South Australia is Home to a New Solar Power Research Centre

Solar Panel

The facility is situated at the vehicle factory of Precision Components in Edinburgh Parks. It has 25 heliostats and a 16-metre -tall concentrated solar PV receiver.

Heliostats centre sunlight onto a central receiving tower and depending on the kind of receiver unit, either heat or a variety of fluids can be utilised to produce steam in order to power turbines and generate electricity. The sunlight can also be changed into electricity directly by making use of a high-efficiency cell receiver, such as the ones used to power satellites in space.

This future generation solar power technology will be essential in the development of renewable power sources locally and internationally. This innovation aims to deliver more stable energy production especially when every innovation in renewable energy systems is important.

Peter Murphy, the Lead Researcher and Industry Professor at UniSA’s Future Industries Institute, said that the design challenges in creating a heliostat surface that could endure all the environment can deliver are nearly the same as some of the challenges in designing the car mirror.

Professor Murphy stated, “Heliostats need to withstand heat, cold, rain, UV light exposure, and abrasion by sand, often in harsh, arid environments. To be really effective, they must have a lifetime of 25 to 30 years and that presents a huge set of challenges at a macro and nanoscale.”

South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill mentioned that the new facility and the research and development initiatives being done in partnership with UniSa proves that South Australia leads in the national transformation for technologies developed for the renewable energy sector.

He said, “Working in partnership with Precision Components, a company previously servicing the automotive industry, the two companies demonstrate a successful diversification from a manufacturing skill base into other industry sectors. There is huge potential for growth in South Australia’s renewables sector. Heliostat has an impressive plan to develop a $1.6 million new tracking system that would create 33 construction and more than 90 ongoing jobs.”

Click here for the full report.

Salary Packages in Solar Industry on the Rise – Survey

Solar Installation

The improvement was revealed in the first Renewable Energy Salary Survey, which also indicated the growing market for clean energy, Energy Matters website reported.

According to the survey, the average yearly full-time salary package in the renewable industry is approximately around $140,000, with a third earning annual salaries of $60,000 to $99,999. It also reflects a higher level of worker confidence in the renewable sector.

The survey, wherein 400 people participated, was conducted by Cranfield Projects in collaboration with EcoGeneration and backed up by data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) from 2015 to 216.

ABS said that prospects for years 2016 to 2017 are increasing due to larger investments, implementation of large-scale projects, and higher demand for solar batteries.

The survey results also indicated, “Some participants had speculated that the salary levels do not match to other industries, such as mining, oil, and gas. However, many believe these remuneration levels ‘will change and are changing’ to become higher and acceptable by the employees.”

It also concluded that salary packages are significant factors in order to attract more qualified professionals in the renewable energy sector.

Only 14 percent of the respondents said that they have received a year-on-year pay increase larger than or equal to 10 percent. More than 65 percent of them think the increase in their salaries does not align with their experience in the industry.

Higher-ranked employees such as Energy analyst, Director, and Sales Manager with three to five years experience working in the clean energy industry believe that salary levels may be low because of the growing competition in the job market.

The survey also stated, “Some respondents who were satisfied with salary levels nevertheless were critical of the government and its efforts in the effective deployment of renewable energy policies. Some responses realised that many passionate people ‘lining up to be involved in the industry’ although it is often hampered by ‘unstable short-term-thinking government energy policies,’ negativity in the mainstream media, and the ‘irresponsible government policy vacuum.”

Read the full report here.

Australia Sees Record Levels of Investment for Renewables

Wind Farm

As written on the website of the CEC, Kane Thornton, Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, stated that 41 new renewable energy projects have been confirmed this year. These projects give way for a remarkable surge of investment which amounts to more than $8 billion, generate an estimated 4,680 new jobs, and create notable economic benefits for local businesses.

Thornton said, “These 41 projects will deliver over 4330MW of new capacity, which is crucial to increasing supply in the energy market, replacing old coal-fired generation that continues to close and ensuring downward pressure on power prices.”

