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Alinta gets regulatory approval for W.A.’s biggest wind farm

Alinta gets regulatory approval for W.A.’s biggest wind farm

By Giles Parkinson – RenewEconomy – 23 May 2019

Alinta Energy has won regulatory approval for the 212MW Yandin project 150kms north of Perth, which will be the biggest wind farm in Western Australia and one of the most efficient in the country.

The Economic Regulatory Authority on Wednesday said the project had been approved to proceed, and would likely begin construction in July. It received no submissions against the proposal to construct 51 Vestas turbines, each with a capacity of 4.2MW and standing 180 metres high. It is located near the Brand Highway near the town of Dandaragan.

The wind farm is predicted to have a “capacity factor” of around 50 per cent, putting it among the most efficient in the country, and at 212MW it will beat the 207MW Collgar wind farm near Merredin as the biggest in the state.

It also continues the rush of new development in the past two years since the demise of the former conservative government and a three-year investment drought for large scale renewables.

Construction will be undertaken by Decmil, which won the contract in April.

“We’re pleased to receive the generation licence from the Economic Regulation Authority,” a spokesman for Alinta said in an emailed statement. “It’s obviously another step in the right direction.

“The project is on track, and with construction plans and the appointment of contractors firmed up, we’ll become more active at the site from July.

“We’ll also engage with the local community to update them on our plans and seek their feedback.”

Energy Stuff specialises in Residential Solar with emphasis on Repairs, Replacements and upgrades. We also provide new systems, battery storage, Small Commercial, Off-Grid systems and smart monitoring systems. Energy Stuff is a Clean Energy Council Member and only uses CEC accredited installers. We fully comply with the Victorian Govt. Solar Rebate Program and we are supporting clients in their applications to the new scheme starting July 1st 2019.

For further information please call us on 1300 656 205 or go to our website at http://www.energystuff.com.au

Tesla’s trumpeted solar shingles are a flop

By James Temple – MIT Technology Review – 15 May 2019

Tesla’s 2016 acquisition of SolarCity is looking worse and worse. And its $1 billion solar gigafactory in Buffalo, New York, which the state built, subsidized, and equipped for SolarCity, seems to be primarily operating as a Panasonic plant.

The news: The overwhelming majority of the solar cells produced at the facility are now being sold overseas rather than being used in Tesla’s “Solar Roof” photovoltaic product, according to a Reuters report on Wednesday, citing a letter to US customs officials from Panasonic, Tesla’s partner on the plant.

That product was designed to resemble rooftop shingles with solar cells embedded inside, an effort to differentiate the offering in the commodity solar panel business. But the line appears to have been a flop. California’s utilities have connected only 21 such systems, according to state data obtained by the news service. And just “a few” were installed in the Northeast, Reuters reported, citing an anonymous former employee.

In the more than two years since Tesla acquired SolarCity, its overall solar installations have plummeted by more than 76%.

A Tesla spokesperson told Reuters it’s “actively installing” the Solar Roof product in eight states but declined to discuss its purchases from Panasonic or provide overall installation numbers.

The background: Tesla bought SolarCity for $2.6 billion in late 2016, in a deal that was heavily criticized because of SolarCity’s huge debt load and Tesla chief executive Elon Musk’s connections to the company. He had been the chairman of SolarCity and is a cousin of the cofounders, Peter and Lyndon Rive, both of whom have since left.

Soon after, Tesla unveiled the Solar Roof line, a marked shift from the business model of SolarCity, which primarily sold and installed rooftop solar panels produced by Chinese manufacturers. Tesla also struck a deal to buy custom solar cells for its products from Panasonic, which in turn agreed to invested $250 million into the gigafactory and set up its own production line there.

The subcontract also provided a way to help Tesla achieve hiring commitments required as part of the state’s $750 million in subsidies. But it still appears likely to fall short of the nearly 1,500 employees required by 2020, which would trigger financial penalties and has already prompted sharp criticisms of the deal by some state legislators.

Solar struggles: Tesla has been struggling to get production up and running, and gain ground in a solar space dominated by low-cost panels produced overseas, primarily in China.

