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Government RET Position - The Reaction


Renewable Energy Target
The Abbott government's 'preliminary' stance on a scaling back of the Renewable Energy Target has been met with heavy criticism.
Yesterday we reported while the Government apparently intends leaving support for home solar power systems as is and would end 2 yearly reviews of the RET, it also wishes to slash the Renewable Energy Target to a "real" 20% and exempt all emissions intensive industries from the RET.
As mentioned in that report, the Australian Solar Council has expressed concerns regarding where this will leave the commercial solar sector and said the reduction would effectively kill investment in large-scale renewable energy.
The Clean Energy Council has also warned a 'real' 20 per cent  RET constitutes a broken promise by the Federal Government, would lead to the decimation of the renewable energy industry and increase power prices for consumers.
"The Renewable Energy Target legislation that has been supported by all political parties for over a decade is explicit about the 41,000GWh target, and the Coalition re-stated its commitment to it in the lead up to the recent election," said Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton
"Moving the goal posts so significantly on investors would result in massive asset devaluation, job losses and business closures, and send a signal to international investors that Australia is closed for business."
Labor leader Bill Shorten called the 'real' 20% target a fraud.
"Labor has made it clear that we will engage in discussions. But we've got a no-go, we've got no-go zones. You know, the Government says they want a real 20 per cent, I call it a fraud 20 per cent, a fake 20 per cent," he said.
"The truth of the matter is that renewable energy is part of our energy mix, it's had a great benefit for a whole lot of consumers. We've seen 1.2 million households have gone to having some part of their energy from solar power. We've seen thousands of jobs created, thousands of jobs created, and we've seen billions of dollars of investment. The real damage that this Government is doing in renewable energy cannot be overstated."
Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne says slashing the target and giving emissions intensive industries a free pass undermines the spirit of the RET.
"There is absolutely no reason, and no excuse, for weakening the Renewable Energy Target. The Labor Party must stand firm and reject this deal outright," said Senator Milne.
Andrew Blakers, director of the Australian National University’s Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems, described the new policy as a 'free kick for fossil fuels'.
According to a report on SMH, general manager of Pacific Hydro Lane Crockett said: "What reason can there be [for this cut] other than to protect the coal industry?" and the Australian Wind Alliance's Andrew Bray stated the government had "learnt nothing" from the Warburton review.


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Enphase Unveils Energy Storage System


Enphase AC Battery
Enphase Energy, Inc. has announced its entrant in the commercial and home energy storage market.
The Enphase AC Battery is a modular, plug-and-play storage device that integrates with the Enphase Energy Management System.
Each Enphase AC Battery will provide 1.2 KWh of energy storage and 275W/550W power-output. Additional modules can be easily added.
"It provides benefits for the system owner, while also helping with grid stability," said  Raghu Belur, co-founder and vice president of products and strategic initiatives at Enphase. "We are bringing the same technological innovation to storage that we brought to solar, by pairing our innovative distributed architecture with the best-in-class battery chemistry in the industry."
Japanese battery manufacturer ELIIY Power has been selected as the chemistry provider for Enphase AC Battery.
"The combination of our leading battery technology with Enphase's leading power electronics creates a truly innovative storage solution," said Hiroichi Yoshida, president of ELIIY Power.

Other elements of the complete Enphase Energy Management System include Enphase micro-inverters

A microinverter is a small box attached on or near each solar panel in an array that carries out the task of converting DC current to AC; usually performed by a single or multiple traditional string inverters. A major advantage of micro-inverters is the failure of single unit means only the output of the module it is associated with is lost rather than the entire string. The microinverter also allows for panel level monitoring.
The Enphase Envoy is also part of the complete Enphase energy storage system. It's a communications gateway that provides network access to the solar array; enabling comprehensive monitoring and management of an Enphase system.

The battery can also be monitored and controlled via the Enphase Enlighten software interface. For solar installers, Enlighten Manager streamlines operations and maintenance processes of an entire system. For solar power system owners, MyEnlighten displays energy production, system health and environmental benefits.

The complete Enphase Energy Management System, including the Enphase AC Battery, will be available in the second half of 2015. Those wishing to register their interest in the system can contact Energy Matters on 133-SUN.



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REC Solar Panels PID-Free In All Climate Conditions


REC solar panels
REC Group is now one of the only solar manufacturers worldwide that can guarantee its panels are 100 per cent PID-free under all climate conditions, outperforming its competition in a series of grueling tests at the independent Solar Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS).

We mentioned previously REC solar panels had previously passed PID testing; but it appears not all claims of 'PID-free' appear equal..
PID phenomenon (Potential Induced Degradation) is a voltage-driven leakage of current between the solar cells and the front glass of a solar panel operating in hot, humid environments. PID causes sudden drops in power output from panels installed on rooftop systems and PV plants and reduces the lifespan of solar panels.
All REC panels were randomly chosen from Peak Energy series modules currently available on the market and tested alongside a selection of leading Tier 1 monocrystalline PV modules according to strict International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards. The panels were tested at SERIS’s climate chamber for 96 hours at 60°C and 85 per cent relative humidity, with a negative voltage of 1000-Volts.
The REC panels showed no sign of PID degradation, while all but one of the competing panels were PID-affected – some by up to 50 per cent, a poor outcome in terms of longevity. The REC panels also performed best in light-induced degradation (LID) tests. 
"While many solar companies have claimed that some of their panels do not have PID issues under certain conditions, REC guarantees that each and every one of our panels coming is 100 per cent PID-free in all climate conditions," said Cemil Seber, Director of Product Marketing and Global Expansion for REC. "The test results from SERIS, as well as real-world field data, confirm that REC panels can be counted on for high-performance output over the life of the system." 
According to REC, stringent quality control, in-house enhancement and smart panel design were behind the outstanding PID results. The company will demonstrate its PID-free TwinPeak and Peak Energy Series solar panels at the Solar Power International (SPI) 2014 exhibition in Las Vegas this week. 


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Government Announces RET Position


Renewable Energy Target
The Australian Solar Council reports Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has announced the Government's 'preliminary' position on Australia's Renewable Energy Target.
The announcement was made at the National Press Club a short time ago.
According to Australian Solar Council CEO John Grimes, the Government's starting position is:
- slash the Renewable Energy Target to a  "real" 20%
- exempting all emissions intensive industries from the RET
- household solar support schemes to remain as is
- an end to 2 yearly reviews of the RET
The hands-off approach to residential solar may be considered by many as a very wise move given the massive support home solar power has in the community. Reducing or abolishing support would likely be remembered by millions of solar-supporting voters at the next election. 
However, the show is far from over.
"Of course this is a very positive development, but there is still along way to go and many concerns remain," said Mr. Grimes. "There is no detail on this position at this stage, and we do not know what 'no change to household solar' means for commercial solar and the threshold between the small and large scale schemes."
Mr. Grimes also pointed out a "real 20%" would effectively mean a 60% reduction in the Renewable Energy Target and would "kill large-scale solar in its tracks". He also recently forewarned that exempting the aluminium industry from the RET would result in a "conga line" of other emissions intensive industry wanting the same deal.
The end of 2 yearly reviews will likely be welcomed by the Clean Energy Council, which expressed its displeasure last night concerning an announcement of yet another RET review now under way; this one by the Climate Change Authority.
It's believed the Government will begin negotiations with Labor later this afternoon.
"The debate should not be about how much we should cut support for solar and the Renewable Energy Target. The debate must be about how much we expand our use of solar and achieve 50% renewable energy by 2030. Australians want more solar, not less," said Mr. Grimes.


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News for Wednesday 22 October, 2014


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