Green Energy WA Solar Energy News

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Friday, 30 November 2012

Did you know


  • Paper makes up to 70 per cent of office waste.

Landfill Waste & Recycling

  • We produce and use about 7 trillion plastic bags per year (these bags last anything form 20 to 1,000 years).
  • The Styrofoam cups used every year would circle the planet at least five times, they are not biodegradable and are rarely recycled.
  • Recycling an aluminium can uses only 5% of the energy required to make a new one. Recycling glass uses 26% of the energy. Every tonne of paper recycled saves almost 13 trees, 4,100 kilowatts of electricity and more than 30,000 litres of water.
  • Daily worldwide sales figures of biros exceed 14 million: A plastic pen in landfill will still be there in 50,000 years.


  • Contain some 3,900 chemicals (many of which are dangerous to humans and living organisms). Filters are designed to trap some of the more dangerous by-products making the butt a poisonous pellet.
  • Butts take 15 years to break down in our climate. Most butts are washed into stormwater drains and end up in the ocean.
  • 4.5 trillion butts are littered worldwide each year.

Little Known Facts

  • Standard plastic bags last for thousands of years in the environment
  • Glass bottles can take one million years to biodegrade
  • A disposable nappy can take 300 million years to decompose naturally
  • A plastic bottle or ink cartridge can last indefinitely
  • Mobile phones and iPods are made from metals that do not biodegrade at all

Home and Office

  • An unplugged mobile phone charger wastes 95% of the energy used doing nothing.
  • Leaving the lights on, combined with computers left on standby, can double a companys energy bill. Lights left on generate unnecessary heat, requiring the air-conditioner to work overtime, using even more electricity.
  • An ordinary incandescent bulb converts most of the energy into heat not light. An energy efficient bulb can use up to 80% less energy and lasts about 8 times longer. Although it costs about 10 times more than an ordinary $1 bulb it will save over $80 in electricity.
"Developed countries represent 25% of the global population but use 80% of its resources and produce 75% of its waste."
Story thanks to Green Biz Check

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Australia concedes lead to South Africa in solar thermal technology

It is ironic that in the same week that the ambitious $1.2 billion Solar Dawn solar thermal project in south-west Queensland should finally be put to rest, construction of two solar thermal projects – with storage – should begin in South Africa.
The last chance for the Solar Dawn consortium led by French nuclear giant Areva for the construction of a 250MW solar thermal plant in Queensland, or even a scaled down version of it, was removed when the Australian Renewable Energy Agency rejected its funding proposal – after the federal government had done so under the previous Solar Flagships program.
Meanwhile, in South Africa, the Spanish group Abengoa last week began construction of two solar thermal projects boasting a mixture of solar tower and parabolic trough technologies. The 50MW Khi Solar One and 100MW KaXu Solar One CSP (concentrating solar power, another name for solar thermal) projects will feature storage and dry cooling technologies, to reduce water demands.
These are the sort of projects that should be pioneered and deployed in Australia. Instead, Australia’s obsession with grandiose schemes, its inflexible funding arrangements, and the lack of true support from state governments and major utilities, mean South Africa will lead and Australia will follow.
The failure of the Solar Flagships program, or the inability of various projects to lock in power price arrangements is not a failure of technology, as many would like to portray it, but a failure of policy – where the hubris of government overwhelms sound technical advice from the industry. It was an idea dreamed up by the egos in the office of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, and the bureaucrats were never able to meet the impossible task of matching such grandiose dreams – of having the biggest, but not necessarily the best – with sound policies. The coup-de-grace was delivered by Queensland Premier Campbell Newman in a similarly grand-standing gesture.
Greg Bourne, the chairman of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, is now tasked with addressing that policy shortfall, but at least he has more realistic goals. And certainly there is no room for sentiment.  Effectively, the first act of Ivor Frischknecht, the CEO of ARENA, has been to reject a project featuring the technology in which he was once an investor, in his role at Starfish Ventures, which was an investor in Ausra, which developed the compact linear reflector technology that Solar Dawn was proposing to use.
Given the funds at his disposal, and his timeframe, Bourne and Frischknecht have indicated that he will be focusing on regional and remote regions, and looking at hybrid solutions in areas where fossil fuel is already expensive.
The one opportunity that Australia now has for a solar thermal project in the short term may well be in Port August, where Alinta has held some discussions with ARENA, for a possible replacement of its coal-fired power stations there. What they may propose, however, is a hybrid systems no dissimilar to the solar booster that is currently being built in Queensland by Areva.
But the importance of solar thermal should not be underestimated. Even the Energy White Paper, a conservative document prepared by the Federal Energy ministry and released last week, said 16 per cent of Australia’s electricity demand could be sourced from solar thermal by 2050. That could make Australia a leader in solar thermal, but for the moment it trails.
That, however, was built around a rather conservative estimate of CSP costs. The Energy White Paper estimates CSP estimates costs of $322-$399/MWh. This compares to $280/MWh in the South African case, and estimates of around $250/MWh by Australia’s solar industry.
South Africa is succeeding with stand alone systems because it has introduced a market-focused system that has successfully attracted many of the world’s largest solar and other alternative energy developers, through an auction-based system that has attracted more than $5 billion of projects in its first two auctions.
The ACT is the only state or territory government that has pursued a similar strategy, albeit at a much smaller scale. It has so far had one round of bidding that should see a 20MW solar PV project being built near Canberra by the end of 2013.
In South Africa, the Khi Solar One and KaXu Solar One projects both have power purchase agreements with the state-owned power utility Eskom in place, and financing with a range of South African and international financial institutions.
Abengoa says the dry cooling technologies will reduce water consumption by around two thirds compared to other CSP plants, while Khi Solar One will have two hours storage, and Kaxu will have three hours storage to provide greater flexibility and the ability to dispatch power to meet demand after sunset.
The tragedy is that those projects could, and should, have been built first in Australia. But Australia was too obsessed with projects of a grandiose nature that it lost the opportunity.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Solar Goal Posts Moved Again - Panic Rush About To Start