“Private investors have committed to 26 projects currently under construction, with another 14 securing finance and expected to commence construction in 2017. It is incredible to see the shift in conversation and action around and in the industry. In addition, there is a strong uptake of rooftop solar systems from Australian homes and businesses, expected to deliver over 1000MW of capacity worth over $2 billion during 2017. This combined investment in power generation in this country’s history,” he added.

He also praised the combined effort of state and territory governments, as well as the government agencies, of initiating and supporting such projects. Thornton also expressed that the 2020 Renewable Energy Target is now within reach because of the various institutions and organisations’ support.

Thornton further mentioned, “We have already seen six times the investment value in 2017 of what we saw in 2016, and the new capacity will also help with energy security. In 2016, the combined capacity from all projects completed stood at 264.1 MW. This year, 2210.2 MW of projects have been committed and 1881.2 MW are in construction with a whole financial quarter still to go.”

For the full report and breakdown of the projects committed this year, click this link.

Samsung Batteries Selected for New Large Battery Storage in South Australia

Wind Farm

Renew Economy reported on its website that the contract was awarded last week to the Consolidated Power Projects by ElectraNet. The former will work with Samsung and ABB, an international energy firm, to complete the project.

The said installation will be located near the Dalrymple sub-station and the AGL Energy-owned 90MW wattle Point wind farm. It will amount to approximately $30 million with $12 million contribution from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

The primary use of the project is to provide fast frequency response services in case of a fault. Also, the battery installation will be able to become a backup power if there is a blackout, which could produce a renewable energy based micro-grid. In 2016, Andy Vesey of AGL expressed that this is the best method to guarantee reliable supply.

ElectraNet CEO Steve Masters said, “The South Australian energy mix and landscape has significantly changed in the recent years and this project will help the State to adapt to this change. The battery will demonstrate how energy storage can strengthen the grid and improve reliability for the lower Yorke Peninsula.”

He added, “It will work with AGL’s existing 90MW Wattle Point Wind Farm and rooftop solar PV to provide backup power in the event of any interruption to supply from the grid until the grid is restored. These learnings will be applicable in the future to other potential grid locations.”

The battery storage system is anticipated to be fully operational by May 2018. It is also considered as one of the large-scale battery systems located in South Australia.

Read the full article here.

Tritium Drives EV Charger Production with New Manufacturing Facility in Brisbane

Electric Car Charging

A report from the Renew Economy website states that the manufacturing capability of Tritium, which was founded by a group of University of Queensland students more than a decade ago, will increase due to the new facility.

Tritium CEO, David Finn, claimed that it is just the beginning of the electric vehicle industry. He figures the EV charging sector will amount to $100 billion and is set that his company gets its fair share. Tritium already has 20 to 25 percent of the 50kW public charging network in the United States and Europe. However, further addition in manufacturing will likely require facilities nearer to the target markets.

Finn told Renew Economy, “This facility is extremely important to us. It has allowed us to fine-tune our production process, and make sure we are hitting the quality we want. But within 5 years, this will small output in production capacity, and we will need to be closer to our core markets.”

On Wednesday, the Queensland government drafted its EV strategy titled “The Future is Electric: Queensland’s Electric Vehicle Strategy.” The local government is also installing an “electric superhighway,” has offered discounts on stamp duty and registration, and is considering to shift the government vehicles to electric vehicles and place charging stations at its establishments.

Also, the draft indicated that the fuel bill in Queensland was at $55.6 billion and supply was completely reliant on imported fuel. It further stated, “Queensland alone cannot reduce the global price of Evs, however, the state can, in collaboration with the Federal and other state governments, take actions that improve EV pricing in Australia.”

Electric Vehicle Council’s Behyad Jafari expressed that Australia is a slow starter with only 0.1 percent of new EV sales. “Today, Queensland has lit the way forward the nation. The benefit of this leadership to Queensland businesses, households, and the environment will be significant in the years ahead. The benefits of electric vehicles are so clear that all that is needed is a little support from the government to dislodge the boulder from the top of the mountain.”

