With its high wholesale power prices, attractiveness to capital, wide open spaces and abundant sunshine, there is every reason to believe Australia is a PV project developer’s nirvana. However, as the wreckage at the 55 MW Oakey 2 site in Queensland reveals, challenges under the Australian sun should not be taken lightly.
Yates Electrical Services, through its newly-formed retail arm YES Energy, is using automatic dispatching technology on its 40 MW solar fleet to avoid export during periods of negative prices. German monitoring provider Meteocontrol has introduced its new Remote Power Control feature to Australia, with YES Energy reporting that it has allowed it to “seamlessly” curtail production when required.
The capacity of Neoen’s Hornsdale Power Reserve is being expanded by 50%, through the addition of 50MW/64.5 MWh of Tesla batteries. Having attracted an $8 million ARENA grant, $15 million in state funding, and $50 million in project financing from the CEFC, owner Neoen expects the $71 million battery expansion and upgrade project to be completed by mid 2020.
Abundant sunshine, favorable policy settings and high power prices have long placed Australia at the cutting edge of rooftop solar uptake. The more recent utility-scale boom has further enhanced its status as a PV leader. Battery adoption, microgrids, EVs and green hydrogen are all taking shape, yet what should be an Aussie smart energy no-brainer continues to be dogged by mounting investment uncertainty and a toxic debate on the national level.
Reports from, of all places, Youtube indicate that the Hornsdale Power Reserve is set for a major expansion. Tesla Powerpacks have been spotted being hauled to the battery site, with the reported volume of the deliveries totaling some 500-600 Tesla Powerpacks – indicating that the battery’s capacity is being ramped up.
The Western Australian government is looking to retrain 100 electricity network workers in the installation and maintenance of standalone power systems. Solar and storage systems could replace large parts of the state’s electricity network and WA’s utilities are looking to reskill its workforce for the transition.
Chinese module supplier and project developer Risen Energy has increased its module warranty for its modules sold into the rooftop segment to 15 years. Representing an increase of three years, the warranty still trails the 25-year warranty covering modules from suppliers such as LG or Q Cells.
Chinese module giant Jinko Solar chose Australia for the launch of its Tiger module series, at the All-Energy show in late October. The Tiger incorporates three innovations, but perhaps most notably a tiled module configuration – sometimes referred to as paved. pv magazine Australia caught up with Jeff Zhou, Jinko’s Director Product Management to find out what makes it purr.
Australia’s rooftop segment is a world beater. But there remain problems with quality, and installations and the components not living up to some of the claims of suppliers, says SMA’s John Susa. The Executive Vice President Global Sales and Service for the company is in Melbourne for All-Energy Australia and he says it‘s time for real-world performance of components to live up to claims on their data sheets.
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