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency
Minister for Industry and Innovation


GC 307/12
16 November 2012


Due to continued strong demand for household solar, the Federal Government will phase out the Solar Credits mechanism six months ahead of schedule on 1 January 2013. This will lower the impact of the high uptake of solar PV on electricity costs for homes and businesses.
Phasing out the multiplier early will strike the appropriate balance between easing upward pressure on electricity prices and supporting households and suppliers who install solar PV. The overall reduction in electricity bills is estimated to be in the order of $80 to $100 million in 2013.
Installation of small-scale systems and solar hot water heaters continues to be supported under the Renewable Energy Target scheme, with solar PV systems benefiting from generous arrangements that provide support for 15 years worth of generation upfront.
The Solar Credits mechanism has provided additional support for installations of small-scale solar PV by multiplying the number of certificates these systems would usually create under the RET scheme. As this benefit was never available to solar hot water heaters, the phase out puts solar PV and solar water heaters back onto a level playing field.
The multiplier was always designed to reduce over time. Bringing forward the phase-out of the multiplier to 1 January 2013 will help place the industry on a sustainable path and ease pressure on electricity prices. By 2014 the small-scale scheme is expected to cost electricity consumers around 70 per cent less than in 2012.
The carbon price improves the economics of household solar and this change will enhance the complementarity of the RET support with the incentive the carbon price provides. States and Territories are also examining the complementarity of their climate change policies in light of principles agreed by COAG in 2008.
Consistent with a previous reduction in the multiplier announced in May 2011, legally binding contracts to install supported systems, already entered into before today and made on the basis of the current rules, will be preserved. The same applies to systems installed before 1 January 2013. See
Media contact: Mark Davis, Gia Hayne 02 6277 7920

If you need clarification as to how these new rules apply to your solar decisions call Green Energy WA today - 1300 882 551 or visit

Monday, 22 October 2012

Consumer-oriented Electricity Market?

