Solar power market heading for big 2017, as costs drop sharply

February 24, 2017
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A new report has predicted that solar power is headed for a “huge year” in Australia in 2017, on the back of a boom in the large-scale market and a home solar and storage market that is expected to treble. The Climate Council’s State of Solar 2016, published last week, confirms solar is now the […]

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Australia can reach 100 per cent renewable energy says CSIRO

February 24, 2017
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The nation’s chief scientific body has advised there are no technical barriers to prevent Australia from achieving 100 per cent renewables on its electricity grid, and that levels of around 30 per cent were just “trivial”. The comments were made by CSIRO lead energy research scientist Paul Graham at the Senate select committee into the […]

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3kW vs 5kW solar system: Which is a better investment?

February 22, 2017
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One of the first decisions a household considering solar will need to make is the capacity (in kilowatts, kW) of the system to be installed. Two of the most popular residential solar PV system sizes in Australia are 3kW and 5kW. Which system size is the better investment – and why? You’ll save the most […]

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The important role of solar forecasting in Australia

February 22, 2017
Solar output Broken Hill SF

NSW demand rose to a near-record high on Friday the 10th of February, and QLD soared to a new record demand on that Sunday, amidst an intense heatwave. While this heat-stressed our electricity markets and infrastructure, the nation’s rooftop solar PV systems were providing critical load reduction under plentiful sunshine. A quick review of APVI […]

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Victorian government to build Australia’s first grid scale battery storage facility

February 22, 2017
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Victoria’s Labor government is calling for expressions of interest to build a 20MW battery storage array, in what would likely be Australia’s first grid scale battery storage facility. The 20MW battery storage facility is being earmarked for western Victoria, where the Australian Energy Market Operator has identified opportunities to improve grid stability, and where many […]

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US-based solar tower and storage developer surprised of Australia’s “new coal” pursuits

February 21, 2017
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US-based solar tower and storage developer SolarReserve has expressed surprise that Australia’s federal government is pursuing “new coal” plants, saying that solar towers with storage beats coal on just about all fronts. Tom Georgis, the company’s head of international development, says solar towers and storage can match and beat coal on capability – providing baseload […]

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Solar Choice brokers 100kW solar system for Geelong High School

February 21, 2017
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Solar Choice has brokered the installation of a 100kW solar PV system for Geelong High School, a co-ed public secondary school in East Geelong, Victoria. The school opened in 1910, making it one of Victoria’s oldest state secondary schools. It moved to its current location (385 Ryrie Street, East Geelong) in 1915. Geelong High School originally approached […]

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Gross vs net solar electricity metering

February 21, 2017
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In the past there was an important distinction between net and gross metering for residential solar systems in Australia. These days, however, almost all new systems are installed with a net metering setup. What’s the difference between a gross meter and a net meter, and why does it matter? Gross vs net meters: A debate […]

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Why doesn’t my electricity retailer give me a 15c solar feed-in tariff?

February 20, 2017
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Having just updated our article detailing the solar feed-in tariffs on offer in each state and territory, we thought it would be a good time to discuss the realities of solar feed-in tariffs in 2017. We’ll look at two questions: Why don’t retailers offer higher rates? And: Does it matter if feed-in tariff rates are […]

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2016 was a record-breaking year for Australian solar

February 20, 2017
Australian solar 2016

At one point, 2016 looked like an abysmal year for Australian solar. But 2016 turned out to be record breaking year for solar, in many regards. You’ll get all the information you need here, but here are some of the highlights. Though the headline utility-scale figures indicate a come-down of mammoth proportions, it was always […]

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Battery storage: better at peaking than gas in South Australia

February 20, 2017

An alternative to building more gas peaking plants in South Australia – which would take years and require hard-to-get-gas – is to build a lithium battery storage plant to act as a peaker. Lithium batteries can provide the same service as a peaking gas plant only better. In addition to stopping high prices they can […]

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Rooftop solar saved the day, but households got paid a pittance

February 18, 2017
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Solar power played a major role in reducing stress on grids in Queensland and New South Wales during the massive heatwave late last week, but were solar households fairly rewarded for their contribution? As we reported last week, coal and gas dependent Queensland has recorded more than 40 more high priced events in 2017 than […]

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The PM has battery storage added to his solar system at his Point Piper mansion

February 17, 2017
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Amid the threat of summer power blackouts in the NSW, it has emerged that Australian Prime Mininster Malcolm Turnbull has added battery storage to the solar system at his harbourside mansion in Sydney’s Point Piper. Recommend on Facebook Share on Linkedin Tweet about it Print for later Tell a friend

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Does rooftop solar still make sense in 2017?

February 16, 2017
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Rooftop solar on its own is already affordable enough to be a smart choice for virtually any Australian home with an unshaded roof and some daytime electricity usage. This is true even in the absence of generous, state-backed solar feed-in tariffs and the (slight) reduction of the up-front incentive for solar available through the federal Renewable […]

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Which electricity retailer is giving the best solar feed-in tariff?

February 15, 2017
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Feed-in tariffs in Australia: How they’ve changed Solar feed-in tariffs are arrangements where a solar system owner is paid for the excess solar energy that they send back into the grid. At one point in time, feed-in tariffs were mandatory in every state in Australia, and the rates they offered were quite generous. Much has changed, however, […]

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Residential Solar PV Price Index – February 2017

February 14, 2017
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Despite the decrease in the incentive available under the federal Renewable Energy Target that came in effect from last month, average solar PV system prices have moved little, according to our data. Although this month did see a slight reduction in prices (down to $1.60 per watt from $1.62/W in February), this is mainly attributable to changes in […]

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The heat wave sent spot market prices soaring: What does it mean for solar?

