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Qld govt supports $100m for new solar projects

Posted by admin on December 16th, 2010

The  Energy Minister Stephen Robertson said that   “Queensland could become home to one of the world’s largest solar power stations”. Mr Robertson on Wednesday announced $100 million to go towards two projects that receive funding under the federal government’s Solar Flagships program.

This  program involves the construction of large-scale solar power plants in Australia and four Queensland projects have been shortlisted. Round one includes one large solar thermal station and one solar photovoltaic station.

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Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme

Posted by admin on October 22nd, 2010

2400 Schools Already Signed Up For Solar

Posted by admin on October 21st, 2010

Approximately 2,400 schools have registered an interest in the $480 million National Solar Schools Program (NSSP) since it started on 1st July 2008. Schools can see the benefits of improving their energy and water efficiency and at the same time reducing their carbon pollution and tackling Climate Change.

Through the Solar Schools Program, schools can sell their unused electricity  generated by their solar systems back into the power network during weekends and holiday periods thus becoming “mini renewable power stations”.

The National Solar Schools Program enables students and the local community to become practically involved in measures to combat Climate Change in the transition to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme which the Federal Government is expected to implement.

Victorian Premier Opens First Stage Of Solar Power Project

Posted by admin on October 21st, 2010

The Premier, John Brumby, today officially opened a $10 million state-of-the art solar plant at Bridgewater, further boosting Victoria’s status as a global leader in clean energy technology.

At Bridgewater, Mr Brumby said Victoria-based Solar Systems’ new solar pilot plant demonstrated the Victorian Government’s commitment to attracting new investment in clean energy to Victoria.

“Climate change is one of our biggest challenges for the future and that’s why our Government is taking action to stimulate new investment in solar power in Victoria,” Mr Brumby said.

“Solar power is a potentially limitless resource, crucial to tackling climate change and to meeting our energy needs into the future and the new Bridgewater research plant will play an important role in creating an environmentally sustainable solar energy industry in Victoria.

“The site at Bridgewater will be used to test and optimise technology and is a key milestone in the $420 million large-scale solar power station planned for the Mildura region.

“Experience gained at this facility will pave the way for Victoria to build the largest and most efficient PV solar power station of its kind in the world which will provide electricity for an estimated 45,000 homes, translating to about 400,000 tonnes per annum in reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

“The photovoltaic technology at the Bridgewater Research and Development Facility is able to produce 1500 times more power at much lower costs than residential solar panels because it uses relatively inexpensive glass and steel to concentrate sun light onto fewer of the relatively more expensive photovoltaic cells.

“It will build on the successes Solar Systems is having in high-concentration solar photovoltaic applications, strengthening Victoria’s status as a global leader in clean energy.”

Energy and Resources Minister, Peter Batchelor said that the innovative approach converted sunlight directly into electricity that could then be exported to the national electricity grid.

“The Brumby Government is taking action to promote and attract new investment in solar technology. The Brumby Government’s Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) scheme played a crucial role in attracting the Solar Systems project to this state,” Mr Batchelor said.

“Solar Systems has also received a grant of up to $50 million from our Energy Technology Innovation Strategy (ETIS) for their 154 megawatt solar power project.

“ETIS has also facilitated the expansion of Solar Systems’ photovoltaic technology on the international market. Photovoltaic cells are among the world’s fastest growing energy technologies and since 2002 their production has increased on average 48 per cent nationally. I am pleased with the support regional councils have shown the project.”

The Brumby Government has contributed $50 million to help deliver the 154MW solar power station, with construction to begin next year once a site in the Mildura region has been finalised.

Federal Government Grid Connect Solar Processing News Nov 2008

Posted by admin on October 21st, 2010

SolarGen has just been informed of the latest figures from Canberra relating to quantities of grid connect solar rebates received each week and processed

The table also identifies the number of grid connect solar installation reports received (this happens after the system is commissioned) and paid.

The report also details which week period in each Australian State the Government is processing for grid connect solar rebate pre approvals.

To view the solar panel grid report, please click on the table below.