A draft report by the Productivity Commission, Electricity Network Regulation Frameworks, has found that regulation and ownership arrangements for electricity networks require overhaul.
The costs of electricity networks — the wires and poles criss-crossing Eastern Australia — now represent as much as one-half of people's average power bills. Network cost rises are responsible for much of the surge in electricity prices over the last five years.
Philip Weickhardt, the Presiding Commissioner for the inquiry, said: 'The current regulatory regime is undermining the capacity of network business managers to run their businesses efficiently, and puts up barriers to consumer involvement. There is no quick fix, but our proposed reforms can deliver a more efficient system and potentially save billions of dollars.'
The report says that a few periods of peak demand — mostly during hot spells in summer — require huge amounts of infrastructure. The Commission recommends the phased introduction of more cost-based pricing, combined with smart technologies. It says this would cut network costs and end the large hidden subsidies, often from lower income households, to people who use a lot of power at peak times.
The Commission also recommends the creation of a new industry-funded consumer body, with enough expertise to contribute to regulatory determinations and merit reviews. It also proposes a national, consumer-focused, approach to reliability standards. These can vary without reason across states, and sometimes require costly investments to achieve a much higher level of reliability thanconsumers would otherwise choose.
The report also recommends that all state-owned network businesses be privatised (but remain strongly regulated). It finds that this would improve efficiency and avoid the conflicting mix of state government influences on their corporations.
The Commission finds that over the shorter run, there is limited scope to use regulatory benchmarking, which rewards businesses based on their relative efficiency. It notes that fixing the flaws of the regulatory framework would in any case be a prerequisite to its meaningful use.
The Commission is seeking public feedback on its draft proposals. Its final report will be delivered to Government in April 2013.

Background information

Ralph Lattimore, Assistant Commissioner 02 6240 3242

Requests for comment/other

Clair Angel, Media & Publications 02 6240 3239 / 0417 665 443
As seen at

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Solar in Governments Hands

The Australian government in July started charging polluters for the carbon they emit to reduce the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels and encourage wind and solar power. The country also plans to invest $10 billion in Clean Energy Finance Corp. to help the industry.

“First Solar has labeled Australia as one of the more prospective markets globally, and we would agree with that,” said Tim Buckley, managing director at Sydney-based Arkx Investment Management, which owns shares in the US panel manufacturer. “But progress to date has been limited,” partly because of uncertainty about government energy policy.

While Australia has the highest average solar radiation per square meter of any continent, according to the government, some projects picked to receive solar grants, including a venture led by Areva SA in the state of Queensland, have failed to meet financing deadlines and sign power-supply agreements.

“If you can’t create a sustainable solar market in Australia, it’s difficult to see how you can create one in other markets without strong government intervention,” Curtis said.

Solar News from Green Energy WA 

Read more:

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Did you know?

Our mother Earth receives more energy from the sun in an hour than is used in the entire world in one year. 

Did you know Leonardo da Vinci predicted a solar industrialisation back in 1447 Makes you wonder knowing  it is only in recent years that the world has turned to solar power systems. 

Did you know that Shell Oil now predicts that 50% of the world's energy will come from renewable sources by 2040.

Solar Energy from Green Energy WA - Truly the way forward 

Visit us today - WA's No1 Solar Company 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Chinese Solar In Disarray