Read the complete report here.

CEC Accepts 50th Solar Company into the Solar Retailer Code of Conduct Program

Solar panels

The 50th solar company has been accepted into the Clean Energy Council’s (CEC) Solar Retailer Code of Conduct as the Council continues to establish critical mass in order to provide Australians with more reputable solar companies options.

A report published on the website of Clean Energy Council mentioned that the code of conduct was introduced to provide consumers the freedom to select a company whom they think can assist them in buying a solar power system. And now that there are more solar retailers in the program, it can lead to a great impact for both the consumers and industry.

On Tuesday, Kane Thornton, the Chief Executive at the Clean Energy Council, said, “Today we celebrate an important milestone with the 50th company, Power Saver Centre Canberra, being accepted into the ACCC-authorised program. A solar power system is a big investment for any family, and we understand choosing the right system can be a confusing process.”

Thornton added, “The Approved Solar Retailers accepted into the program offer a minimum five-year whole-of-system warranty and have committed to excellence in customer service and ethical marketing practices. The Solar Retailer Code of Conduct takes a lot of the worry out of installing a solar power system. The bar for entry is set high to protect consumers, and currently, we knock back about as many companies from the code of conduct as we accept.”

He also emphasized the value of solar power in Australia. According to him, “Solar power is a great answer to rising power prices, as more than 1.7 million Australian households will testify. We want to make sure that people invest in this fantastic technology with no regrets.”

Initially introduced in 2013, the Solar Retailer Code of Conduct is the lone program of its kind and is accredited by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The program was created through the input of the solar industry experts, energy user associations, consumer groups, regulators, and legal advisors.

The original article can be read here.

Logan City Council Saves Costs by Utilising Single Tesla Powerpack

Solar Panels on Roof

On Wednesday, the local government council said that it had adapted solar power and the commercial-scale battery technology of Tesla to seek a good, safe water disinfection system in the city.

As Renew Economy reports, the Logan Water Infrastructure Alliance and CSR Bradford, a solar installer, delivered the solution. The solution integrates a 95kWH Powerpack from Tesla with a 323 PV panels at the 20 Megalitre Round Mountain Reservoir. The reservoir is a source of drinking water for the residents in areas such as Spring Mountain, Woodhill, Flagstone, Yarrabilba, and North Maclean.

To date, the council claims that the off-grid system has resulted in a $1.9 million capital cost saving and $50,000 operational cost savings annually. It is also expected to provide a safe water supply to approximately 200,000 people once the region is fully developed.

Mayor Luke Smith of Logan City stated, “This is set to be one of the fastest growing areas in South-East Queensland over the next two decades, but with that growth comes the issue of building assets larger than are needed right now.”

Mayor Smith added, “The reservoir site is not connected to mains power or accessible via a sealed road, so an innovative approach was required to maintain water quality from the reservoir.”

Other local governments in Australia are also considering solar and battery storage in order to aid in powering their water supply and treatment infrastructure.

Ashleigh O’Brien, the CSR Bradford Business Manager, mentioned that the project was the first ever commercial battery and solar system in Australia powered by Tesla Powerpack. “CSR Bradford is incredibly proud to be playing its part in providing a solution which will see solar and battery technology play a greater role for commercial assets.”

Click here for the full report.

Poll Results Show New England Supports Clean Energy Investment

Solar panels in roof

The poll was done with more than 1,000 voters in the Deputy Prime Minister’s New South Wales electorate as respondents. The constituents who took part in the poll conducted by The Australia Institute showed their support to clean energy such as solar hot water and home battery storage.

In a press release published on the website of The Australian Institute, Ebony Bennett, the Deputy Director of The Australia Institute stated, “Sixty percent of voters in New England think the Turnbull government should introduce a Clean Energy Target.”

Also, the poll determined that a majority blamed the Federal Coalition Government for the present uncertainty in energy policy. Bennett added, “Most, 33 percent in Hughes and 30 percent in New England, held the Federal Government responsible for the energy mess. Just 6 percent in Hughes and 8 percent in New England think the states are to blame. And when it comes to what the government should invest in, respondents in these two blue-ribbon Coalition electorates favoured renewables over coal, just like voters across the country, including in coal country.”

