GAF Energy to sell residential solar.

Standard Industries has announced it will launch a rooftop solar company named GAF Energy in the US – they are already the world’s largest roofing and waterproofing manufacturer.

GAF Energy Rooftop Solar

GAF Energy Decotech Rooftop Solar
GAF Energy Decotech Rooftop Solar (source: standardindustries.com/solar)

As per a post on the Standard Industries website, the new company, GAF Energy, will work together with GAF to offer their DecoTech® solar roofing solution to “everyday consumers”

It’s an interesting niche to walk into – GAF’s new product offering has some competitors in the PV integrated roof tiling space, such as the Tesla Solar Roof, Tractile Solar Roof Tiles, Monier Solartileor Sonnen/Bristile’s Solartile  These are all fantastic products but fairly expensive at this point in time – hopefully having more competition in the market leads to more competitive prices and more powerful roofs.

“GAF Energy capitalizes on the historic challenges facing the rooftop solar industry – acquisition and installation costs – and turns them into demonstrable strengths – making it easy for customers to say ‘yes’ to solar rooftops,” said Martin DeBono, President of GAF Energy. “Our product is smart, integrated and economical, and we hope it will mark a fundamental shift in rooftop solar adoption around the world.”

Rooftop solar in America is a lot less developed than in Australia – according to Renew Economy, only 3% of USA homes had solar panels installed in 2017 – in stark comparison to Australia’s 30%. As such there’s plenty of opportunity if the product and price is right, and the governments get on board to help. Will integrated solar roof tiles be the way forwards in the future for domestic solar? We’ll soon find out. In any case, it’s exciting to see 

For more information about GAF, visit www.gaf.energy. If you’d like to read the press release about launch of the company and new DecoTech solar roof, please click here

It shouldn’t be long before we have some more information about how these solar roofs are performing, and as the results trickle in we will be creating a solar roof tile comparison document for anyone interested in integrating solar panels into their roof. Please watch this space! Exciting days ahead for rooftop solar.

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Northern Territory Solar Energy Transformation Program

The $59m Northern Territory Solar Energy Transformation Program continues to provide remote communities with solar power – let’s take a look at its progress and what we can expect from the program in 2019. 

Northern Territory Solar Energy Transformation Program

Northern Territory Solar Energy Transformation Program
Northern Territory Solar Energy Transformation Program Progress (source: ARENA.gov.au)

The Northern Territory Solar Energy Transformation Program is jointly funded by Northern Territory Government and led by the Northern Territory’s Power and Water Corporation. It’s also known as SETuP and its aim is to “transform the delivery of electricity in remote off-grid communities throughout the Northern Territory” as per the ARENA website.

This transformation program is a great step forwards for rural solar installations – with the initial 2017 scope seeing 30 remote communities receive 10MW of PV solar which will, in the majority of cases, result in 15% diesel fuel displacement. So there is still plenty of work to do after the project is complete, but it’s a great step in the right direction to help remote communities who are currently leaning on diesel fuel for their power needs. This is expensive and terrible for the environment. 

We also wrote about Remote NT Solar in 2017 as  Ivor Frischknecht, the ARENA CEO, said “We’ve seen the benefits of renewable energy off the grid with mining and we know Solar SETuP can deliver the same results for Aboriginal communities”.

With the project being relatively mature right now and supplying over 100GWh to 72 indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, ARENA released a document titled ‘A first look at the integration of PV and Diesel Power Stations in remote communities’ in December 2018. It explores the ‘early operational experience’ from the Trance One projects of the program.

If you’d like to read the document please click here – it’s a fascinating insight into combining diesel fuel with solar power – some areas of particular interest are the Daly River (Nauiyu) NT SETuP.

Contact information

Mr Sam Latz, Manager – Solar SETuP, Power and Water Corporation

+61 (08) 8924 5513

[email protected]

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REC Group Announce Upgraded Solar Panel Warranty

The European based REC Group have announced that they have upgraded their product warranty from 10 to 20 years – and they’ve also reduced the power degradation of the REC TwinPeak and REC N-Peak high performance panels.

REC Group Announce Upgraded Solar Panel Warranty

The REC Group was founded in Norway in 1996 – their panels are made in Singapore and the Group is owned by a Chinese corporation, so it truly is a global company.

“REC’s new warranty, which now ranks as one of the best in the industry, is a testament to our consistent excellent product and performance quality,” says Cemil Seber, Vice President Global Marketing & Product Management at REC Group. “The extended warranty terms for REC Solar Professionals further demonstrate our strong commitment to building and maintaining long-term alliances with our partners who install and maintain installations with our panels around the world.”

According to the news release about the new warranty, REC Group has by far the lowest claims rate in the industry, with “well below 100ppm”. 