Last year, Tesla ended its months-old retail partnership with Home Depot, and shuttered a number of solar installation facilities. It’s reportedly cut thousands of workers in its solar division since the acquisition. The team also faced difficulties with the appearance and performance of the Solar Roof tiles.

A Bloomberg article late last year said Tesla was operating just one production line at the Buffalo factory, rather than the multiple lines that were supposed to be running at that stage.

The piece also noted that Panasonic’s production is distinct from Tesla, set up on the other side of the building, despite Tesla’s portrayal of the deal as a close collaboration. While Panasonic has been making Solar Roof cells, Tesla “took issue with their aesthetics and cost” and had turned to a Chinese supplier as well, Bloomberg reported, citing several sources.

It’s unclear precisely how many solar cells, roof tiles, or panels Tesla is now producing itself or acquiring from Panasonic. But it’s likely a small fraction of the one gigawatt of solar capacity a year that the company initially boasted the factory would produce (see “10 Breakthrough Technologies 2016: SolarCity’s Gigafactory”).

Energy Stuff provides a full range of new smart solar systems which can include battery ready inverters or systems with integrated battery storage. All our systems come with smart energy management to provide real time monitoring and energy efficiencies. Finance options are available, simply ask our knowledgeable staff for details.

For further information call 1300 656 205 or go to our website at

https://ongrid.energystuff.com.au/new-solar-system/

Ikea to begin the sale of solar modules in Sweden

Written by Emiliano Bellini / PV Magazine / 9 May 2019

By 2025, the furniture giant plans to offer solar panels worldwide at its stores. The company is in negotiation with potential partners and a supplier for the sale of PV panels in Sweden, which is planned to start in the autumn.

Ikea, the world’s largest furniture retailer, will begin the sale of its “Solstrale” PV modules in its domestic market after the summer.

The Swedish multinational said it intends to benefit from the lessons learnt from its sales of solar panels in Germany – where it has encountered problems with a consumer watchdog – and from ItalyBelgium, Holland and Poland.

“The positive development of recent years, not least with simplified regulations and better profitability, has meant that the conditions for investing in solar panels in Sweden today are very good,” said Jonas Carlehed, sustainability manager for Ikea Group in Sweden.

The Swedish government has improved regulations for solar in the past two years and has increased the budget for rooftop PV rebates several times.

Ikea said it is in negotiations with potential suppliers and partners for the Solstrale offer in Sweden. Finding the right partner may help the retailer avoid issues such as those encountered in Germany, where consumer association Verbraucherzentrale NRW said Ikea’s advertising campaign to promote its solar offer was misleading as it did not sufficiently outline the different roles played by Ikea and its partner Solarcentury Microgen (Germany) GmbH.

Ambitious plans

In its statement, Ikea added it is planning to expand Solstrale sales to all its markets by 2025. “We want to help our customers to produce their own renewable energy at home which is good both for the climate and the wallet,” the company said.

Ikea also sells PV modules in Switzerland and the U.K.

In a recent interview with Signe Antvorskov Krag – global development leader for Ikea’s Home Solar business – pv magazine editor Becky Beetz discussed the flat-pack furniture retailer’s PV business model.

The team at Energy Stuff pride themselves on providing our customers with a ‘Smart” solar system with full system monitoring.  A solar PV system without monitoring would be like a car without a dashboard. For example, the SolarEdge monitoring platform provides free, real-time visibility into the performance of each panel on your roof. Access is available from any computer or mobile device, anytime, anywhere.

For further information please call us on 1300 656 205 or go to our website at http://www.energystuff.com.au

Federal Election 2019: Charging an electric car with solar panels could take up to five days

Written by Lanai Scarr / The West Australian / 10 May 2019

Labor’s plans to have Australians charge their electric vehicles via solar panels on their rooftops could see some cars take up to five days to fully charge.

The West Australian can reveal an analysis of some of the electric vehicles available on the market and how long they would take to charge if a familyrelied solely on a 5kW solar panel system – the typical set up for a standard household.

A Hyundai Ioniq, which has the smallest battery available on the market, would take 1.4 days to charge, assuming a 5kW home solar system that produced 20 kWh of electricity without any battery storage.

A Nissan Leaf would take two days to fully charge and a Tesla Model S would take five days.