BEIJING — China in recent years established global dominance in renewable energy, its solar panel and wind turbine factories forcing many foreign rivals out of business and its policy makers hailed by environmentalists around the world as visionaries.
But now China’s strategy is in disarray. Though worldwide demand for solar panels andwind turbines has grown rapidly over the last five years, China’s manufacturing capacity has soared even faster, creating enormous oversupply and a ferocious price war.
The result is a looming financial disaster, not only for manufacturers but for state-owned banks that financed factories with approximately $18 billion in low-rate loans and for municipal and provincial governments that provided loan guarantees and sold manufacturers valuable land at deeply discounted prices.
China’s biggest solar panel makers are suffering losses of up to $1 for every $3 of sales this year, as panel prices have fallen by three-fourths since 2008. Even though the cost of solar power has fallen, it still remains triple the price of coal-generated power in China, requiring substantial subsidies through a tax imposed on industrial users of electricity to cover the higher cost of renewable energy.
The outcome has left even the architects of China’s renewable energy strategy feeling frustrated and eager to see many businesses shut down, so the most efficient companies may be salvageable financially.
In the solar panel sector, “If one-third of them survive, that’s good, and two-thirds of them die, but we don’t know how that happens,” said Li Junfeng, a longtime director general for energy and climate policy at the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic planning agency.
Mr. Li said in an interview that he wanted banks to cut off loans to all but the strongest solar panel companies and let the rest go bankrupt. But banks — which were encouraged by Beijing to make the loans — are not eager to acknowledge that the loans are bad and take large write-offs, preferring to lend more money to allow the repayment of previous loans. Many local and provincial governments also are determined to keep their hometown favorites afloat to avoid job losses and to avoid making payments on loan guarantees, he said.
Mr. Li’s worries appear to be broadly shared in Beijing. “For the leading companies in the sector, if they’re not careful, the whole sector will disappear,” said Chen Huiqing, the deputy director for solar products at the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products.
The Chinese government also wants to see the country’s more than 20 wind turbine manufacturers, many of which are losing money, consolidate to five or six. “Wind does not need so many manufacturers,” said Mr. Li, who in addition to drafting renewable energy policies is the president of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association.
Chinese solar company executives blame their difficulties partly on the United States’s decisions last spring to impose antidumping and anti-subsidy tariffs on solar panel imports, and on the European Union’s recent decision to start its own antidumping investigation of imports from China.
“It is not a Chinese industry problem, it is a global solar industry problem,” said Rory Macpherson, a spokesman for Suntech Power, one of the largest Chinese solar panel manufacturers. “It is primarily the result of an imbalance between supply and demand, and the U.S. and E.U. trade investigations.”
Mr. Li said the solar industry’s problems were the result of overcapacity in China, and not the fault of trade restrictions.
Yet he insisted that if the Chinese government could turn back the clock and revisit past renewable energy decisions, it would not do anything differently.
The problem lies in the eagerness of Chinese businesses to rush into any new industry that looks attractive and swamp it with investments, he said. Chinese companies and their bankers are then far more reluctant than Western companies to admit defeat for investments that prove unprofitable.
Mr. Li added that banking regulators had not yet decided what to do about banks’ exposure to the solar sector. The central government tried without success to learn from local and provincial government agencies how much of the solar industry’s bank debt they have guaranteed, Mr. Li said.
Chinese solar power companies are making some cutbacks. Suntech, based in Wuxi, is temporarily closing a quarter of its solar cell capacity. It will transfer a majority of the 1,500 affected workers to other operations and provide severance payments to the rest.
Jiangsu province, where Suntech has its headquarters and most of its factories, issued an unusual appeal to state-owned banks several weeks ago to continue lending money to the company, a step that Mr. Li criticized as inappropriate. Mr. Macpherson of Suntech wrote in an e-mail that the Jiangsu government had not guaranteed any of the company’s debt, which totaled $2.26 billion at the end of the first quarter, including some convertible bonds in addition to bank loans. Trina Solar, one of its biggest rivals, also has said it will “streamline its operations” and shrink its work force, but did not provide details.
Trina shares have dropped 85 percent in the last three years and Suntech shares have fallen more than 98 percent in the last five years. Both trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
The modest cutbacks in production barely put a dent in China’s overcapacity problem. GTM Research, a renewable energy consulting firm in Boston, estimates that Chinese companies have the ability to manufacture 50 gigawatts of solar panels this year, while the Chinese domestic market is on track to absorb only 4 to 5 gigawatts. Exports will take another 18 or 19 gigawatts.
The enormously expensive equipment in solar panel factories needs to be run around the clock, seven days a week, to cover costs.
“You want to be up at 80 percent, so they’re half of what they need,” said Shayle Kann, the head of GTM Research, which is a unit of Greentech Media.
Chinese companies have struggled even though a dozen solar companies in the United States and another dozen in Europe have gone bankrupt or closed factories since the start of last year. The bankruptcies and closures have done little to ease the global glut and price war because China by itself represents more than two-thirds of the world’s capacity.
To reduce capacity, foreign rivals have clamored for China to subsidize the purchase of more solar panels at home, instead of having Chinese companies rely so heavily on exports. But the government here is worried about the cost of doing so, because the price of solar power remains far higher than for coal-generated power.
The average cost of electricity from solar panels in China works out to 19 cents per kilowatt-hour, said Mr. Li. That is three times the cost of coal-fired power. But it is a marked improvement from 63 cents per kilowatt-hour for solar power four years ago.
China’s official goal is to install 10 gigawatts of solar panels a year by 2015, using 20-year contracts to guarantee payment for electricity purchased from them. If costs stay where they are now, the subsidies would be $50 billion over 20 years for every 10 gigawatts of solar power installed, based on figures supplied by Mr. Li.
Even if solar power costs fall by a third, as the government hopes, he said, “it’s big money.”

