7.6 GW by 2025.

Regional strategy to turbocharge Indonesian solar

A roadmap to rapid carbon emission reduction has suggested the nation add 2.4 GW of generation capacity next year as part of a 15 GW new-solar target this decade. The claims of solar-plus-storage should be ignored for now, according to a new policy document, because batteries will make PV less competitive with coal.

Installations

Featured

Off-grid solar-powered data centre headed for regional Victoria on expansion path

Queensland-based data centre operator Edge Centres has announced its first off-grid 100% solar-powered centre for Victoria, taking the new company’s centre total to five as it forges ahead with plans to transform regional Australia.

Rural Victorian medical centre joins the solar carpark push

East Grampians Health Service, located abut 200 kilometres west of Melbourne, will install a 174 kW system on the roof of its carparks after receiving funding from the Victorian government’s Building Works package.

Moah and Moah hybrid energy projects from Energy Estate

A couple of years ago Central Queensland, at the heart of coal country and the nexus of manufacturing opportunity, became a beacon to energy advisory firm Energy Estate and international renewables developer RES. Moah Creek Renewable Energy Project, the first stage of their gigawatt-scale firmed renewable energy project is about to be introduced to the community.

Large-scale renewable investment may be trending up; rooftop PV surges on!

The Clean Energy Regulator has issued its second Quarterly Carbon Market Report for the year. Despite Covid and justified investor caution on big renewable projects, indicators from small- and large-scale energy certificate accounting show steady growth.

Let South Australia’s world-leading flexible solar exports trial begin!

Since July last year, SA Power Networks has been refining the technology and stakeholder engagement mechanisms that will enable dynamic solar exports to the grid, potentially ending an era of severe export limits on new customers in rooftop-solar-rich parts of the South Australian network and in other jurisdictions.

New mounting system for rooftop PV, from Austria

The mounting structure relies on a 5.8m long support rail that does not lie on the roof but is connected directly to a purlin placed below with self-drilling support screws.

Technology

Featured

Cylindrical solar panel for street lighting

Developed by an Italian manufacturer, the panel is available in three versions with a power output of 100, 120, and 240 W and has a weight of 5 kg. It is encapsulated in thermoformable plastic technical polymers and can be connected in series with other modules around the same post.

Australian start-up sets 25.54% efficiency record for silicon cell

Australian start-up SunDrive has created the most effective commercial-sized silicon solar cell in the world, achieving an efficiency figure of 25.54% in testing carried out by the Institute for Solar Energy Research in Germany.

How safe are smart EV chargers?

Research has uncovered critical security threats associated with a number of common smart electric-vehicle chargers, but it’s not too late or too logistically difficult to remedy the issues.

Melbourne ranked among world’s top cities for rooftop solar

A global registry that uses satellite images to map and quantify the rollout of solar PV across rooftops in some of the world’s most iconic cities has ranked Melbourne among the top five for solar roof utilisation.

Solar-powered airplane to reach the stratosphere

The airplane is powered by 22 square meters of solar cells with an efficiency of up to 24% and 14 kWh of lithium-ion batteries. According to its creators, it can reach an altitude of 25,000m.

What seawater and salt spray can do to a PV system

Researchers in China have analysed how the marine environment influences the performance of PV modules deployed on ships, and have found that salt particles can be detrimental to their performance as these act as both heating agents and a factor reducing solar irradiance. The temporary cooling effect provided by seawater is not sufficient to offset the impacts of salt spray and ensure increased power yields.

Manufacturing

Sunday read: looming impacts of international trade disputes on polysilicon

Polysilicon capacity is unable to catch up with rapid capacity expansion in the mid and downstream segments, writes Corrine Lin, chief analyst for PV InfoLink. New polysilicon capacity requires big capex investment and a lead time of more than two years to complete construction and reach full operation. With unbalanced capacity between the upstream and downstream segments, polysilicon prices have been rising since the second half of 2020, with prices for mono-grade polysilicon surpassing CNY 200/kg (US$27.40) in June 2021, up more than 250% year on year.

How zinc-bromide innovators Gelion found a way to cheaply manufacturer batteries in Australia

Sydney-founded battery company Gelion Technolgies today announced its partnership with lead-acid battery manufacturer Battery Energy Power Solutions. The news reflects a significant adjustment of the company’s battery design and business strategy, which is seeking to leverage industry shifts.

Suite of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles to enter Australian market following Warrego fanfare

Australian startup H2X is banking on bringing automotive manufacturing back to Australia with hydrogen. After its Warrego ute was met with startling fanfare last week, pv magazine Australia caught up with the company’s corporate affairs specialist, Tony Blackie.

Flexible solar panel for vehicle-integrated applications

Called SolFlex, the frameless panel is based on 22%-efficient solar cells and is designed for high, one-sided heat load. The standard product measures 100x100x2.9cm, weighs in at 3.4kg, and has a power output of 170 W.

Sunday read: Digesting Europe’s border tax proposal

The European Union’s proposed carbon border tax on imports of energy-intensive goods could push up prices of steel, aluminium and raw materials, which could add costs to the supply chain for solar PV installations. In the longer run, however, the border tax could also offer solar PV manufacturers new opportunities to source materials with a lower carbon footprint.

Saturday read: Gigafabs in India

India’s solar module makers have built a strong track record, and now the country is set to see vast battery facilities developed. Uma Gupta provides a look into ambitious manufacturing projects and the wider enabled ecosystem.

Energy Storage

Featured

Queensland greenlights its first vanadium mine

The Queensland government today announced it's given the go-ahead for what will be the state’s first vanadium mine, Multicom Resources’s $250 million Saint Elmo mine. The government also earmarked the North West of the state as potential vanadium hub with other mine plans progressing.

Saturday read: Stage set for truce in Australia’s climate culture war

The highly polarised debate regarding renewable energy and action on climate change that has too long been a feature of the Australian political landscape could change, and change quickly, says Saul Griffith. The entrepreneur, scientist, and energy analyst is adding author to his job description next month with the release of his book “Electrify”, and he’s betting on a rapid transformation of the discussion within Australia as the advantages of “electrifying everything” become clear.

New Energy eyes bigger battery for Wallaroo Solar Farm

Spanish-Japanese renewable energy company Univergy Solar and Australian partner New Energy Development have revealed a 75 MW/150 MWh battery energy storage system is likely to be coupled with the proposed 100 MW Wallaroo Solar Farm being developed near the border between New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

Designer bacteria for energy storage

A group of biologists in the United States working with a bacteria discovered a mechanism that could be used to convert electricity into biofuels or other useful substances. With better understanding of the genetics, the group says the mechanism could rival hydrogen for the storage of renewable energy.

Australian researchers develop direct solar-to-hydrogen generation tech

Developed by Australian scientists, the demonstrated system is claimed to achieve a solar-to-hydrogen efficiency of 20% at a levelised cost of hydrogen (LCOH) of $4.10/kg. The direct solar hydrogen generation technology is powered by a tandem perovskite-silicon solar cell with an unprecedented high open-circuit voltage of 1.271 V, and a power conversion efficiency of 24.3%.

The sci-fi future of EVs: vehicles could become the grid

Electric vehicles could autonomously transport electrons between where they’re generated and where they’re needed based on algorithms and smart software, predicts JET Charge CEO Tim Washington. Such a future, he admits, is “pretty sci-fi” and still a while off.

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