A family could charge a vehicle in six hours overnight using home solar, but only if they installed a home EV charging station ($1500), a 10kW solar panel system (between $10,000 and $14,000) and a $30,000 home battery system (2 x 18 kWh batteries).

In a transport strategy document released by the Queensland Labor government in March it encouraged charging via a home solar set up.

“Operating costs are 65 per cent lower than traditional cars, potentially making EVs a more affordable transport option in the long-term,” the document stated.

“Charging using a home solar system would reduce (operating costs) to almost zero.”

Bill Shorten last night did not deny home solar charging was part of his plan to achieve Labor’s target of 50 per cent of all new vehicles to be electric by 2030.

Premier Mark McGowan also would not rule out support for home solar-only charging when approached by The West Australian.


Labor want to encourage people to use solar powered roof panels to charge their electric vehicles.Picture: Supplied

Mr Shorten has previously claimed electric vehicles would take just 8-10 minutes to charge.

“Oh, it can take … it depends on what your original charge is, but it can take … 8 to 10 minutes depending on your charge, it can take longer … ” Mr Shorten told Sydney radio Kyle and Jackie O last month.

However even using a specialized home charging unit from the electricity grid, a full charge at home would take a minimum of two hours.

The Coalition would like to see natural take up of electric vehicles increase to up to 18 per cent of new car sales by 2030.

Chief Executive of the Australian Automobile Association, Michael Bradley, said it was important whoever won government that they supported motorists.

“Any transition to widespread use of electric vehicles can only be successful if a wide range of complementary transport, emissions and energy policies are put in place,” Mr Bradley said.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor last night said Labor had not done its homework on its signature policies.

“It is impractical to expect Australian families to charge their EV’s off their rooftop solar,” Mr Taylor said.

“Australians would either need to leave their vehicles at home all day to charge, or invest in an expensive battery and solar set up. This is yet another example of Labor not doing their homework on their reckless policies.”

A Labor spokeswoman said: “The Liberals don’t believe in climate change, that’s why they resort to spreading lies and running hopeless scare campaigns.”

Energy Stuff provides a full range of new smart solar systems which can include battery ready inverters or systems with integrated battery storage. All our systems come with smart energy management to provide real time monitoring and energy efficiencies. Finance options are available, simply ask our knowledgeable staff for details.

For further information call 1300 656 205 or go to our website at

https://ongrid.energystuff.com.au/new-solar-system/

Musk’s radical rethink of electric transport, and the value of Tesla and its cars

Written by Giles Parkinson / The Driven / 6 May 2019

Three figures stood out late last week when Tesla CEO Elon Musk invited us to rethink the future of electric transport, and the worth of Tesla cars and the company itself.

Musk has already turned the trillion-dollar automotive industry on its head, and served notice to the multi-trillion fossil fuel suppliers by making EV driving the ultimate experience on the way to kicking fossil fuels out of the economy.

Now he is inviting us to imagine a world of shared autonomy – where fleets of robo-taxis could soon become the default mode of transport, particularly in big cities. And, he suggests (along with likes of Stanford’s Tony Seba) this could within just a few years.

Autonomy, Musk says, and particularly Tesla’s proprietary self driving chip, is so far ahead of the rest of the crowd that it could make the company worth $US500 billion ($A711 billion) – more than 10 times its current value of $US42 billion.

And it could even make individual Tesla cars worth significantly more than what the customers paid for them, on the basis that they could serve part time or full time in those autonomous fleets.

In fact, Musk suggested in a closed-door investor call late last week, as self-driving capabilities are added via software, the value of any Tesla could rise by a half order of magnitude, or five times, CNBC reported. The net present value of a single Tesla car, Musk said last week could be $US200,000.

Skeptical analysts scoffed at the idea, saying Musk is overpromising again, because he doesn’t deliver on his promised timelines. This has been the default position of naysayers and the self interested short-sellers – as it has been since the day Tesla stock first jumped into the stratosphere, daring to challenge the powerful incumbents, a move some say is still doomed to fail.

But consider this. One of the big take-outs of Tesla’s autonomy day – held (quite deliberately) just two days before the company’s big quarterly loss announcement and a week before its $3 billion fund raising – was just how far Tesla is ahead of its rivals on some aspects of self-driving and full autonomy.

