From the category archives:

New technologies

Integrating solar with storage for a stable energy ecosystem

June 8, 2017
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To successfully incorporate solar PV, storage and other innovative technologies into Australia’s energy grids without sacrificing grid stability, a holistic, whole-of-network approach is required, says Mark Paterson, General Manager of Horizon Power’s Consumer Energy division. According to Mr Paterson, Horizon Power’s large, sparsely populated regional WA networks are ‘almost a microcosm of the larger electricity […]

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Peer-to-peer trading with solar & batteries: What to look for

May 31, 2017
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‘Peer-to-peer energy trading’ is a buzzword that is thrown around quite a bit in Australia as the number of solar & battery storage systems grows. What is peer-to-peer energy trading and how can it benefit you? We caught up with Localvolts founder Jitendra Tomar to gain a fuller understanding of the concept – and to […]

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Could distributed battery systems ‘blackstart’ the grid?

May 17, 2017
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Solar Choice recently received a comment from a visitor to our site asking about whether distributed battery storage systems – using Reposit Power‘s battery management technology – could be used to restart the grid in the event of a blackout. We reached out to Reposit for a response, and they came back to us with […]

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Blockchain network disruption soon to arrive – with Australian company at forefront

November 29, 2016
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An Australian start-up has been named as a global leader in the development of “blockchain” technology in a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The BNEF report named Perth-based company Power Ledger as one of the companies leading development of the technology, which it says has the potential to “rapidly disrupt” the energy market status […]

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Integrated solar roof tiles cheaper to install than regular roof, says Musk

November 23, 2016
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Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk has suggested his newly launched integrated solar roof tiles could actually cost less to install than a regular roof – making the renewable electricity they produce “just a bonus”. Musk made the claim last Thursday, just minutes – according to Bloomberg – after Tesla and SolarCity shareholders voted in […]

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Tesla founder plans to lead global push to 100 percent renewable energy

November 2, 2016
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On Friday, in Los Angeles, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk unveiled the latest elements of his plan to lead a global push to 100 per cent renewable energy: a solar roof shingle and the second generation of his home and utility scale battery storage offerings. While revealed with a lot less fanfare and a […]

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JinkoSolar introduces modules with ‘next generation’ power optimisation

October 17, 2016
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Panel manufacturer JinkoSolar claims to have solved the issue of partial shading of solar panels with its new line of JinkoMX modules, which use an advanced power optimisation technology called a ‘cell string optimiser’ by Maxim instead of conventional bypass diodes. Partial shading and the problem of the ‘weakest link’ With conventional solar PV systems […]

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Finally, a win-win solar solution for renters & landlords from Aussie startup Matter

September 15, 2016
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Aussie technology company Matter has developed a platform to make it possible for renters and landlords alike to benefit from rooftop solar. They’ve done this by removing one of the biggest hurdles that has made solar inaccessible to renters – the fact that their landlords have virtually no incentive to install a system on a […]

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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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How Fulcrum3D’s CloudCAM aims to improve solar farm reliability

December 14, 2015
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Fulcrum3D is an Australian technology developer whose innovative CloudCAM technology allows solar farm developers and operators a high degree of granularity in predicting solar energy yields thanks to its sophisticated ability to anticipate cloud movements. In November 2014, the company received a grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to develop the product that […]

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Battery storage options are growing: What products are out there?

September 28, 2015
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In this article we take a look at some of the product options that are available here in Australia as well as elsewhere globally. With a list of all of the energy storage products that we come across, this article will serve as a reference for anyone who wants to keep track of what options […]

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‘SunPort’ promises solar energy access to everyone – roof or no roof

August 28, 2015
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Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology has come a long way in the past decade. Once seen as expensive, idealistic and useful only in niche applications, it has now entered the global mainstream and is rapidly becoming commonplace everywhere. The falling cost of solar panels is one of the main forces behind this revolution, but other outside-the-box […]

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PV Magazine’s 50 ‘array changing’ technologies sure to excite the solar enthusiast

July 23, 2015
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PV Magazine has released a report outlining the 50 top ‘array changing technologies’ featured at this year’s Intersolar Europe exhibition and conference. The ‘downstream’ technologies were picked based on their ‘ability to make a major impact on solar arrays today and in the future’ by ‘driving power outputs up and LCOE down’. A complete list […]

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Bifacial solar cells – the two sides of the story

May 5, 2015
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Bifacial solar modules are making a comeback, of sorts, as the PV industry looks to squeeze more out of current solar cell technology. On the heels of Sunpreme revealing their 500W bifacial modules and MegaCell’s manufacture of 18% efficient polycrystalline bifacial cells, bifacial PV looks to work its way towards a larger share of the […]

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Quiet innovations keeping screen printed solar cells on top

February 9, 2015
Printed solar cells

For all the well-deserved hype surrounding advanced solar cell designs, the screen printed (SP) solar cell remains the industry standard. Accounting for approximately 90% of worldwide production in 2014, its robust design has stood the test of time and, since its inception in the 1970s, has ballooned towards current module efficiencies approaching 18%. It has […]

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Floating solar power: Floatovoltaics, Liquid Solar Arrays and Solar Islands set to change the way we look at solar

January 8, 2015
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Floating solar projects have headlines in in a number of cleantech publications for the past few years, thanks mainly to their novelty, the ingenuity of their approach and their often striking appearance. ‘Floatovoltaic’ (a term used when solar photovoltaic technology is used) and other types of floating solar projects have now sprung up in locations […]

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Stick it where the sun shines: Solar cell stickers extend PV reach

