Green Energy WA Solar Energy News

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Friday, 26 April 2013

Where is your state in the solar race?

Solar households now represent almost 1.7 GW of installed capacity says Professor Ray Wills, chief adviser to the Sustainable Energy Association (SEA).
The impressive tally, gained from data up until the end of March sourced from the Australian Clean Energy Regulator, shows while solar power system installation rates have slowed a little from 2011 when 860 MW capacity was installed, an additional 600 MW of small scale solar capacity is likely to be added this year.
Queensland leads the nation both in terms of installed solar by number of systems and capacity.
A breakdown of each state:
Queensland: 209,217 systems, 475,136 kW capacity
New South Wales: 194,980 systems, 435,739 kW capacity
Victoria: 128,013 systems, 266,736 kW capacity
South Australia: 107,544, 254,149  kW capacity
Western Australia: 104,653, 218,914 kW capacity
Northern Territory: 1,551 systems, 5,140 kW capacity
Tasmania: 7,881 15,666 kW capacity

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Australia hits the 1 million mark!!

In our latest Green Energy WA news.

Australia has reached one million rooftop solar systems installed on homes and businesses, capping off a massive rise over the past decade of federal and state incentives.

The one million mark was exceeded on March 12, with an analysis of government data by solar industry consultants SunWiz finding 1,011,478 systems had been installed across the country at the end of last month.
The growth in rooftop solar has rapidly increased from fewer than 900 installations in 2006 to more than 300,000 last year.

Clean Energy Council chief executive David Green said about 2½ million Australians now lived in homes with solar panels.

"It is remarkable when you think that just five years ago in 2008 there were only about 20,000 systems installed across the entire country," Mr Green said.
"For some years solar has been most enthusiastically embraced by those in mortgage-belt suburbs, retirement areas and regional parts of the country. People from all walks of life have been installing solar as a way of protecting themselves from power price pain over the long term."

Federal and state governments have reduced or axed incentives for rooftop solar over the past few years, citing the large costs of the schemes and the falling cost of rooftop solar largely due to mass manufacturing in China.
Critics say those incentives for rooftop solar, namely feed-in tariffs, increased the power costs for consumers because a premium was paid for solar power fed back into the electricity grid. Some bodies have also questioned whether subsidising rooftop solar as a way to cut greenhouse gas emissions is efficient and cost effective.
Despite the massive take up of solar photovoltaics (PV), the technology still produces only a small proportion of Australia's electricity needs. Coal is still the dominant supplier of electricity, while hydro and wind are the largest renewable energy sources.

SunWiz data found that over the past year, the 2725 gigawatt hours of power generated by solar PV represented about 1.2 per cent of Australia's electricity needs.

But the rapid take-up of solar panels has been credited with contributing to a recent fall in electricity demand, alongside falls in manufacturing and behaviour changes due to rising power prices.

Of the states, Queensland has the most solar systems installed, at 304,000. NSW follows with 227,663, and then Victoria at 177,851.

SunWiz managing director Warwick Johnston said the cuts to government incentives were expected to reduce the number of solar panel installations over the next four years.
But he said installation rates would remain higher than those in the early part of past decade.

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Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Market to reach 31 GWS - Led by China