It is impossible for anyone to gauge just who will win this race, but everyone acknowledges now that the race is on – and like every other technology development, it will happen quicker than anyone thinks, not withstanding the considerable legal, regulatory and ethical problems that will arise.

But as for costs and efficiency, analysts at Morgan Stanley noted that the Tesla “chips” installed in its cars create a “neural network” and machine learning from an un-matched data base that in turn will enable it deliver self-driving capabilities at maybe 1/200th of the price of most of its rivals.

What’s that figure again? 1/200th. (One two hundredth).

“We believe Tesla has at least comparable full self driving technology at between 1/100th and 1/200th the cost of many peers demonstrating exquisite, Lidar-encrusted robot taxis,” the Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a report.

“To be clear, we estimate Tesla’s vision based sensor and compute hardware solution costs around $1k/car vs. other L5 autonomous prototypes with $100k to $200k of hardware cost per unit or more.”

Tesla expects to have one million such cars on the road and ready to take part in a robo-fleet as early as next year. It’s not clear where that will happen. Musk says “somewhere in the world”, but Morgan Stanley notes there is a lot of work to be done before Musk can get his robo-fleet operating on the streets.

For one,  Musk claims Tesla self driving is twice as safe as human driving. Great, but for regulators to give approval, for insurers to come on board and force the hand of governments and consumers, self driving is going to have to be a lot safer than that.

Even a few accidents with robo-cars will create an extraordinary amount of media and legal pressure, so Tesla – or any other company, for that matter – will have to deliver on what it promises to be a significant improvement. It will need to be near faultless.

The reaction of the Morgan Stanley analysts when they went on a self-driving excursion in a Tesla was interesting.

  1. “The biggest differentiator, in our view, is that Tesla conducted a complete, fully autonomous 20 minute test drive including on-highway and off-highway suburban streets without Lidar.
  2. “Was it perfect? No. Did the driver have to manually intervene/disengage autopilot? On our drive, yes – one time when the car was about to miss a right-hand turn on a ramp. Did I feel safe? Yes. Would I want to fall asleep behind the wheel while in autopilot? Not yet.”

Still, this is a reminder of just how quickly transport will change over the next decade. Musk is confident enough to predict that Tesla will be making cars without steering wheels or pedals within a few years.

Even now, if you lease one of Tesla cars – a popular form of purchase – you will not be able to buy it. Tesla will be buying it, to add to its own proprietary fleet. If you do buy it, then the options for sharing and putting it into the autonomous fleet will vary (see blow).

Musk insists that Lidar – favoured by the likes of GM’s Cruise and the Google spin-off Waymo – will be dumped by the other car makers as they consider their costs. Tesla cars use cameras rather than lasers.

“It is financially insane to buy anything other than a Tesla,” Musk said, comparing the purchase of an electric vehicle without self driving capability to that of buying a horse when vehicles first took hold.

Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he? But what if he is right? Stanford University’s Tony Seba has long predicted the radical re-shaping of electric transport, and autonomy and shared, or common ownership.

Seba says that by 2025, all new cars sold in major markets will be electric. He has suggested that by 2030, individuals (particularly those in cities), may not even own a car, because shared ownership and full autonomy will deliver such cheap and convenient travel.

Musk will likely be first to deliver that scenario at the costs anticipated, just as he opened up the EV market place and allowed governments to imagine cities freed of their vehicle pollution.

Still, investors are not getting too far ahead of themselves just yet.

The Morgan Stanley analysts noted they had been criticised over their $10 billion valuation of GM’s Cruise division as being too low. At the same time, “we have long received investor pushback for being too aggressive for ascribing a value of Tesla’s automated fleet network business greater than $0.”

Time will tell.

Energy Stuff specialises in Residential Solar with emphasis on Repairs, Replacements and upgrades. We also provide new systems, battery storage, Small Commercial, Off-Grid systems and smart monitoring systems. Energy Stuff only uses CEC accredited installers and we fully comply with the Victorian Govt. Solar Rebate Program.

