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THURSDAY 31 JULY, 2014 | RSS Feed

Energy Matters Commercial Solar Installs Reach Milestone


Commercial solar - Energy Matters
Commercial scale solar installations installed and monitored by national provider Energy Matters recently reached a significant electricity generation milestone.
Energy Matters' 67 monitored commercial systems have exceeded 1 gigawatt-hour (1 million kilowatt hours) in cumulative generation. This equates to around 1,100 tonnes of avoided carbon emissions and is enough power to provide for the electricity needs for 150 average homes for a year.
The tally doesn't include all the company's commercial installs; including some of the larger projects it has constructed. Energy Matters expects cumulative generation for the currently monitored systems to be 3 GWh by end of this year. 

"Australian businesses are increasingly becoming aware that installing solar isn’t just good for the planet – it’s very good for their bottom line too," says Energy Matters CEO, Jeremy Rich.

"Just as has been the case with the many thousands of our residential solar customers; our commercial solar clients are taking control over their energy costs and reaping the benefits - while also demonstrating solid environmental stewardship as part of being socially responsible companies."
Mr. Rich says payback on a commercial scale solar power system is generally 5-7 years, however with an Energy Matters operating lease or Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) backed by a performance guarantee; companies can avoid any capital outlay and begin saving from day one.
Energy Matters has executed a number of high profile commercial solar projects; including installations for Australia Post, RACV and at Federation Square. The company recently completed work on Western Australia’s largest privately-owned rooftop solar power system for Bidvest Foodservices and Australia's largest privately funded array at NEXTDC's M1 Data Centre in Melbourne. Another recent installation at the University Of Wollongong was a finalist in the Clean Energy Council's 2014 Solar Design and Installation Awards.
A portfolio featuring some of Energy Matters' commercial solar projects can be viewed here. Businesses interested in learning more about how solar can benefit their operations can contact Energy Matters' commercial team on 1300 553 213 or by emailing commercial@energymatters.com.au.



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Letter To Urge Senators To Save Solar


Solar letter to senators
The 4,500 solar businesses operating across Australia have been urged to sign a letter encouraging senators to keep the nation's solar dream alive.
The Australian Solar Council and Solar Citizens have teamed up to coordinate a joint industry letter to communicate to new senators how crucial their ongoing support of the Renewable Energy Target is to a thriving solar industry in their respective states.
"This sign-on letter – incorporating dozens of small and medium business logos – is a powerful way to show these brand new senators that they will win public support by making a strong stand on solar," say the bodies.
Solar businesses in Australia employ around 15,000 people and through the industry, millions of Australians are now benefiting by saving on their power bills. 
The Renewable Energy Target, which provides support for the purchase of solar power systems, has also been shown to rein in the price of wholesale electricity as well as reduce the nation's energy-related carbon footprint. 
If support for the purchase of small solar power systems under the Renewable Energy Target evaporated; the price of solar power systems will rise significantly, discouraging some from installing panels. In addition to Australian families missing out on solar savings, the impact on investment and employment within the industry will be grim.
The letter will be sent to Senator Glenn Lazarus, Senator Dio Wang, Senator Jaqui Lambie, Senator Ricky Muir, Senator John Madigan and Senator Nick Xenophon.
The letter can be viewed and signed here
There are fears the Renewable Energy Target review will recommend to weaken the RET as a result of pressure from energy sector incumbents, big business generally and the personal views of some of the review panel members
The review panel was to have delivered its findings to the the government by the end of July; however, it appears chairman Dick Warburton has asked for an extension from the federal government of a few weeks. 
As we mentioned early in July, there's a lot more riding on Australia's Renewable Energy Target than just clean power, energy bill savings and thousands of jobs. Banks are also at risk, as are the retirement savings of millions of Australians.


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Renewable Energy Climbs To 28.5% In Germany


Germany Renewable Energy 2014
Germany's Federal Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) says the share of renewable energy used in gross domestic energy consumption is expected to have risen to 28.5 percent in the first half of 2014.
During the first half of last year, renewables' share was 24.6%
Wind power generation during the first half of the year rose to 31 billion kilowatt hours and solar panels produced 18.3 billion kWh. Wind energy grew by 21.4% and solar by 27.3%.
BDEW says generation from conventional power plants is continuing to decline. Gas accounted for 9.8 percent, coal 18 percent and nuclear 15.4 percent..
Electricity and gas consumption declined generally in Germany in the first half of the year; the main reason being significantly warmer weather. Gas consumption dropped 20% and power consumption by 5%.
Germany has long led the world for pioneering in renewable energy policy. In 1991 the German government introduced the Electricity Feed Act, legally regulating the feed-in to the grid of electricity generated from renewable resources such as solar power.
The nation's 2011 Energiewende ("Energy transition") was a reorientation of policy from demand to supply and from centralized to distributed generation.
By the end of last year, Germany hosted around 35,700 megawatts of PV solar power capacity. In Australia, the total installed capacity of PV based solar power systems by the close of 2013 was around 3,000 MW.
By the end of May this year, Germany's solar PV capacity had grown to 36,519 megawatts (MW) - still more than China, Italy, Japan or the United States. 
German policy recently turned its attention to also providing support for small scale energy storage systems. This is expected to result in massive growth for home energy storage over the next four years; from 6,000 units last year to an estimated 100,000 units in 2018. 
Germany's home energy storage subsidy provides up to €660 (around AUD $947 at current exchange rates) per kilowatt of solar panels; to a maximum of 30kW. Energy storage is now already at a level that is very affordable for home or commercial use according to the German Solar Industry Association.
While home energy storage in Australia doesn't attract subsidies, more competitively priced units are now available locally; including the Samsung SDI All In One and AUO's PowerLegato.


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Kyocera And SPCG Clock Up 257MW Of Solar In Thailand


Kyocera Solar - Thailand
In the last 4 years, SPCG Public Company Limited and Kyocera Corporation have developed 35 solar farms  in Thailand, totaling approximately 257 megawatts capacity.
SPCG constructed the facilities and Kyocera supplied the solar panels -  around 1.1 million modules.
Combined, the solar farms have an annual output of approximately 345,000,000kWh; which enough to meet the power needs of 287,500 average Thai households. The electricity is supplied to the Provincial Electricity Authority of Thailand (PEA). 
The last of the projects was connected to the mains grid last month. A listing of all the solar farms along with details can be viewed here.
"Kyocera is honored to have taken part in this project, which we believe is an important milestone for the development of solar energy in Thailand," said Mr. Nobuo Kitamura, Senior Executive Officer and General Manager of the Corporate Solar Energy Group at Kyocera Corporation.
Thailand has set a goal of generating a quarter of its power from renewable sources by 2021.
Kyocera has been developing solar power solutions for over 35 years and a Kyocera solar panel based system installed in 1992 has lost very little of its efficiency since the day it was installed.
Kyocera Solar is part of the massive Kyocera Group, which consists of 229 companies and employs over 70,000 people. Fiscal year 2013 net sales for the Group were $13.6 Billion. 
In other recent news from Kyocera, the company has filed a complaint in Tokyo District Court  against Hanwha Q CELLS Japan Co., Ltd.; for what it says is infringement of a Kyocera patent for a "three-bus-bar electrode structure" that increases conversion efficiency in solar modules. 
However, Hanwha Q Cells says "the technology subject to this lawsuit has been publicly known through research papers since the 1990s, prior to Kyocera’s patent application. Hanwha Q CELLS Japan thereby believes that this case is a one-sided action taken by Kyocera."


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