NSW to introduce solar feed-in tariff in 2009

Posted by admin on October 21st, 2010

NSW households who own and operate grid connect solar power systems will be paid up to sixty (60) cents per kilowatt hour generated. The move, initiated by the Rees Government yesterday, is designed to encourage the uptake of grid connect solar panels in order to meet the 2020 target whereby 20% of all power consumed will be supplied from renewable energy.

In a statement made by NSW Environment Minister Carmel Tebbutt “A feed-in tariff makes solar panels more affordable because people are paid for the clean electricity they produce.”

The taskforce has been established and will report back to government in January, with the scheme expected to be implemented by mid-2009.

Queensland’s New Solar Feed-In Tariff Has Commenced.

Posted by admin on October 21st, 2010

The Queensland Government Solar Bonus Scheme pays households and other small customers for the surplus electricity generated from roof-top solar photovoltaic (PV) panel systems, that is exported to the Queensland electricity grid. The scheme is designed to make solar power more affordable for Queenslanders, stimulate the solar power industry and encourage energy efficiency.

The scheme rewards customers whenever they generate more electricity than they are using – not just the balance at the end of the quarter, but whenever generation exceeds consumption during the day.

The scheme is designed to boost the state’s use of renewable energy, encourage energy efficiency and stimulate the solar power industry in Queensland.

The Solar Bonus Scheme commenced on 1 July 2008. Customers wishing to claim the solar bonus should contact the electricity retailer that supplies them with grid-connected electricity.

How much will consumers be paid?

Customers participating in the scheme will be paid 44 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for surplus electricity fed into the grid—around three times the current general domestic use tariff of 16.29c/kWh (inc GST as at 1 July 2008).

The average consumer operating a 1 kilowatt (kW) solar system could save up to 25 per cent on their electricity bill by using electricity generated by the PV system and from payments received from the Solar Bonus Scheme.

The amount of electricity a customer returns to the grid will depend on how much energy is being consumed while the solar panels are generating power. Customers may be able to maximise their solar bonus by improving the energy efficiency of their home to export more electricity to the grid. This could be achieved by reducing standby power consumption, shifting some tasks to the evening and minimising the use of air-conditioners. Visit the EnergyWise tips section for simple ways to make your home more energy-efficient.

Who is eligible to receive the bonus?

To be eligible to receive the solar bonus, customers must:

* consume no more than 100 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity a year (the average household uses 10 MWh a year)
* purchase and install a new solar power (photovoltaic) system (not solar hot water system) or operate an existing system that is connected to the Queensland electricity grid
* generate surplus electricity that is fed into the Queensland electricity grid
* have an agreement in place with their electricity distributor (Ergon Energy or Energex) and have appropriate metering installed
* have solar PV systems with a capacity of up to 10kVA for single phase power and 30kVA for three-phase power
* hold an electricity account with an electricity retailer.

How will customers receive the solar bonus?

The solar bonus of 44c/kWh will be paid for electricity fed into the grid at times when the solar system generates more electricity than the household or business is using at any instant.

When the meter reader visits a customer’s home or business at the end of the quarter, the total amount of electricity exported to the grid and the total amount imported from the grid will be read and passed onto the retailer to calculate the bill.

The customer’s quarterly solar bonus payment for this excess electricity exported to the grid will be deducted from their total grid-connected electricity consumption charge on their electricity bill.

The customer’s grid-connected electricity consumption will also be lower (than without a solar system) as a result of the household or business consuming a portion of its electricity directly from the solar system.

If the solar bonus payments are greater than the total grid-connected electricity consumption charges over a 12-month period, the customer is entitled to have this balance refunded, rather than maintaining an ongoing credit.

When can consumers start claiming the solar bonus?

The Solar Bonus Scheme has now commenced. Customers wishing to participate in the scheme should contact the electricity retailer that supplies them with grid-connected electricity.

For customers participating in scheme, the solar bonus of 44 cents will be offered until 2028, but is to  be reviewed after 10 years or when 8 megawatts of solar systems are  installed (equal to 8,000 systems of 1 kW capacity), whichever occurs first.

How will the electricity metering operate?