Global view by Green Energy WA
Fully Story NYTIMES 

Monday, 24 September 2012

BREE forecasts $189 billion and then some

The Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) has published its quarterly forecasting of the country’s resources and energy commodity export earnings for the 2012-13 year, which are now tipped to be in excess of $189 billion.

The Resources and Energy Quarterly September Quarter report shows increases across the majority of major minerals and energy commodities, with the largest increases in volumes projected for LNG (21 per cent), thermal coal (14 per cent) and metallurgical coal (12 per cent).

"The latest forecasts of volumes and prices show two distinct trends. First, the prices of many resources have moderated from historic highs in 2011 and further declines are expected over the medium term in US$ terms relative to these peaks. Second, Australian export volumes, especially in terms of bulk commodities, are growing rapidly and are expected to do so for several years to come" said Professor Quentin Grafton, BREE's Executive Director and Chief Economist.

Growth in exports volumes of iron ore are also forecast to remain robust, increasing by 8 per cent to over 500 million tonnes in 2012–13.

According to the report, the robust growth in LNG exports in the coming year reflects the start up of major projects, such as the Pluto LNG project, which will increase the country’s LNG capacity from around 20 million tonnes to over 24 million tonnes.

"This forecast, as emphasised in the macroeconomic outlook, is based on assumed improvements in world, OECD and Chinese economic growth in 2013 and the assumption that the Australian dollar will remain close to parity with the US dollar in 2013" said Professor Grafton.

The full report can be found here

Brought to you by... Green Energy WA

Energy market Reforms Argued

The Clean Energy Council (CEC) has argued that energy market reform is crucial to keeping power prices down.

In its submission to the Senate Select Committee on Electricity Prices, the CEC has argued that rules that underpin how the electricity industry delivers power to consumers do not reflect the need of consumers or the changing needs of the energy system.

“Australia, along with many other developed countries, is experiencing significant electricity price increases, with very real consequences for vulnerable households and businesses,” said CEC Chief Executive David Green.

“It’s great news that the cost of moving to a more equitable and cleaner future for Australia is set to fall to less than 4 per cent of bills by 2020. Getting the framework right to ensure network costs do not reach the forecast 55 per cent of an Australian household energy bill is now essential,” said Mr Green.

The CEC has also argued that the National Electricity Objective does not adequately represent the needs of electricity bill-payers, long-economic factors of the need for environmentally sustainable development.

Reform of the National Electricity Objective will allow the long-term interests of consumers to have far greater weight with regulatory decision makers,” Mr Green said.

“Now we need to get on with the job of making real changes to Australia’s energy market that will deliver actual benefits to consumers in the form of more money in their pockets.”

The CEC’s submission to the Senate Select Committee on Electricity Prices is available online at

Brought to you by.. Green Energy WA

Monday, 17 September 2012

WA In The News

Scientists have for the first time identified a number of WA sites capable of producing large quantities of commercial biofuel from microalgae.

They say the best sites for big-scale algal biofuel plants include stretches of land south of Geraldton, south-east of Exmouth and large areas near Karratha and Port Hedland.

Professor Michael Borowitzka from Murdoch University’s Algae Research and Development Centre and Assistant Professor Bryan Boruff from the School of Earth and Environment at The University of Western Australia used Geographical Information Systems (GIS) technology to study more than 2250km of WA coastline from Lancelin to Broome and 170km inland.

Their report, Identification of the Optimum Sites for Industrial-scale Microalgae Biofuel Production in WA using a GIS Model, was prepared for the WA Government-funded Centre for Research into Energy for Sustainable Transport (CREST) and is the first WA-wide study of its kind.

Professor Borowitzka, a leading world authority on algal biofuel production, said WA had several key advantages for suitable sites: abundant sunshine, extensive land unsuitable for agriculture and plenty of water in the Indian Ocean.