For further information please call us on 1300 656 205 or go to our website at http://www.energystuff.com.au

New type of silicon promises cheaper solar technology

Phys Org / 25 April 2019

An international research team led by The Australian National University (ANU) has made a new type of silicon that better uses sunlight and promises to cut the cost of solar technology.

The researchers say their world-first invention could help reduce the costs of renewable electricity below that of existing coal power stations, as well as lead to more efficient solar cells.

Senior researcher ANU Professor Jodie Bradby said silicon was used as the raw material for solar cells because of its abundance, low-cost and non-toxicity.

“But the standard form of silicon does not use all available sunlight,” Professor Bradby said.

“Just by poking silicon with a tiny hard tip, we’ve created a more complex silicon capable of absorbing more sunlight than the standard type commonly used in solar cells.

“We have proved that we can easily make this new kind of silicon—previously thought unobtainable under normal room temperature and pressure—which could be used for making more efficient solar cells and lead to cheaper energy.”

Dr. Sherman Wong, who worked on the study for his Ph.D. at ANU, is the first author of the paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

He said the team was exploring a little-known property of silicon—its ability to exist in different crystal forms.

“Silicon can also take many crystal forms that have different and useful properties,” said Dr. Wong, who is now at RMIT University.

“The new type of silicon we’ve created is called r8-Si. Instead of the atoms being square or cubic like in standard silicon, it’s more complex—shaped a bit like a diamond on playing cards, only it’s in 3-D.

“It’s an exciting field and there is a multi-billion dollar industry built around silicon manufacturing, so silicon is a super important material that’s worth optimising.”

Professor Bradby said the team would use unique high-pressure facilities at ANU to develop ways of making enough material to produce a prototype solar cell.

“We now need to measure how well this material absorbs light and behaves electrically,” she said.

“We also need to scale up and then work on integrating this material into existing solar industries. This will take another three to five years.”

The shape and complexity of the r8-Si was measured using X-ray diffraction at the Advanced Photon Source in the United States. The study was conducted with a large group of colleagues at the University of Melbourne and several overseas organisations.

Energy Stuff specialises in Residential Solar with emphasis on Repairs, Replacements and upgrades. We also provide new systems, battery storage, Small Commercial, Off-Grid systems and smart monitoring systems. Energy Stuff only uses CEC accredited installers and we fully comply with the Victorian Govt. Solar Rebate Program.

For further information please call us on 1300 656 205 or go to our website at http://www.energystuff.com.au


Australians Backing Electric Vehicles

Written by Michael Bloch / SQ Blog / 17 April 2019

Results from two recent polls indicate many Australians are on board with accelerating an electric vehicle revolution across the nation.

Early this month, Labor announced its National Electric Vehicle (EV) policy; elements of which include:

  • A national electric vehicle target of 50 per cent of new car sales by 2030.
  • A government electric vehicle target of 50 per cent of new purchases and leases of passenger vehicles by 2025.
  • Provision of an upfront tax deduction to purchase electric vehicles for business purposes.
  • All federally-funded road upgrades to incorporate electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Labor’s EV policy may have the Coalition frothing at the mouth, but it seems the Coalition is again out of touch with what Australians think – and even Labor may have underestimated the desire for EVs. The interest in electric cars is looking very much like the interest in solar power in the early days, or more recently, solar batteries.

News.com.au reports a YouGov Galaxy online survey of 861 eligible voters taken between April 10 and 11 found 62 per cent of respondents either supported Labor’s EV policy or thought it should go even further. Approximately 68 per cent either own or expect to buy an electric car in the future. Full results of the survey were yet to appear on the YouGov site at the time of publishing.

50% Support 100% EV New Car Sales By 2025

Last week, The Australia Institute (TAI) published results from a poll indicating half of voting Australians support shifting all sales of new vehicles to electric vehicles by 2025, with just 28% opposed.

62% also supported a government-led program to an electrically charged transport system – including 55% of Coalition voters, 71% of Labor voters, 78% Greens voters, and 54% ‘other’ voters. Only 16% of respondents were opposed to this idea.

“Instead of driving Australia backwards by preserving our gas-guzzlers, any future Government should look to the fine example of countries like Norway who already reached 50% of new car registrations as EVs in 2018 by using popular public incentives to accelerate electric vehicle uptake,” said TAI Climate & Energy Program Director Richie Merzian.

