The NSW government has confirmed its support of an “energy trading trial” that will allow Byron Shire council to sell output from a council-owned rooftop solar array to a neighbouring sewage plant, which has little roof space and high energy demand.

The plan - revealed by RenewEconomy last Monday - is also known as “virtual net metering” or “peer-to-peer trading”, and is considered an important step in breaking down barriers that could discourage the deployment of solar and other renewable energy sources at the local level.

To date, there have been several cases where buildings in the CBDs of Melbourne and Sydney have been allowed to sell electricity from co-generation or tri-generation plants in one building.  Read the full article →

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Intelligent Energy Systems’ Prophet software sheds light on Australia’s electricity market

March 30, 2015
Thumbnail image for Intelligent Energy Systems’ Prophet software sheds light on Australia’s electricity market

First introduced in 1997, Prophet is the most widely used simulation software in the Australian National Electricity Market (NEM). The software has also been used for studies of electricity markets outside of Australia, including those of Singapore, Ireland, New Zealand, and Vietnam. Prophet customers include generator and retailer companies, market and system operators, and government […]

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Coalition rejects 41,000GWh ‘compromise’ on Renewable Energy Target

March 27, 2015
Thumbnail image for Coalition rejects 41,000GWh ‘compromise’ on Renewable Energy Target

Federal industry minister Ian Macfarlane has rejected the offer of a compromise on the Renewable Energy Target from the Clean Energy Council, saying his government would not budge above 32,000GWh. “We are not conisering anything over 32,000GWh,” he told ABC Radio. The CEC, Australia’s peak renewables body, proposed a “compromise” RET at 33,500GWh, down from […]

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Metal plating as a pathway to cheaper high-efficiency solar cells

March 27, 2015
Thumbnail image for Metal plating as a pathway to cheaper high-efficiency solar cells

The first instalment of this series outlined the technology developments which have kept screen printed solar cells on top of global PV sales. Despite its dominant position amongst most PV manufacturers, the classic screen printed cell looks set to be replaced by PERC cells within the coming decade. Past that, recent world records set by […]

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Regional NSW SEXI solar plans get bipartisan support in senate

March 26, 2015
SEXI solar councils

A local government plan to boost small and medium-scale solar development in regional NSW has received strong bi-partisan support in the federal senate, after being presented to them last week by Greens MP Lee Rhiannon. The Solar Energy eXchange Initiative, or SEXI proposal – put together by 24 NSW councils and shires accounting for two-thirds of the […]

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UNSW PV Lighthouse tool lets solar engineers simulate cell manufacturing online

March 24, 2015
PV Lighthouse

Solar industry engineers and students can now design and build virtual solar cells –  experimenting in ways to maximise efficiency and minimise cost – after the launch of a new web-based program by the University of New South Wales. Developed in Australia by UNSW and PV Lighthouse, the world’s first online PV Factory simulator allows users to […]

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Energy storage system manufacturer SolaX launches its second generation of ‘hybrid’ inverter

March 24, 2015
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Energy storage system developer SolaX recently announced its plans to launch a second-generation hybrid energy management system (EMS). The SolaX X-Hybrid 2 features several new additions that promise to make it a more advanced system than its predecessor. The most important improvement may the addition of an Emergency Power Supply (EPS) feature. In the event of a grid […]

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Coalition says cross-bench senators votes could help them weaken RET

March 23, 2015
Thumbnail image for Coalition says cross-bench senators votes could help them weaken RET

The federal government will take renewable energy target negotiations to the cross-benchers in the Senate, after its “final” offer on the RET was rejected outright by Labor.In an interview with RenewEconomy on Friday, environment minister Greg Hunt said the government was talking with the eight cross-benchers, including the most recent defectors from the Palmer United Party, […]

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APVI launches crowd-funding campaign to further develop Aussie solar map

March 20, 2015
Australian solar map

The Australian PV Institute has launched a crowd-funding campaign to help finance the further development its live-mapping solar website, which charts Queensland’s solar installations by postcode and local government area. The Solar Map, originally developed in the lead-up to the Queensland election, was first commissioned to map the state’s solar distribution by electorate. As RenewEconomy noted here and here, […]

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Energy storage will boom amid burgeoning US solar market

March 20, 2015
Solar panel and sun

Nearly 10 per cent of all solar systems in North America would have energy included in as little as three years’ time, a new study has found. IHS  said on Monday that, according to its data, 9 per cent of US solar photovoltaic systems were projected to include storage in 2018, driven by the nation’s booming commercial […]

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NSW installs more solar than QLD in Feb – thanks to booming commercial solar market

