Australians have now installed more than two million small-scale renewable energy systems, mainly comprised of roof-top solar photovoltaic. Aiming for a Renewable Energy Target of 20% and making renewable energy more affordable for Australians, the installed systems produce approximately 6882 GWh of electricity annually, enough to power more than one million Australian homes. Meanwhile, the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) has embarked on an ambitious solar power project spanning three countries, to test the power generation of solar panels in Singapore’s tropical climate, in a temperate zone in Japan and under Australian desert conditions. Read more
Australia hits 2 million solar
By a staff reporter in Climate Spectator (9 January 2014):
Australians have now installed more than two million small-scale renewable energy systems, the Clean Energy Regulator has confirmed. This was composed of 1,161,245 solar photovoltaic systems, 669,281 solar hot water units and 173,101 heat pump water heaters as well as a small number of micro hydro and small wind turbines.
The regulator said that small-scale systems, assisted by falling system costs and coupled with financial incentives derived from the Renewable Energy Target, had become “more and more affordable” for everyday Australians
“This comes only eight months after reaching one million rooftop solar photovoltaic installations, providing a strong indication that investment in small-scale renewable energy continues to flourish in Australia,” the regulator said.
The regulator estimates the two million small-scale installations have a capacity to generate or displace approximately 6882 gigawatt hours of electricity annually, with 4182 gigawatt hours generated from small-scale solar, wind and hydro installations and a further 2700 gigawatt hours displaced by solar hot water systems and air source heat pumps.
This equates to the amount of electricity required to power approximately 1.04 million Australian homes for a year, the CER said, enough to power all Perth, Hobart, Darwin and Canberra households combined.
S’pore part of 3-nation solar panel project; Power generation study may lead to systems suited for varying climates
Feng Zengkun, Environment Correspondent, Straits Times (29 December 2013):
SINGAPORE has embarked on an ambitious solar power project spanning three countries.
The aim is to test the power generation of solar panels in Singapore’s tropical climate, in a temperate zone in Japan and under Australian desert conditions.
Led by the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (Seris) at the National University of Singapore, the project, which will take place in each of the countries simultaneously, will last until 2016 at least.
The findings will help researchers develop better models to predict the output of solar panels in different conditions such as varying temperatures and amount of sunlight.
Developers can then optimise solar power systems for different climate zones to enhance their performance over the systems’ lifespan, said Seris deputy chief executive Thomas Reindl. This will also reduce the price that the electricity generated has to be sold at to recoup costs, he explained.
In the past, solar panels had been mostly installed in moderate climates. That meant that standards to measure output and quality were also developed in those climates.
“In harsher climate zones such as the tropics with constant high temperatures and high humidity, the existing standard tests may not be sufficient,” the National Climate Change Secretariat and National Research Foundation (NRF) said in 2011.
Seris is partnering the Australian National University, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan, solar module manufacturers, certifying bodies and other organisations for its project, called TruePower Alliance.
The first outdoor tests are expected to start early next year.
The research also involves monitoring the solar panel systems’ long-term performance, including the impact of dust accumulation and sand.
Solar panel systems are expected to last 25 to 30 years with next to no degradation.
The project is funded by the Energy Innovation Research Programme. The researchers were among five teams that won $12 million in grants in total from the Government earlier this year in a grant call for energy innovations.