Green Energy WA Solar Energy News

We welcome you to our blog and hope you enjoy your visit!

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