Details of how Norway has achieved this can be found in this TAI report.

“Our Nordic Policy Centre report shows with the right policy settings from Government, citizens are more than willing to purchase electric vehicles over a petrol car.”

The Australia Institute survey was conducted with 1,536 people between 20 February 2019 and 4 March 2019.

Energy Stuff provides a full range of new smart solar systems which can include battery ready inverters or systems with integrated battery storage. All our systems come with smart energy management to provide real time monitoring and energy efficiencies. Finance options are available, simply ask our knowledgeable staff for details.

For further information call 1300 656 205 or go to our website at

https://ongrid.energystuff.com.au/new-solar-system/

Jinko Solar takes out fifth consecutive award for panel yield

Published on EcoGeneration / 18 April 2019

Jinko Solar has won its fifth All Quality Matters Award for PV Module Energy Yield Simulation (Mono Group) at the Solar Congress 2019 organized by TÜV Rheinland.

Evaluation of energy yield simulation is based on performance testing of samples randomly selected from mass production under global conditions that range from irradiance of 100-1100W/m2 and temperatures of 15-75°C.

JinkoSolar ranked first in testing conducted for the mono group and was recognized for outstanding energy yield and its high quality standards.

Solar panel quality is the key to ensure the real electricity output in the field and secure PV project investment, the company said in a statement. A low-quality solar panel will meet a series of module failures like micro-cracks caused by the vibration during transportation, and backsheet failures caused by ambient humidity or ultra-violet radiation, reducing power output.

Independent third party DNV GL performs ageing tests at a more stringent standard than the IEC certificate, in order to highlight the ultimate reliability performance under the extreme outdoor conditions.

Jinko Solar has been the top performer for four consecutive years since 2014.

Energy Stuff specialises in Residential Solar with emphasis on Repairs, Replacements and upgrades. We also provide new systems, battery storage, Small Commercial, Off-Grid systems and smart monitoring systems. Energy Stuff only uses CEC accredited installers and we fully comply with the Victorian Govt. Solar Rebate Program.

For further information please call us on 1300 656 205 or go to our website at http://www.energystuff.com.au

‘Blown away’: rooftop solar PV installations surge by almost half

Written by Peter Hannam / The Age / 14th April 2019

Australian rooftops added a record of almost 500 megawatts of new solar photovoltaic capacity in the March quarter, as Victoria’s incentive scheme stoked a 90 per cent increase in that state’s installations.

record of almost 500 megawatts of new solar photovoltaic capacity in the March quarter, as Victoria’s incentive scheme stoked a 90 per cent increase in that state’s installations.

Data gathered by Green Energy Markets show the sector added about 45 per cent more capacity of solar PV – in systems of 100 kilowatts or smaller in size – compared with the January-March period a year earlier.

“It’s usually a little bit slow in January and February but [previous records] have really been blown away,” said Tristan Edis, director of analysis at Green Energy Markets, a consultancy firm.

The first-quarter installations of about 482MW were led by Victoria, where the Daniel Andrews government’s $2250 rebate per unit helped propel that state above sunnier neighbours Queensland and NSW.

Green Energy Markets expects solar PV capacity on rooftop will top 2000MW this year, or about a quarter more than the previous record annual total achieved just last year.

Apart from the Victoria fillip for the PV market, consumers remain wary of high power prices since few have seen much relief from retailers. “That’s reinforcing the momentum,” Mr Edis said.

The additional solar panels added during the first quarter will deliver their owners a reduction in bills of more than $850 million over the next decade based on current electricity prices, he said.

The ongoing rally in renewable energy is greater in large-scale solar and wind farms, with more than 8100MW under construction. Victoria is also grabbing the lion’s share of the 20,000-plus jobs generated by these projects.

According to Green Energy Markets, Victoria has created 7580 jobs from the wind and solar farms being built. That tally is more than 52 per cent greater than the number of similar jobs in Queensland and almost double those being generated in NSW.