“But not all of WA is ideal for such plants, so we examined sites scientifically by assessing land suitability, access to infrastructure and workforce, carbon dioxide availability − along with nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus − and climate,” Professor Borowitzka said.

Assistant Professor Boruff added: “Commercial success depends on economically viable, large-scale production, which is why this study is so important.”

Professor Borowitzka said more research and development was needed to find the most energy-efficient and economically feasible way to extract and convert algal biomass into renewable bioenergy.

Limited world fossil fuel resources and an ever-increasing global demand for energy have prompted substantial interest in renewable biofuels. Professor Borowitzka has been at the forefront of research into producing biofuels from algae.

Algal biofuels − especially liquid fuels produced from algae oils − are seen as an important component of a future clean biofuels mix, he said.

Its fast growth rate and high oil content appears to make microalgae particularly well-suited to renewable biodiesel production and offers an attractive sustainable alternative source to other compounds such as carotenoids, polyunsaturated fatty acids and polysaccharides.

WA already has the world’s biggest commercial microalgae production plant at Hutt Lagoon, north of Geraldton.

US biofuel producer Aurora Algae and Australian biofuel start-up company Muradel Pty Ltd − a joint venture between Murdoch University, Adelaide Research and Innovation Pty Ltd and SQC Pty Ltd − have also built pilot plants in Karratha.

Cheap Brands Under Fire

A new national framework to set common standards and energy efficiency ratings on appliances, machinery and other materials will come into effect on 1 October, following the passage of legislation through Federal Parliament.

The Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS) legislation will deliver consistent information and energy standards to consumers by combining all state and territory regulations into one framework, overseen by a single national regulator. The same standards will be adopted in New Zealand.

Mark Dreyfus, Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency said GEMS will provide a more comprehensive program covering gas, electricity and other types of energy, as well creating a legal basis to potentially cover products that can reduce energy consumption such as glazing for windows and insulation.

“GEMS also ensures the worst performing appliances can't be sold in Australia," he said.

The GEMS legislation has received support from industry associations, including the Australian Industry Group (AIG), Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association (CESA) and Airconditioning and Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturers Association of Australia (AREMA).

Further detail on GEMS is available at

Monday, 10 September 2012

NSW Renewable Energy Action Plan

The NSW Government has released its draft Renewable Energy Action Plan for public comment.

The draft Renewable Energy Action Plan outlines 28 actions to help NSW meet the Government’s target of 20% renewable energy by 2020, steer investment to NSW and build on the State’s expertise in renewable technology.

The draft plan, prepared with assistance from the joint industry-government Renewable Energy Taskforce chaired by the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O’Kane, sets out the opportunities and actions underway for each of the renewable energy technologies in NSW.

It identifies wind energy as “one of the most commercially ready and cost effective technologies that can be deployed on a large-scale”, predicting that wind energy will deliver the bulk of new renewable generation up to 2020.

The Plan also details new proposals to most efficiently grow renewable energy generation in NSW, with new actions that aim to:
  • Attract renewable energy investment and projects
  • Build community support for renewable energy
  • Attract and grow expertise in renewable energy technology
  • Contain costs for energy customers through increased energy efficiency.

The plan is available here. Comments are due by 26 October.

Thanks to for this update

Thursday, 6 September 2012

8MW deal for Canadian Solar

Canadian Solar has supplied more than 8MW of solar modules to groSolar for three utility and commercial photovoltaic projects in the United States.

All three projects use Canadian Solar’s CS6p module. The largest project is a 6MW plant currently under construction in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Once completed, it will be the largest solar installation in the state, supplying around 7.5mn kilowatt hours of energy annually under a 15-year power purchase agreement.
The two other groSolar projects have already been completed: a 1.8MW solar project at Camden County Municipal Utility Authority’s (CCMUA) wastewater treatment plant in Camden, New Jersey, and a 1.5MW installation at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. groSolar serves the 1-20MW commercial and utility markets with complete EPC, financing, and development support.

