SolarReserve sign MOU for Aurora Project

American company SolarReserve have signed an MoU with Heliostat SA to manufacture and assemble the components for their solar tower and molten salt storage facility at Port Augusta.

SolarReserve Commence Construction on Aurora Solar Thermal Plant

SolarReserve sign MOU for Aurora Project
SolarReserve sign MOU for Aurora Project (source: solarreserve.com)

SolarReserve announced on Tuesday that they’ll work with Heliostat SA to create 12,800 96 square metre glass mirrors for their Aurora Solar Thermal Plant. 

The solar thermal plant in Port Augusta, South Australia, was announced last August and received developmental approval back in January It is slated to be a $750m project but we haven’t heard any specifics as to updated pricing, and this information is the first news on the project since January of this year. 

According to the CEO of SolarReserve, Kevin Smith, the solar thermal power plant will comprise of approximately 12,000 mirrors, each the size of a billboard (around 100sqm), arranged in a circle over 600 hectares. The mirrors will focus light and heat to the top of a 227m tall tower to generate up to 150MW. This will result in over a million square metres of surface area for the project. 

“Aurora will provide much needed capacity and firm energy delivery into the South Australian market to reduce price volatility,” Mr. Smith said at the time. He elaborated today when discussing the deal with Heliostat SA: 

“We’re excited to have formed a long-term partnership with Heliostat SA and look forward to teaming up with them to bring manufacturing of our world-class heliostats to South Australian workers,” said Mr. Smith.

“SolarReserve is committed to supporting South Australia’s goals which will attract investment, create South Australian jobs and build an exciting and growing new industry.”

According to an article on RenewEconomy the project will create around 200 full time solar jobs for the area, with 650 to be employed during the construction phase. 

This project is a bit slow and new information is thin on the ground, so great to hear that it’s moving ahead. We’ll keep you posted as soon as there’s any new information on the solar thermal plant! 

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Victorian Renewable Energy Targets Reverse Auction

The first renewable energy auction in Victoria has had a fantastic result – with over 900MW of wind/solar energy to be generated as part of the Victorian Renewable Energy Targets.

Victorian Renewable Energy Targets Reverse Auction

A reverse auction was held to generate >650MW of energy. That goal has been hammered – with the auction ending up with 928MW of renewable projects to generate $1.1 billion of economic investment in regional Victoria and create more than 900 jobs, including 270 apprenticeships and traineeships. 

Victorian Renewable Energy Targets -The Hon. Lily D'Ambrosio MP (source: Wikipedia)
Victorian Renewable Energy Targets -The Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP (source: Wikipedia)

The six successful projects were announced by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio at the Ararat Wind Farm today. Premier Andrews discussed this 

“It’s simple – greater supply of renewable energy means lower power prices and more jobs for Victorian families.”

“We’re making Victoria the capital of renewable energy and supporting the thousands of local jobs it creates.”

Lily D’Ambrosio was similarly effusive in praising the project, even working in a little jab at the Liberals who were trying to ‘shut this industry down’:

“Renewable energy creates jobs, drives growth, and protects our environment – and most importantly, helps drive down power prices for Victorian households and businesses.”

“In contrast to the Liberals who tried to shut this industry down, we’re backing renewable investment and renewable jobs.”

Those six farms are:

  • Berrybank Wind Farm west of Geelong, which will produce 180MW
  • Carwarp Solar Farm south of Mildura, which will produce 121.6MW
  • Cohuna Solar Farm north-west of Echuca, which will produce 34.2MW
  • Dundonnell Wind Farm north-east of Warrnambool, which will produce 336MW
  • Mortlake South Wind Farm south of Mortlake, which will produce 157.5MW
  • Winton Solar Farm near Benalla, which will produce 98.8MW

According to the official press release on the Victorian Government website, more than $1.3b will be invested for solar panels, solar hot water, and battery schemes. This will help over 700,000 households via the Solar Homes scheme which will go ahead with a re-elected Andrews Labor government. 

If you’re interested in reading more about the solar battery rebates in Victoria please click. 

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Solar Battery Rebates in Victoria | Solar Homes Program

Solar battery rebates in Victoria will be rolled out as part of the Andrews’ government’s $1.34b Solar Homes program. The program also includes half price solar panels for 650,000 households and a $1,000 discount on solar hot water installation for 60,000 households. 

Solar Battery Rebates in Victoria – Solar Homes Program

Solar Battery Rebates in Victoria
Solar Battery Rebates in Victoria (source: solar.vic.gov.au)

Victorian home owners who fit the criteria (it’s means tested) will get a 50% rebate to install battery storage. The rebate will be capped at $4838 in the first year and will slowly decrease to $3714 by 2026, factoring in the inevitability that prices will decrease and energy storage technology will improve. The Age are reporting that this policy will cost an estimated $40m, with around 10,000 Victorian households expected to take advantage of the fantastic subsidy offer. 

According to the SBS, it’s part of Labor’s wider plan to increase renewable energy use and decrease the cost of living – with the plan being to work with energy distributors and invest $10m to help ‘renewable-proof’ the state grid over the next ten years. 

“This is a game changer for Victorian families fed up with big corporations that have been price gouging and ripping consumers off,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“Only Labor will put solar panels, solar hot water or solar batteries on 720,000 homes – saving Victorians thousands of dollars on their electricity bills with renewable energy.”

Solar Homes Victoria Subsidy Breakdown

We’ve previously written about Labor’s half price solar for Victorians scheme- looks like there are some great plans coming to fruition for the state. 

