Renewable Energy Information


New Records Set in Solar Panel Efficiency!

It is not that long ago that efficiencies in solar panel conversion of sunlight to electricity were around 12%. Industry insiders even boldly stated that "it won't get much better than this".

Two companies have set new benchmarks. Semprius Solar have set a new record for commercially released solar modules of 35.5% and The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Soitec, CEA-Leti and the Helmholtz Center Berlin jointly announced today having achieved a new world record for the conversion of sunlight into electricity using a new solar cell structure with four solar subcells. Surpassing competition after only over three years of research, and entering the roadmap at world class level, a new record efficiency of 44.7%

More info on Semprius here

More info on The Fraunhofer Institute here


Facing taxes, Spaniards tear down their solar panels

A new law charges people for generating their own renewable energy

The Spanish government is in debt to its power producers to the tune of 26 billion euros, the results of years spent regulating costs. To make up the difference, it’s imposing a levy on rooftop solar panels — effectively negating the economic benefit of generating clean energy.

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Spain Taxes Sunlight

No, I’m not kidding. Truly, idiocy has no bounds.

In Spain, they appear to have actually done this, with fines up to 30 million Euros for non compliance.

The stupid, it sunburns. Air will be next. Breath tax.

From MISH’S Global Economic Trend Analysis:

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Rapid uptake of solar panels puts dent in electricity market, report shows

A new report shows Australians have pounced on ways to save on their electricity bills by installing solar panels at an extraordinary rate.

The Climate Commission's Solar Energy report found more than 10 per cent of Australians, or 2.5 million people, use solar power for their homes.

It found there are now more than 1 million rooftop solar systems in Australia, up from 8,000 in 2007, with most uptake in the mortgage belt suburbs of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

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Stanford scientists break record for thinnest light-absorber

Stanford scientists have built the thinnest, most efficient absorber of visible light on record, a nanosize structure that could lead to less-costly, more efficient, solar cells.

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United States Renewables Outpace Coal, Oil And Nuclear in First Half of Year

Renewable energy sources, including wind, solar, biomass and geothermal, accounted for 24.93% of all new U.S. electrical generating capacity installed in the first six months of this year for a total of 2,144 MW, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) latest Energy Infrastructure Update report.

Thus far this year, renewables provided more new generating capacity than did coal (1,579 MW - 18.36%), oil (26 MW - 0.30%) and nuclear power (0 MW - 0.00%) combined. However, natural gas dominated the first half of 2013 with 4,852 MW of new capacity (56.41%).

Among renewable energy sources, solar led the way for the first half of 2013 with 94 new units totaling 979 MW followed by wind with eight new units totaling 959 MW. Biomass added 36 new units totaling 116 MW while water had eight new units with an installed capacity of 76 MW and geothermal steam had one new unit of 14 MW. For the month of June alone, six new solar projects in North Carolina and one in New Mexico came online with a total capacity of 15 MW while a single 4 MW hydropower project was also added.

Source: Mercom Market Intelligence Report 22 July 2013

Queensland's disguised $200 hit to solar owners

Last year the Queensland Energy Minister promised there would be “no fixed charge of any sort on people using solar.” This year the Queensland Competition Authority proposed exactly that – an increase in fixed charges of $210 per year on electricity customers who have installed PV. 

This increase in fixed charges is dressed up as an attempt to make tariffs more “cost reflective”, despite the massive cross subsidy between Queensland’s urban and rural electricity consumers, and without addressing the fundamentally unsustainable network pricing model. The QCA makes no suggestion that anyone else should be charged in a more cost reflective way… just PV customers.

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Solar feed-in tariff update: Tasmania and New South Wales

An issues paper has been released by the Tasmanian Government, outlining how a revised solar feed-in tariff would operate in the state, and also issues to consider when determining future feed-in tariff arrangements.

The paper proposes that all existing solar customers and new customers who are eligible for the solar feed-in tariff by 1 January 2014 should continue to be paid the current feed-in tariff rate until 1 January 2017.

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The Ugly Side of Grid Feed

A photograph from the Clean Energy Council who report that water ingress is the major cause of solar system failures ...

Water ingress

Going Solar Report

Going solar is the first economic assessment of future electricity price shocks if fossil fuels continue to dominate. The report takes a close look at Australia’s electricity price security and singles out rising gas prices and more frequent droughts as key risks. Prices for gas-fired electricity are now linked to volatile international fuel prices. Water scarcity reduces supply from water-cooled coal plants, pushing up wholesale electricity prices.

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