Putting more renewable energy generation on the ground is one of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s core objectives, and one of its first tasks upon its formation in 2012 was taking over the (now defunct) Solar Flagships program, originally created in 2009 to support the development of large-scale solar plants. The 102MW Nyngan & 53MW Broken Hill solar plants and the 56MW Moree Solar Farm are the fruit of their efforts.

More recently, ARENA is aiming to provide funding for 200MW of ‘high merit’ utility-scale solar projects under its Large-Scale Solar Competitive Round. Projects in this sphere are just at the cusp of commercial viability – but may not yet benefit from the broader institutional know-how to be deemed ‘low risk’ from a conventional investment perspective. The funds that ARENA will be providing act as a bridge for such projects to cross over into viability.

But ARENA’s purpose goes beyond simply closing the financing gap; by having a hand in bringing these projects to life, one of its explicit aims to enlighten the efforts of other developers for other projects going forward. Like any good government-backed funding body with a higher purpose, it’s looking to advance the industry as a whole, not just individual players. As such, there is a formalised process for grant recipients to share their experiences with the industry at large; knowledge sharing forums are one of the key ways that ARENA tries to ensure the dissemination of useful information. ARENA also supports knowledge sharing by making lessons learned by ARENA-funded projects available in the ARENA Knowledge Bank (accessible here). Read the full article →

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Melbourne launches tender for large-scale renewable energy plant

April 28, 2016

A consortium of large energy users led by the City of Melbourne led has launched a call for tenders to develop a large-scale renewable energy plant, from which they will buy the electricity under long-term contract. The Melbourne Renewable Energy Project is a collaboration between the City of Melbourne, Australia Post, NAB, the University of […]

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Melbourne suburb to go off grid with solar and energy storage

April 27, 2016

A first-of-its kind trial in Australia will take part of a Melbourne suburb completely off grid using rooftop solar and battery storage. The trial planned by Victorian network operator Ausnet Services – and launched last week by Victorian energy minister Lily d’Ambrosio – aims to test the use of mini-grids within major towns and cities […]

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Australia should lead on residential battery storage, as it has with solar: Hunt

April 26, 2016

Federal environment minister Greg Hunt says Australia should lead the world in the adoption of battery storage, in the same way it has done with rooftop solar. “Solar and storage together are the future of electricity,” Hunt said during a whirlwind visit to two battery storage trials at new residential communities in Western Australia. “That’s a huge […]

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Melbourne Uni announces tender for 2MW of solar across VIC campuses

April 20, 2016

The University of Melbourne has called for tenders to install close to 2MW of rooftop solar across its Victorian campuses. The tender, issued on Monday by the University’s Infrastructure Services, calls for expressions of interest from a panel of up to four solar PV providers to design, install and maintain an estimated total of 1.8MW […]

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Solar power in Brisbane: Compare installers & prices

April 19, 2016
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Over 30% of the homes in the Brisbane area have solar panels on their roofs – one of the highest rates of any of Australia’s capital cities. Why have Brisbane residents taken such a shine to solar power? This article take a look and the benefits of going solar for households in Brisbane. Recommend on […]

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Neighbourhood battery storage pilot program launched in WA suburb of Alkimos Beach

April 19, 2016

Rooftop solar and battery storage could soon become standard features of new residential housing developments, depending on the success of a ground-breaking community-scale solar and energy storage trial in Western Australia. The $6.9 million residential battery storage trial in the WA suburb of Alkimos Beach was announced in March last year but officially kicked off on […]

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Top clean energy & climate pros named to new ARENA board

April 18, 2016
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A reshuffle of the board of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency has seen the addition of six of the nation’s most prominent clean energy and climate professionals, although their role is unclear given the changes to the agency announced by the Turnbull government last month. ARENA will lose $1.3 billion in unallocated funds under the […]

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Solar Choice brokers second 100kW solar system for Doug Hall Poultry

April 18, 2016
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Solar Choice Commercial has brokered a second 100kW solar PV system for Doug Hall Poultry – this time at the company’s Ellerslie location. The first 100kW system, for Doug Hall’s Millmerran location, was completed about midway through 2015. With multiple locations along Queensland’s regional Ergon network, electricity bills are a substantial part of Doug Hall’s operating costs. […]

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Kurrawang Aboriginal Christian Community switches on 36KW of solar power