The photovoltaic market will continue its growth in 2013 albeit a little slower than in the past few years, according to a new NDP Solarbuzz report. The report projected that the PV market will grow about 7 percent this year to 31 gigawatts 29 GWs in 2012. The report also predicted that Germany’s solar market will finally be outpaced by China, which will be the world’s largest PV market in 2013.
“In 2013, we expect to see improvement in the market fundamentals that enable PV demand to return to double-digit growth,” Said Solarbuzz Senior Analyst Michael Barker. “Installed-system prices will continue to fall, and PV will become increasingly cost competitive across regions with high electricity rates, shortages in domestic supply, and growing renewable obligations to fulfill.”
Overall, the top 10 PV regions, which will include the U.S. and Canada, will still account for 83% of global PV demand. But 2013 will start to see a shift to emerging markets from Europe, which had been solar’s largest market. “2013 will represent another transition year, as the PV industry adjusts to softness across legacy European markets,” Barker said. Such a change has been projected in the past but it now looks like it is coming to pass.
Instead ChinaJapan, and India, will account for an increasing amount of PV demand and lead to 11 GWs of PV demand in 2013 thanks to new policies, according to the report. “The Chinese end-market will largely compensate for the downturn in demand from Germany, which previously led PV demand,” Barker said. The shift will also come because of further reductions in Europe’s incentives, which Solarbuzz projected will drive down demand there to 12 GWs, 26 percent less than installed in 2012.
In terms of installation types, Solarbuzz projected that with 45 percent of the market ground-mount arrays will dominate demand for solar in 2013. That’s largely because policies are favoring utility-based deployment. Residential market will remain a leader Japan, Germany, Australia, Italy, and the U.K. In those places, the residential sector of the solar market is expected to remain above 20 of all demand in those countries. The company also projects those countries will account for 75 percent of all residential installations in 2013.
Looking forward, the report projects that Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia will make up more of the global demand from 2014 on. While it will consist of less 8 percent of global demand this year, Solarbuzz projected it will double by 2017, driven primarily by South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Israel, and Mexico.
Brought to you by Green Energy WA 

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Suntech bankrupt

Suntech Power Holdings, the China-based maker of solar panels, declared bankruptcy on Wednesday, the state news agency Xinhua said.

On Monday of this week, according to ReutersSuntech said that it had defaulted on US$541 million of its bonds due on Friday, triggering defaults on loans from the International Finance Corporationand various Chinese lenders.
Industry experts will not be surprised by the latest high profile casualty to be hit by bankruptcy, as oversupply and low prices have crippled the industry.
"PV industry growth has followed a significant, often dramatic, upward trajectory. But unfortunately, revenues have followed an unprofitable path," says Paula Mints, founder, and chief market research analyst at SPV Market Research.
According to research by SPV, the top PV manufacturers have been losing considerable amounts of money: "The manufacturers [in the table below] shipped 58% of total shipments in 2012. Revenues for the manufacturers [in this table] were 65% of total revenues in 2012. But at the same time, the manufacturers [in this table] lost a combined US$2.1-billion last year".
Mints believes that a pricing recovery may not come quickly: "Currently the average price for PV modules is <US$0.70/Wp, with inventory trending significantly lower. High levels of inventory will keep prices down in 2013.
The good news is that deployment of technology will continue at high levels. The bad news is that manufacturer failures will continue. Once the consolidation in the industry is complete, PV module prices will increase".
NB: Paula Mints will be writing about the current predicament in the PV industry in the latest issue of Renewable Energy Focus magazine. The article will contain charts looking at PV Industry growth (2002-2013 estimate) and Regional PV Shipments and Average Selling Prices (2002-2012) For a free signup click here
Solar Energy News from Green Energy WA 

Friday, 15 March 2013

What do you think?

The Climate Change Authority discussion paper has recommended keeping Australia's Renewable Energy Target unchanged. 

This will be welcomed by the overwhelming majority of Australians who strongly support renewable energy. 

A stable target means investors can confidently commit another $18 billion in Australian renewable energy projects, employing 30,000 Australians. 

A stable target means renewable energy can become increasingly accessible and affordable for all Australians. 

It also means renewable energy can continue to lower Australia's carbon emissions and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. 

It's a recommendation that makes sense for investors and for all Australians who want renewable energy to be an important and viable part of Australia's energy future. 

That's why we look forward to continued bipartisan support for an unchanged Renewable Energy Target.

Be careful out there!!

Police scareware scam continues to target Australians

March 2013: SCAMwatch is urging people to continue to be alert to a scareware scam where scammers posing as the Australian Federal Police (AFP) try to scare you into handing over money to regain control of your computer.
A SCAMwatch alert on this scam was previously issued in October 2012, yet contacts to the ACCC have continued to increase since the beginning of the year.
This scam involves internet users finding that their computer has been frozen, with a pop-up alert appearing on their screen. The alert claims to be from the AFP and states that the user’s computer has been locked because they have visited an illegal website or breached various laws. The scammer claims that they will unlock the computer if a fee is paid.
The AFP does not solicit funds and this message is not associated with the AFP in any way.
Don’t let a scammer ransom you – if you pay, you are not guaranteed that you will regain control of your computer and there will likely be significant data losses once the virus is removed or computer unlocked.