March 19, 2015
Thumbnail image for NSW installs more solar than QLD in Feb – thanks to booming commercial solar market

New South Wales has outshone the Sunshine State on solar, taking the crown from its northern neighbour as Australia’s biggest monthly market for rooftop PV installations. Data from two new reports show that Queensland – which has long held the crown as the biggest market for rooftop solar, and now has more than 1.4GW out […]

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NSW Labor releases document detailing strong renewable energy support policy for state

March 18, 2015
Thumbnail image for NSW Labor releases document detailing strong renewable energy support policy for state

NSW Labor has released a renewable energy-focused environment and energy policy, promising a fair price for solar and an emphasis on decentralised generation. The policy document, released on Tuesday, outlines around 10 major policy points, including an undertaking to decommission old and obsolete coal-fired generators and remove planning restrictions against wind farms, and require government agencies to buy […]

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IEA: In historic first, CO2 emissions flatlined even as economy grew – thanks to renewables

March 17, 2015
Thumbnail image for IEA: In historic first, CO2 emissions flatlined even as economy grew – thanks to renewables

A halt in the rise of global carbon dioxide emissions, despite continued economic growth, is being hailed as a first by the International Energy Agency, and largely credited to the growth of solar and wind power, alongside a decline in coal-fired generation. The IEA said on Monday that global CO2 emissions stood at 32.3 billion tonnes […]

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Owning solar panels in ‘the cloud’

March 17, 2015
Cloud Solar

  Cloud Solar is offering a new twist on the ‘traditional’ community solar model. Much like previous community-owned programs, the initiative offers ownership of individual panels within a larger solar farm. However, rather than using electricity bill credits as compensation, the revenue generated by panels is paid directly to investors, adding another degree of freedom […]

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IEA outlines position with energy storage roadmap

March 16, 2015
IEA energy storage roadmap

The International Energy Agency has released their inaugural energy storage roadmap. A logical addition to their various renewable energy roadmaps, the report aims to project the role energy storage technologies will have in future energy markets. It highlights the value of energy storage technologies – particularly batteries – not only for resolving intermittency issues inherent […]

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LGC price spikes as government comes closer to RET deal

March 13, 2015
LGC price spike

Comments from within the Abbott government suggesting an agreement on the RET could come as soon as Easter have helped push prices of large scale renewable energy certificates (LGCs) to a 5-year high. LGC’s rose to $47/MWh on Tuesday – the highest price since June 2009 – based on reports that federal environment minister Greg Hunt and […]

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Commercial PV Price Index – March 2015

March 13, 2015
Thumbnail image for Commercial PV Price Index – March 2015

Commercial solar system prices continued their subtle decline between February and March of 2015, according to pricing data from installers in Solar Choice’s network. All prices are net, incorporating incentives available through the federal Renewable Energy Target as well as GST. Table 1: Commercial solar PV system prices for March 2015 (average) Recommend on Facebook […]

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SunEdison acquires energy storage firm Solar Grid Storage

March 13, 2015
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Wind and solar developer SunEdison announced last Thursday its acquisition of Pennsylvania-based energy storage firm Solar Grid Storage (SGS) for an undisclosed sum. SGS is a startup specializing in integrated solar installations with lithium-ion battery systems. The company, whose products currently support systems ranging from 10kW to 10MW, has four projects in operation and at […]

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NSW government contributes $50k to support potential community solar farm

March 12, 2015
Thumbnail image for NSW government contributes $50k to support potential community solar farm

The NSW government has awarded $50,000 towards an investigation into the feasibility of building what would be Australia’s largest community-owned renewables project – a 1MW solar farm in the southern tablelands city of Goulburn. Community energy outfit The Goulburn Group (TGG) said on Monday it had won the grant as one of 19 recipients to share in a $846,000 […]

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Google HQ to get green makeover

March 12, 2015
Google HQ

California-based tech giant Google has unveiled plans to give its Mountain View headquarters a green makeover, that will include the installation of translucent solar power-generating canopies. Plans submitted to the Mountain View City Council on Friday include movable, lightweight block-like structures, to accommodate the company’s growing number of product offshoots, such as self-driving cars, and […]

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Rooftop solar helps Queensland avoid new peak demand record

March 12, 2015
Thumbnail image for Rooftop solar helps Queensland avoid new peak demand record

The temperature was not the only number that soared across Queensland on Thursday 5 March: so did power demand. As WattClarity’s Paul McArdle notes, electricity demand reached a peak of 8892MW at approximately 16:50 on Thursday, just 51MW shy of the all-time record for Queensland. Unadjusted for the Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI) estimated 173MW of solar […]

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