April 14, 2016

The Kurrawang Aboriginal Christian Community, located outside Kalgoorlie in remote Western Australia, has gone solar with a 36kW (DC) rooftop solar system. The community had already received quotes for 30kW systems from a handful of installers before approaching Solar Choice Commercial for a broader look at the market in May of 2015. Initially they were considering one […]

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ElectrIQ residential battery units bring smarts to the table

April 14, 2016
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Palo Alto startup ElectrIQ Power is set to release a modular, all-in-one 10kWh battery storage energy management system in Q4 2016. They are looking for strategic partners in Australia. The system features: (i) an integrated DC-to-AC string inverter; (ii) maximum power point tracking for connected PV systems; (iii) comprehensive microsecond energy metering; and (iv) wifi capabilities to enable wireless […]

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Could Labor deploy ‘reverse auctions’ for renewables on the national scale?

April 13, 2016
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The Australian Labor Party could use “reverse auctions” to help meet a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030 if it wins power in the federal election later this year. Climate change spokesman Mark Butler told the Sydney Environment Institute that the ALP has yet to decide on the mechanisms it will need to reach […]

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The end of bill shock? Opower on how they can help your electricity retailer help you help yourself

April 13, 2016
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Opower is a specialist technology provider for utilities promising to usher in a new era of electricity retailer-customer relationships. Their ‘customer engagement platform’ allows retail electricity customers to have an unprecedented level of transparency into their own electricity consumption patterns, and can also deliver tailored advice about actions they can take to minimise costs – before they get […]

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SA Greens propose renewables target of 100% by 2030

April 12, 2016
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South Australia should source 100 per cent of its electricity needs from clean energy by 2030, according to a plan mapped out by the Australian Greens that would will create 1,000 jobs and include a 100MW solar tower and storage plant near Port Augusta. The plan was released by Greens leader Richard Di Natale and other […]

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‘Tariff arbitrage’ with battery storage: What is it and how can it save you money?

April 12, 2016
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For most people, the promise of home battery storage is mainly about the ability to save sunlight so that it can be used later, after the sun has set. ‘Tariff arbitrage’ is another great way to save money with a solar-plus-battery storage system. What is tariff arbitrage and how does it work? In short, tariff arbitrage is […]

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With 59MW added in March, Australia’s total rooftop solar capacity now at just under 4.8GW

April 12, 2016

Another 59MW of rooftop solar was added by Australian homes and businesses in the month of March, with first quarter installations now matching those for the 2012 and 2013 calendar years. Queensland continued to be the strongest market for rooftop solar, with 15MW installed in March, and NSW and Victoria joint second with 13MW each, […]

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Solar for everyone: The trends bringing solar jobs to low-income communities in the US

April 12, 2016
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Until today, residential solar has mostly been purchased by high-income households. The fact that the purchasers must be a homeowner and in many cases requires a large initial investment, solar has not been available for low-income communities. According to recent census results, half the United States is considered low income or poor, earning less than […]

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Victoria could handily meet 30% renewables target by 2020: Report

April 11, 2016
VRET 2020

A new report has found that Victoria could achieve a renewable energy target of 30 per cent by 2020, simply by maintaining medium growth of rooftop solar power and building the pipeline of wind farms already approved for the state. The report, published on Friday by Friends of the Earth, is part of a final […]

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Over 5,000 ACT homes to get discounted battery storage under latest incentive round

April 9, 2016
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More than 5,000 homes and businesses in the Australian Capital Territory will get discounted battery storage under the ACT’s latest round of capacity auctions for large-scale renewables. Around $25 million will be raised from the auctions for the specific purpose of subsidising battery storage installations in the national capital, amounting to the largest subsidised roll-out […]

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Toshiba, winning solar/battery hybrid project contract in SA, sets sights on more opportunities

April 8, 2016
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Japanese electronics giant Toshiba says it is eyeing more opportunities for large-scale battery storage in Australia after winning a contract to provide the battery system for the Coober Pedy renewable hybrid project in South Australia. Toshiba will install a 1MW, 0.5MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) for the Coober Pedy project, which aims to cut […]

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Honey, I shrunk the inverter! Winners of Google competition push limits of inverter size

April 7, 2016
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The CE+T Power ‘Red Electrical Devils’, winners of the Google ‘Little Box Challenge’, have created a 2kW inverter the same size as a takeaway coffee cup. The winners of the Little Box Challenge were announced on the last month at the ARPA‑E Energy Innovation Summit, where the Red Electrical Devils were presented with the one […]

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