February 13, 2017
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Wholesale electricity prices on Australia’s eastern seaboard went through the roof this past weekend as homes as businesses pumped their air conditioners in an attempt to stave off the brutal and unprecedented summer heat. What are the implications of high spot prices for solar PV systems large and small in Australia? High temperatures –> high […]

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SA govt to install rooftop solar at 40 different schools

February 13, 2017
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South Australia will install rooftop solar systems at 40 schools across the state, as part of a $15 million scheme to help the education sector cut power costs and further reduce the state’s carbon emissions. As well as funding the solar installations, the scheme will give another 200 schools grants of $250,000 to switch to […]

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Clean energy start-up accelerator program launches in Sydney

February 11, 2017

A program dedicated to seed-funding and mentoring renewable and advanced energy startups is being launched in Sydney, in an effort to bridge Australia’s clean energy investment “valley of death”. The EnergyLab Acceleration Program is being launched by EnergyLab in conjunction with newly established public-private partnership, Climate-KIC Australia, which is based on the success of Climate-KIC […]

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SA minimum retailer feed-in tariff (RFiT) has ended. What should you do?

February 10, 2017
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If you live in South Australia and have a solar system on your roof, there is no longer a guaranteed minimum rate for the excess solar that you send into the grid unless you are on the state’s Premium FiT program (which expires in 2028). The Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) made the determination to eliminate the […]

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NSW facing blackouts on Friday due to extreme heatwave

February 10, 2017
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New South Wales faces rolling blackouts on Friday as the extraordinary summer heatwave continues across Australia, and after South Australia’s grid faced similar problems on Wednesday. The Australian Energy Market Operator warned on Thursday morning that the heat-wave, which will send temperatures soaring as high as 45°C in Sydney suburbs, could mean there is not […]

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Fossil fuel generators, not renewables should be blamed for high energy prices

February 9, 2017
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The Australian Energy Regulator has been investigating more than half a dozen “high priced” events on the National Electricity Market, and some of the reports it has already completed make astonishing reading. Take the events of last November 18 in New South Wales, when the spot price of electricity jumped to more than $11,700/MWh in […]

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Looking beyond solar feed-in tariffs: How to pick an electricity retailer

February 8, 2017

When solar system owners shop around for an electricity retailer, the first thing they tend to look at is the solar feed-in tariff rate that the retailer offers. The fact is, however, that solar feed-in tariffs are no longer as important as they once were – so what else should solar system owners look for in […]

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New damning report on coal-fired power generation in Australia

February 7, 2017
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Independent energy research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance has released a damning report on new ultra-super critical coal-fired power generation in Australia, describing it as “the most expensive form of new energy supply,” at more than three times the cost of renewables. Recommend on Facebook Share on Linkedin Tweet about it Print for later Tell […]

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Tesla’s Powerwall 2 in Australia: Advice for shoppers

February 7, 2017
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Tesla leapfrogged its competitors last year with the announcement of its new generation of battery storage product: Powerwall 2. Tesla’s Powerwall 2 is a more powerful and sophisticated version of the company’s original Powerwall, which itself set a benchmark in Australia for both battery storage pricing and performance. It’s on sale for roughly the same […]

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CATCH Power – A solar diverter made for the Aussie market

February 6, 2017
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CATCH Power is an Australian company who say they have crafted a solar diverter perfectly tailored to Australian market conditions. By March this year, the company will offer four different versions of its device, all of whose settings can be adjusted to optimise savings – and two of which connect to the internet and allow the user […]

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Sizing inverters to optimise solar panel system efficiency

February 6, 2017
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The efficiency of the inverter drives the efficiency of a solar panel system because inverters convert Direct Current (DC) (as produced by the solar panels), into Alternating Current (AC) (as used by the electric grid). This leads many to wonder what effect over-sizing or under-sizing an inverter will have on overall system efficiency. This entry […]

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Solar battery storage in Melbourne, Vic: Compare prices & installers

February 5, 2017
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As prices fall, a growing number of Melbourne households are becoming interested in installing battery storage for solar energy. It is now possible to compare battery storage installers and prices in Melbourne by requesting a Battery Storage Quote Comparison from Solar Choice. What else do Melbourne homeowners need to consider before deciding on an installer and […]

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Zhongli Talesun’s solar panels in Australia

February 4, 2017
Zhongli Talesun logo

Zhongli Talesun is one of the largest solar panel manufacturers in the world, with a 28 year history in the solar industry. The company offers solar modules for a range of applications in the Australian market, including a module with a 30-year performance warranty, a lightweight module and a ‘zero potential-induced degradation’ module. Talesun solar […]

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Malcolm Turnbull lays out his thoughts on renewable energy in his NPC address

February 4, 2017
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Australia’s prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has laid out his thoughts on renewable energy, electricity pricing and supply, as well as on “clean coal” and gas, describing energy as a “defining debate of this parliament” in his National Press Club address on Wednesday. Recommend on Facebook Share on Linkedin Tweet about it Print for later Tell […]

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Should you oversize your solar array / undersize your inverter?

February 3, 2017
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After numerous questions about the relationship between solar panel power and inverter power, I decided to put together this blog post. Now logically, if you have (say) 3,000 Watts of solar panels on your roof, you would expect that a 3000 Watt inverter would be the perfect match, right? Not necessarily! There are a number of […]

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