Solar Panels – $1.2b for 50% of solar system installation costs for 650,000 homes.

Solar Hot Water – $60m for $1000 subsiddies to install solar hot water.

Solar Batteries – $40m for 50% of solar battery installation costs for ~10,000 homes.

It’ll be very interesting to see how these solar battery rebates work in Victoria and if the other states (especially the ones with a high solar panel update) follow suit. Watch this space – we’ll keep you updated! 

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Tesla in Australia 2018/2019 – Facts & Figures

Tesla have announced their Q2 earnings which notes that they have a ‘crazy’ growth outlook despite cell shortage and a slow deployment of their solar roof. Tesla in Australia is still very far behind the USA, but what can we expect the future to bring?

Tesla in Australia – 2018/19

What can Australians expect from Tesla over the next financial year? We’ve had an agonisingly slow rollout down under and there are many people waiting to see how long it takes for the solar roof to make its way out here.

With the cell shortage that has crippled availability of the Tesla Powerwall 2 in Australia, is it worth waiting for the Powerwall 3 instead? There hasn’t been any announcement yet so it really depends on your personal situation. 

The Tesla Gigafactory in Buffalo, New York is in working on speeding up production of the Solar Roof. They hope to produce 1 GW of solar products at the site annually beginning in 2019, and Tesla has said that it could even reach 2 GW/year down the track. The Gigafactory produces standard solar panels, along with the Solar Roof.

So if you have a bit of patience and are happy to wait until 2019, it’s fine to wait. Solar batteries still have a bit of a ways to go before they are a no-brainer for people to install, let alone the solar roof. But in the meantime, there are certainly solar roof alternatives like the Tractile solar roof tile or the Sonnen/Bristile partnership which they’ve called ‘Solartile‘. Have you got any questions or any experience with any of these solar shingles? Please let us know in the comments. 

Where is the Tesla Solar Roof?

Tesla in Australia - Solar Roof via @Toblerhaus on Twitter
Tesla in Australia – Tesla Solar Roof 2018 Installation (California) (source: @Toblerhaus on Twitter)

We’ve written about the Tesla Solar Roof before – and we’ve also written about its place in the Australian ecosystem, given that they’re rare as hen’s teeth in America, let alone over here. According to PV Magazine USA, it’s probable that the Tesla Solar Roof will not help their bottom line (Energy Generation and Division Revenues) until halfway through 2019 at the earliest. The reasons for this are for safety and the time lag it’s taking to get all their ducks in a row.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk clarified:

“It takes a while to confirm that the Solar Roof is going to last for 30 years and all the details work out, and we’re working with first responders to make sure it’s safe in the event of a fire and that kind of thing. So it’s quite a long validation program for a roof which has got to last for 30, 40, 50 years, but we also expect to ramp that up next year at our Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo. That’s going to be super exciting.”

According to Musk ‘several hundred’ Solar Roofs have been deployed, are being installed or scheduled for install, and international expansion (i.e. Australia!) is slowly rolling out.

PV Magazine have also written about some of the first solar roof installations in the USA – please click here to read some more about them.

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Is There A Solar Battery Rebate In Australia?

We’ve heard whispers of a solar battery rebate doing the rounds. Is Australia about to see its own energy storage subsidy, and, if so, how would the potential rollout of that be implemented?

Solar Battery Rebate in 2018

Solar Battery Rebate in Australia - Tesla Powerwall
Solar Battery Rebate in Australia – Will it include the Tesla Powerwall 2?

We’ve written about solar battery growth before – the sector has seen a sharp rise in 2017 which has continued into 2018. Will the government consider incentivising households and businesses to install energy storage, helping add stability to the grid, lower skyrocketing electricity costs and assist Australia in reaching our Renewable Energy Target? Time will tell. States like Queensland already have the Affordable Energy Program where 5,000 Queenslanders will see an interest-free loan for solar systems/battery storage, so a scheme just for storage doesn’t seem out of the question.

Whilst nothing official has been announced yet, there are plenty of whispers about the government playing with solar power rebates – feed-in-tariffs are dropping sharply. Will we see discounted deals on solar batteries? As they’re not currently at the point where ROI (Return On Investment) is ubiquitously positive, energy storage uptake in Australia is still finding its feet. If the government gives it a boost how much will that cost and what kind of value do we put on the financial/social impact of embracing renewable energy?

In the United States, The federal solar tax credit, also known as the investment tax credit (ITC), allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your taxes. The ITC applies to residential and commercial systems, and there is no cap on how much you can spend. Should Australia try something like this, or is our current system more effective?

Solar Rebates/Subsidies In 2018 

Here are some of the various offers federal/state government are using to try and get people to embrace solar. Any questions about a specific scheme? Please leave a comment below and we’d be happy to look into your query.

In terms of batteries, we don’t have a specific incentive to install it, either as an add-on to existing solar system or as part of a new system.The Battery Energy Storage System incentive provides eligible South East Queensland households with a one-off $50 payment for registering eligible systems on the Queensland Government battery storage database.

Please note that information about rebates and subsidies can go out of date quite quickly so ensure you double check before purchasing – you can learn more about current available solar rebates in Australia by visiting the “Your Energy Savings” website, which has been set up by the federal government – simply click here to visit

Interested in learning more about solar batteries available in Australia? Click to learn more about Tesla Powerwall competitors and alternatives.

In the meantime, we’re still waiting to see what sort of battery rebate may be offered. Since Australia already has a very strong solar panel presence, it makes sense to work on maximising storage as well as generation.

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