In March, renewable energy sources supplied about 19.7 per cent, or 3839 gigawatt-hours, of the electricity to the country’s main grids, the consultancy said. That supply was enough to power about 9.5 million homes, and saved the equivalent of about 2.7 million tonnes of carbon-dioxide.

The installation of small-scale solar PV totalled more than 23,000 last month, with the average size of residential units reaching 6.6 kilowatts. That section of the market employed some 7857 people in March, with Victoria’s 2134 pipping those in NSW and Queensland, with about 2000 in both.

If the rate of rooftop installations were to continue until 2022, the forecast extra generation of more than 10,000 gigawatt hours would alone top the annual electricity generated by AGL’s Liddell coal-fired power station. The Hunter Valley plant is scheduled to shut down that year.

The growth of the renewables sector could slow sharply in coming years without clearer energy policy, particularly at a national level.

The Australian Energy Market Operator has lately signalled it will penalise large-scale wind and solar projects that are being built in areas where there is limited grid capacity to absorb more.

The Renewable Energy Target, which has been the main support for new large-scale generation in recent years, may yet be met ahead of its 2020 goal.

Federal Labor backs the Turnbull government’s National Energy Guarantee as the overarching policy to replace the RET, while the Coalition is promising to help underwrite new generation capacity if re-elected.

Energy Stuff specialises in Residential Solar with emphasis on Repairs, Replacements and upgrades. We also provide new systems, battery storage, Small Commercial, Off-Grid systems and smart monitoring systems. Energy Stuff only uses CEC accredited installers and we fully comply with the Victorian Govt. Solar Rebate Program.

For further information please call us on 1300 656 205 or go to our website at http://www.energystuff.com.au

Batteries are key to clean energy — and they just got much cheaper

Written by Eric Holthaus / Grist / 3 April 2019

Batteries are critical for our clean energy future. Luckily, their cost has dropped so low, we might be much closer to this future than we previously thought.

In a little less than a year, the cost of lithium-ion batteries has fallen by 35 percent, according to a new Bloomberg New Energy Finance report. Cheaper batteries mean we can store more solar and wind power even when the sun isn’t shining or wind isn’t blowing. This is a major boost to renewables, helping them compete with fossil fuel-generated power, even without subsidies in some places, according to the report. Massive solar-plus-storage projects are already being built in places like Florida and California to replace natural gas, and many more are on the way.

The new battery prices are “staggering improvements,” according to Elena Giannakopoulou, who leads the energy economics group at Bloomberg NEF. Previous estimates anticipated this breakthrough moment for batteries to arrive in late 2020, not early 2019.

According to the report, the cost of wind and solar generation is also down sharply — by between 10 to 24 percent since just last year, depending on the technology. These numbers are based on real projects under construction in 46 countries around the world.

The lower battery prices have big implications for electric cars, too. There’s a key cost threshold of about $100 per kilowatt hour, the point at which electric vehicles would be cheap enough to quickly supplant gasoline. At this rate, we’ll reach that in less than five years.

Now that cheap batteries are finally here, we’re well on our way to electric modes of transportation and always-on renewable energy — and not a moment too soon.

What’s driving the plunge? Giannakopoulou cites “technology innovation, economies of scale, stiff price competition and manufacturing experience.” Other storage methods, like pumped hydro, still account for the vast majority of energy storage capacity, but lithium-ion batteries are much more flexible and don’t require specific locations or environmental conditions to work. Like everything in the built environment, lithium-ion batteries also require mining and manufacturing. There’s still a chance that some new exotic battery technology will quickly supplant lithium-ion, but its ubiquity and — now — cheapness will be hard to beat.

Electric vehicles will become cheaper to own and operate than gas ones. In places like California, Texas, and Germany, electricity prices have occasionally dropped below zero — a sign that the grid wasn’t yet ready to handle the glut of renewable energy produced there. Now, more of that cheap power will be stored and passed on to consumers. This could be the moment when renewable energy starts to shut down fossil fuel for good.

Energy Stuff helps provide battery solutions to residential and small commercial solar systems. Our battery ready systems range from small to very large depending on client needs. There batteries can be internal and external installations with weatherproof storage available.

Call us for further information 1300 656 205 or go to our website at https://ongrid.energystuff.com.au/solar-system-battery-storage/