The electricity generated by the solar power system is fed into the customer’s electricity load to help power the home or business in the first instance. It is also connected to the electricity grid via a meter (or meters) which record both electricity imported from the grid and exported to the grid. When the electricity produced by the solar power system exceeds the customer’s demand for electricity, this excess electricity is fed into the grid via the appropriate ‘export’ register of the meter.

The meter records the amount of electricity exported to the grid rather than the total amount of electricity generated by the solar system.

When the customer uses more electricity than is being produced by the solar PV system, the balance of electricity required is taken from the electricity grid via the appropriate ‘import’ register of the meter.

What electricity metering is required?

Customers wishing to claim the solar bonus will need electricity metering that separately records electricity imports and exports.

If required, the installation of new or additional meters will need to be arranged with the electricity distributor by your electricity retailer and costs met by the individual customer.

Customers with an existing solar PV system wired in a ‘gross’ metering configuration will need to rewire their system to a ‘net’ configuration, in order to participate in the scheme. Customers wishing to change their metering arrangements will need to consult with their electricity retailer.

Climate change targets trimmed

Posted by admin on October 21st, 2010

THE Federal Government has today ruled out a deep cut to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions before 2020, believing the world will not get its act together on climate change soon.

The Government has set an absolute maximum cut to emissions of 15 per cent by 2020 – if the world signs an effective climate pact – in its greenhouse plan released today.

If no pact is signed, Australia will go with an unconditional 5 per cent cut in emissions.

These targets fly in the face of calls from scientists for countries to slash their emissions by 25 to 40 per cent to avert catastrophic climate change.

The Government says it’s unlikely the world can forge a strong greenhouse agreement so its targets are realistic.

“A fair and effective global agreement delivering deep cuts in emissions … would be in Australia’s interests,” the plan says.

“Achieving global commitment to emissions reductions of this order appears unlikely in the next commitment period.”

The Full White document can be viewed at: http://www.climatechange.gov.au/whitepaper/index.html

Electricity bills to increase by 13 per cent in 2009

Posted by admin on October 21st, 2010

QUEENSLAND households will have to find an extra $230 to pay for their power bills next year.

The Queensland Competition Authority has announced in a draft decision that electricity prices will increase by 13.63 per cent next financial year.

The increase is the third since the Government promised there would be downward pressure on prices with its decision to deregulate the electricity market.

further price hike could also be imminent with suppliers AGL and Origin fighting in the courts against previous QCA increases they claim were too small.

Previous price increases have been 5 per cent and 11 per cent.

The QCA said prices would have to rise because of a 15.8 per cent in energy costs, due to rising fuel and capital costs and an increase in the transmission and distribution costs of 12.3 per cent.

Queensland Energy Minister Geoff Wilson said he would now examine the proposal.
“I recognise that it’s a blow for Queenslanders struggling on tight budgets,” Mr Wilson said.
“I’ve directed my department to closely scrutinise that decision to ensure that that proposal by the Queensland Competition Authority provides nothing other than for the genuine increases in prices for electricity over the last 12 months.”

Solar panel means test to be scrapped

Posted by admin on October 21st, 2010

MORE households will qualify for up to $7500 to install solar panels under changes to a Federal Government rebate.

The Government announced it would scrap an unpopular means test, which restricted the rebate to households earning less than $100,000.

The means-tested rebate was worth up to $8000.

Under the new system, to come into force in July next year, the rebate will be smaller but everyone – households, businesses and community groups – can access it, regardless of income.

The maximum rebate, for an average-sized 1.5 kilowatt system, will be about $7500. A smaller-sized 1.0 kilowatt system will attract a rebate of about $5000.

The value of the rebate will fluctuate and it will decline from 2012.

The Government came under attack from environmentalists, some solar industry chiefs and the Federal Opposition for introducing the means test in this year’s budget. It was seen as discouraging some people from going green, and a step backwards for the solar industry.

Environment Minister Peter Garrett, in announcing the changes, said people loved solar power.
“Australians want to do their bit to take action on climate change,” he said.

“This (new system) will provide more Australian households with the opportunity to go solar, and the industry with a strong footing for long-term growth.”

The current system will stay in place until July, when the new system will take over.

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