December 15, 2014
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Researchers at Stanford University have developed an innovative way of producing ‘solar cell stickers’, thin-film PV devices which can be adhered onto practically any backing material. The thin film solar cells are assembled on top of a silicon wafer substrate and covered with a protective polymer film and thermal release tape, which acts as a […]

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Super-fast charging for new lithium ion battery

October 27, 2014
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Researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, have developed a fast‑charging long‑life lithium ion battery which has the potential to significantly boost electric vehicle (EV) and portable electronics performance. The device can be recharged to 70% of its capacity in 2 minutes and has a 10,000 recharge cycle lifetime, compared to currently available lithium ion […]

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Thermal electricity storage inspired by hang-gliders

October 21, 2014
Isentropic energy storage system

UK‑firm ‘Isentropic’ has developed a pumped heat electricity storage (PHES) system for cheap and convenient distributed grid storage, with a projected levelised cost of storage (LCOS) below industry‑leading hydroelectric storage. Founding member and Technical Director, Jonathan Howes, credits hang‑glider thermals as the inspiration behind the technology. Rather than store electricity in the form of a […]

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Fluidised bed reactors to enable low cost silicon solar cells

October 15, 2014
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In order to make crystalline silicon solar cells, cell producers need micron-thin wafers of exceptional purity. The majority of base silicon material–referred to as ‘polysilicon’–used for producing high purity silicon is made using the Siemens process, a silicon refining method which is effective but very energy intensive. More recently, fluidised bed reactor (FBR) technology has […]

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Under the sea: ‘Energy Bags’ add to electricity storage options

September 26, 2014
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Canadian firms Thin Red Line Aerospace and Hydrostor are set to trial underwater compressed air energy storage (UW‑CAES) systems off the coast of Toronto. As part of the process, electricity is used to pump air into giant heavy duty ‘Energy Bags’ anchored below sea‑level, causing the diaphragm expanding against the force of the surrounding water. […]

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‘Hydrangea’ solar panel beautifies PV energy production

September 17, 2014
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University of Tokyo professor, Hiroshi Segawa, has developed a solar cell designed as a floral artwork. Besides looking great, the hydrangea‑inspired dye‑sensitised solar cell generates and stores enough energy to charge a smartphone twice, with the components stored in decorative wooden cube frames. The energy generated by the device is stored in the flower, with […]

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UNSW’s ‘stacked’ silicon-perovskite technology promises to double solar cell efficiency

August 27, 2014
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An innovative solar project being developed by researchers at the University of New South Wales is aiming to more than double the efficiency of solar cells. The project, headed up by leading UNSW solar researcher Martin Green, is working with a new method of stacking solar cells, which Green says could lift their efficiency from […]

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Record efficiency for UCLA ‘plastic’ tandem solar cell

August 14, 2014
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Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have set a new record for organic polymer solar cells, with a device efficiency of 11.5%. The record-breaking ‘plastic’ solar cell uses what is referred to as a ‘tandem’ structure. There are essentially three specially-tuned solar cells stacked on top of each other to form a […]

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Phinergy extends electric car range with metal-air battery technology

August 13, 2014
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Phinergy, an Israeli battery technology start-up, and aluminium producer, Alcoa, have recently revealed a prototype electric car with a 1,100-mile driving range that is powered by Phinergy aluminium-based metal-air battery technology. The key to the dramatic improvement in range lies in a hybrid battery system, which consists of a primary battery made of lithium-ion (used […]

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Understanding physics of plastic solar cells key for cheap, flexible PV

July 30, 2014
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Recent work published by researchers from the University of Montreal, Imperial College London and the University of Cyprus have shed light on the physics of how ‘plastic’ polymeric semiconductor solar cells operate on an atomic level. Plastic solar cells generate and transfer electric charge in a manner that, on a basic level, is quite similar […]

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ConnectDER: A new device to open Pandora’s Box for grid connection

July 29, 2014
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Virginia start-up ‘Infinite Invention’ have created a device which potentially allows for the modulation of exported solar PV electricity to suit surrounding grid conditions. The device also provides a quick and simple way of connecting solar PV systems to the grid. The ‘ConnectDER’ sits at the electricity meter and connects the AC electricity from the […]

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Perovskites: The next PV revolution?

July 24, 2014
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Perovskites have taken the PV research world by storm in recent years thanks to unprecedented growth in efficiency in the material. Perovskite solar cell efficiencies have gone from a barely impressive 2.2% to a commercially significant 19.3% in less than 7 years – a rate of development simply unmatchable by other PV technologies. This article […]

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‘Two-for-one’ deal on electrons to boost solar cell efficiency

July 14, 2014
Singlet Fission: Two electrons for one photon

Research conducted by the University of California (UC) – Riverside proposes an innovative method for pushing commercial solar cell efficiencies past 30%. The process, known as ‘singlet fission’, allows for a doubling of the electric charge generated by high‑energy light. This area of research has also been pioneered by MIT and University of Cambridge. The […]

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New technique to unlock Li-ion’s replacement: the lithium-sulphur battery

July 7, 2014
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Pushing the boundary of lithium-based battery technologies is a new lithium-sulphur battery technology being jointly developed by researchers in the US and Korea. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), University of Arizona and Seoul National University have jointly developed a new and inexpensive method to fabricate lithium-sulphur batteries, which have the potential to replace […]

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‘Talesun Smart’ PV modules provide integrated real-time performance monitoring

June 30, 2014
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Zhongli Talesun Solar has released a new range of PV modules with real-time module-level performance monitoring at SNEC 2014, International Photovoltaic Power Generation Conference and Exhibition. This is another welcome addition to the evolution of ‘smart modules’. The Talesun Smart modules are fitted with a monitoring circuit which allows for remote monitoring of individual modules […]

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