A report on the Energy Matters website presented a summary of the results for every category that was included in the poll:

  1. Clean energy target – 59.7% believed that the Government should present a Clean Energy Target while 24.1% voted no, and 16.2% said they were unsure.
  2. Present energy uncertainty – 30% of the respondents think that the Federal Government should be blamed for the current energy uncertainty while 8% thinks the state governments should be the ones responsible.
  3. Energy investment type – Majority of the respondents (50.6%) responded that the government should invest in renewables, 36.7% preferred coal, and 12.7% were uncertain.

The support for renewables, including solar panel and wind installations, was steady across age groups. Females also favoured clean energy investment more than the male respondents.

Read the full report here.

Solar PV will be Leading Provider of World’s Electricity by 2050- Report

Solar Panel

The report also presents a regional forecast of the energy transition until 2050 and hints on an era of abundant and cleaner energy in the world, the Solar Council website reports.

Some of the major findings of the report regarding the trending energy systems include the following:

  • By 2050, electricity consumption will increase by 140 percent. Coal and oil will show slight increases in consumption.
  • Approximately 85 percent of electricity production worldwide will come from renewable sources by 2050. A third of the world’s electricity will be provided by solar PV followed by onshore wind, hydropower, and offshore wind.

However, the report also mentions that Australia is not currently showing a positive future when it comes to meeting the climate objectives of the Paris agreement.

The CEO at DNV GL – Energy, Ditlev Engel, stated, “Our report shows that the energy industry, more than any other, has the power and knowledge to manage the world’s carbon budget in a smarter way.”

He further added, “Until 2050, the electricity share of energy demand will grow from 18 percent to 40 percent yet this transformation is not happening fast enough. Speeding up the acceleration of electrifying sectors like heat and transport will be one vital measure to put the brakes on global warming.”

Furthermore, Engel said that the climate challenge is a governance challenge and has asked all stakeholders to utilise the electrification of their operations.

The report also presented various probable actions which can be achieved locally and globally. Some of these include the following:

  • Greater and earlier adoption of renewables
  • Greater and earlier electrification of heat and transport
  • Greater improvements in energy efficiency
  • Change in personal behaviour

The full report can be found here.

Vietnamese Community in Victoria Gets Solar Power Grant

Solar Panel

It was recently announced by the Labor Government that the Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association (AVWA), together with the Yarra Energy Foundation, would get funding from the second round of the $20 million NEJF.

A press statement published on the website of the Victoria State Government mentioned that the aim of the project is to boost the uptake of renewable energy by making use of the Vietnamese language to encourage nearly 86,000 residents and businesses in the Vietnamese community.

According to Lily D’Ambrosio, the Minister for Energy, Environment, and Climate Change, the particular project would also extend financing options to aid the community members in acquiring solar energy.

The applicants to the second round of the $20 million New Energy Jobs Fund provided the Labor Government with innovative ideas for projects that would help achieve a clean energy future and support in placing Victoria as a leader in adapting and achieving new energy technologies.

The press release also stated, “The fund is a key component of our $200 million Future Industries Fund to support high growth, high-value industries, such as the new energy technologies sector that are critical to securing Victoria’s future as a competitive, innovative, and outward-looking economy.”

The New Energy Jobs Fund is just one of the various methods of the Labor Government to assist businesses and communities in Victoria to develop projects that could help in generating jobs and back up a clean energy future.

For the second round of the NEJF, the Labor Government has received 50 applications which yielded to having 21 successful projects with an accumulated total of $6.7 million in grants.

The Minister for Energy, Environment, and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio stated, “This project combines the AVWA’s expertise in translation and community engagement with the Yarra Energy Foundation’s track record in delivering solar projects. Renewable energy is vital to Victoria’s energy future – making energy supplies cleaner, attracting investment, and creating jobs.”

To read the press release, click this link.