Green Energy WA Solar Energy News

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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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