How these scams work

  • You visit a website or receive an email that scammers have infected with scareware.
  • Out of the blue, your computer freezes and you receive a pop-up alert from what appears to be a reputable authority such as the Australian Federal Police. The alert may include a police logo to make it appear legitimate.
  • The alert states that your computer has been frozen because you have violated a law or visited an illegal website. Common claims made by the scammers are that you have violated laws around privacy, copyright or child pornography. 
  • In order to unlock the computer, you are instructed to pay a ’fine’ – usually $100 or $199 – using a prepaid money service. These services involve you purchasing a money voucher from a store, which can then be used to make online payments.
  • If you pay, the scammers may or may not unlock your computer. Even if you do regain access to your computer, malware may continue to operate so that the scammers can use your personal and financial details to commit fraud.

Protect yourself

  • Be wary about which websites you visit and do not open emails from unknown senders – emails may contain malware and some sites may automatically download malicious software on your computer.
  • Before you download a file, make sure it is from a reputable source. If the file, is a program (for example, the file name ends with .exe) make sure you know exactly what it will do.
  • Always keep your computer security up to date with anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a good firewall. Only buy computer and anti-virus software from a reputable source.
  • Be careful what you store on your computer – if a scammer gains access to your personal data, they can use it to steal your identity and your money. If you think your computer has been infected, contact your bank or financial institution immediately and change your passwords.
  • If you receive a pop up alert and are unable to perform any functions on your computer, it may have been infected and you might need a computer specialist to remove the malware. If you are able to perform some security functions on your computer, use your security software to run a virus check.
  • If you have received this scam, unfortunately your computer’s security has been compromised. Even if you have managed to regain control of your computer – whether by your own means or by paying the scammer – it could still be infected with malware. Use your security software to run a virus check but if you have any doubts, contact your anti-virus software provider or a computer specialist.

brought to you by Green Energy WA 

More bad electricity news

 The Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW (EWON) saw a 43% increase in complaints in 2011-2012, closing 25,162 cases (up from  17,559 the previous year).
Released today, EWON’s Annual Report 2011-2012 shows that consumers, particularly energy consumers, are experiencing problems across all categories in larger numbers than ever before. Billing issues, in particular disputed high bills, affordability-related credit issues and customer service problems dominated, with significant rises also noted in marketing and account transfer complaints.
The underlying issue of energy affordability is of great concern to EWON. “The circumstances of many customers who contacted us showed they were under real pressure,” said Clare Petre, Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW. “We found many cases where we could help a customer resolve a present, acute situation with their energy supplier – such as disconnection – but where there was clearly an underlying affordability problem that suggested the customer would have problems managing their bills in the future.”
Rising levels of hardship were reflected in disconnection complaints for the period: EWON received 29% more complaints from customers facing disconnection and a worrying 34% more complaints from customers who had already been disconnected. “We were also very concerned to see growing numbers of customers affected by debt collection activity and credit default listing – often for small amounts well under $300,” added Ms Petre.
As energy prices continue to increase, so too will the scale of affordability issues for consumers.  EWON was aware that consumers across other states were likewise affected and called for a national discussion bringing together all key stakeholders to work towards national solutions. “We received strong support for a national discussion and we are continuing to pursue this proposal,” said Ms Petre.
Increased marketing activity by energy retailers combined with growing price sensitivity, which motivated consumers to shop around, also had an impact on complaints to EWON. There was a 71% increase in marketing  complaints in the year (2070 cases) and an 86% rise in complaints relating to account transfers (4903 cases). EWON is continuing to receive customer reports about pressured and misleading energy marketing, as well as marketing to vulnerable consumers where informed consent is an issue.
These complaint growth trends are forecast to continue through 2012-2013. Looking ahead, Ms Petre said, “it is incumbent upon energy and water providers to invest in systems and resources to ensure they have the capability to respond to any increases in contacts from their customers.”
A Green Energy WA Manger agrees, it is likely bad news for the whole country. "Rises like these are never restricted to one state alone and we expected the rise to effect every state. Again the value of solar power is pushed to the forefront. The escalating bills are really effecting the older generation, its them we need to protect"
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