In addition to these new terms, the company are also offering an extra 5 year product warranty for installations done by REC-certified ‘Solar Professionals’ – which results in an industry-leading 25 year warranty. REC Solar Professionals are trained by the company to “ensure best practice”. 

If this interests you and you want to find an REC certified Solar Professional in Australia please click here to use REC’s ‘find installer’ tool. 

REC Group Announce Upgraded Solar Panel Warranty
REC Group Announce Upgraded Solar Panel Warranty (source: recgroup.com)

REC Group employ 2,000 people across the globe and are able to produce 1.5GW of solar panels every year – so it’s great to see such a massive company take ownership of their solar panel technology and products and stand by them! 

For further information please contact:
Agnieszka Schulze
Head of Global PR, REC
Tel.: +49 89 54 04 67 225
E-mail: [email protected]

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Recycling Solar Panels | What to do with old solar panels.

Recycling solar panels is a topic which will be a lot more prevalent as the initial ‘wave’ panels begin to reach their end of life. Let’s take a look at what the plans are for trying to minimise the environmental impact and maximise the value  of a used solar panel.

Recycling Solar Panels | Will there be a waste crisis for old panels?

Australia has one of the highest PV solar uptakes in the world. There are plenty of us who have had solar installed for a long time. So long, in fact, that people are talking about end of life strategies to dispose of/ repurpose solar panels, so that they don’t cause a problem for the environment. 

Total Environment Centre director Jeff Angel has been crusading for the implementation of such strategies for solar panels, calling it a ‘systemic problem’:

“We’ve had a solar panel industry for years which is an important environmental initiative, and it should have been incumbent on government to act in concert with the growth of the industry so we have an environmentally responsible end-of-life strategy,” he said in a quote to the Sydney Morning Herald.

We’ve written previously about solar panel recycling and, although it’s good to see things like the ELSi project in Germany, there’s still a ways to go before we figure out the best way forward to recycle solar waste.

Reclaim PV: Recycling Solar Panels
Reclaim PV: Recycling Solar Panels (source: reclaimpv.com)

According to the director of Reclaim PV (the only dedicated photovoltaic recycler in Australia), Clive Fleming, they company recycles 90 per cent of materials in a panel. The company has been lobbying for state bans on landfill disposal of solar panels. 

Australian Council of Recycling chief executive Peter Schmigel also had a quote in the SMH about how a proper plan for recycling PV cells could have a positive effect on the economy:

“Recovery rates have been out of sight since the beginning of the scheme, nobody has said anything at all about there being an inbuilt recycling cost. It generates jobs, it generates environmental outcomes and yet for some reason we have policymakers who are hesitant about [establishing similar schemes] for solar PVs and batteries,” he said.

We expect over the coming year or two we’ll hear a lot more about this, with Sustainability Victoria working on a ‘national approach to photovoltaic product stewardship’, with their recommendations presented to the environment ministers around the middle of this year. 

Victoria have already announced they’ll ban electronic waste in landfill from July 2019, so it’ll be interesting to see if/how the other states follow suit.
 

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Solar Panel Degradation | New Software

Solar panel degradation is a big issue, and one of the problems with it is that it can be a bit nebulous to measure, especially if you’re off-site. An Indian university may have some answers with regards to measuring this in a cost and time effective method.

Solar Panel Degradation | Alternatives to on-site inspection.

Parveen Bhola is a research scholar at India’s Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology. Alongside Saurabh Bhardwaj, an associate professor at Thapar, the pair have developed and optimised statistical and machine learning-based alternatives to enable real-time on or off-site inspection of solar panels to measure the solar panel degradation. This is achieved throughout the usage of clustering-based computation – utilising historical meteorological data to compete performance ratios and solar panel degradation. Factors such as temperature, pressure, wind speed, solar power created, sunshine hours, humidity and historical performance are all utilised to come up with a measurement of the panels’ effectiveness. 

“The majority of the techniques available calculate the degradation of PV (photovoltaic) systems by physical inspection on site. This process is time-consuming, costly, and cannot be used for the real-time analysis of degradation,” Bhola said in a quote posted on TechXplore. “The proposed model estimates the degradation in terms of performance ratio in real time.”

As solar panel technology increases, it’s important that our tools for troubleshooting and optimising their output be improved commensurately; this is a great step for all solar system holders, but especially those in rural areas where having someone come on site is cost and time prohibitive. With this new technique it’s likely that troubleshooting will be more efficient and perhaps even point out problems before they occur. 

Solar Panel Degradation - Thapar Insitute of Engineering and Technology
Solar Panel Degradation – Thapar Insitute of Engineering and Technology (source: Thapar.edu)

The article, “Clustering-based computation of degradation rate for photovoltaic systems,” can be found in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2018 (DOI: 10.1063/1.5042688). You can also find it online: https://aip.scitation.org/doi/full/10.1063/1.5042688.

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