Don't forget you can buy the latest from Canadian Solar At Green Energy WA. Your solar hot water and solar energy centre in Perth WA

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Who is Alex? The Solar Wave Glider

Alex is one of about 100 Wave Gliders built so far by the company Liquid Robotics. Solar panels on the top of the Wave Glider provide renewable energy to power its data collection equipment, which includes a standard weather station as well as a thermistor chain for measuring below-surface water temperatures up to seven meters deep (thermistor refers to an electrical device for sensing temperature).
Without the need for refueling or resupply, the Wave Glider can remain in continuous action for months at a time.
Solar power is just one part of the secret to the Wave Glider’s mobility. Its platform basically consists of two parts connected in a type of hinge, which enables it to harvest the energy from ocean waves and convert it into forward thrust.

Many Jobs for a Green Robot

Saving human life through more accurate storm and tsunami prediction is just part of the Wave Glider’s job. Earlier this month, CleanTechnica described the launch of Stanford University’s Wave Glider, which will integrate with a network of stationary buoys to improve ocean health monitoring.
Tracking fish populations, monitoring individual sea creatures and collecting data on unusual events such as algae and phytoplankton blooms are a few of the jobs under way for the Wave Glider.
As for durability, Wave Gliders have already encountered and survived hurricane conditions during a Pacific Ocean crossing this summer, which Liquid Robotics is chronicling on its PacX blog, so weathering a bit of bluster from our friend Rush should be a piece of cake.

Green Energy WA - No1 for Solar Energy WA, Solar Hot Water Perth WA, Solar News and Environmental Information

Clean Technica (

Solar-Powered Robot Tracks Hurricane Isaac

A solar-powered, wave-hopping robot named Alex was launched into the ocean by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) earlier this month to help improve hurricane tracking, and the boogie-board-sized craft has already had its first taste of action. It has been busily collecting ocean data on the fringes of Hurricane Isaac’s path north of Puerto Rico, and sooner or later this season it may find itself smack in the middle of a hurricane. As if that’s not a big enough job, Alex could also find itself in the crosshairs of Rush Limbaugh’s next rant about “weather dolts” at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center.

Wave Glider solar powered robot

Mobile Robots Improve Hurricane Tracking

According to a recent article by Tekla Perry for IEEE, one key goal is to gain a better understanding of the factors that propel a tropical storm into hurricane status, and from one category of intensity to another.
Water temperature plays a critical role in this progression, but data from satellites, manned ships, airplanes, and moored buoys are providing an incomplete picture. Alex is able to measure ocean temperatures below the surface, and as a simply designed and unmanned craft, it can brave conditions that would be far too risky for a human or a more complicated device.

Clean Technica (

Green Energy WA - No1 for Solar Energy WA, Solar Hot Water Perth WA, Solar News and Environmental Information

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Aussies Lead The Way

Australian households installed more residential rooftop solar power systems last year than any other nation.
Approximately 392,500 new home solar systems were activated in 2011 according to data from the Clean Energy Regulator and the International Energy Agency.
A fact sheet released by REC Agents Association (RAA) based on data from the Clean Energy Regulator states Australians had installed nearly 1.5 million solar hot water and solar panel systems to the end of June.
As at 30 June, 2012, renewable energy certificates had been created for 753,844 solar panel systems; representing 1,671,489 kW capacity. A further 743,842 solar heat pump and solar hot water systems had been installed.
Close to 18% of all Australian families now has one or the other or both installed - 9% of households have solar electricity generation systems.
"Recognition must go to the Howard Government for having the vision to establish a world leading Renewable Energy Target, to the Rudd Government for increasing that target four-fold and to the Gillard Government for delivering on the promise of the Renewable Energy Target," says Ric Brazzale, President of RAA.
"Whilst four million Australians now have solar on their roofs, many more Australians are keen to get on board. The Renewable Energy Target must be maintained, expanded and extended over time to help deliver solar to all Australians."
Some corners of industry have called for the scrapping of the Renewable Energy Target due to the introduction of a carbon price. However, last month, Australia's Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Greg Combet stated this would "fail to deliver the transformation needed in our energy sector and only increase the cost of that transformation in later years."
REC Agents Association represents businesses creating and trading in Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs); the mechanism behind Australia's Renewable Energy Target and the basis of the Solar Credits Scheme. Often referred to as a solar rebate, Solar Credits is an initiative that subsidises solar panel systems. 

Story supplied by Energy Matters