Space Solar banned from Govt Rebate Scheme.

Solar company Space Solar have been banned from the Government Rebate Scheme for two years after an inspection conducted by Solar Victoria and Energy Safe Victoria found out that the company were employing unlicensed electrical workers, who were then “carry out works in an unsafe manner”.

Space Solar banned from Government Rebate Scheme.

Space Solar, also known as Community Energy Group, have had their director’s membership cancelled and (for the time being, their website is still up)

The company describes itself as the leading solar installer in Sydney and Melbourne with a decade of experience and a “team of professional engineers”.

According to an article in The Age, customers have been told to contact Consumer Affairs, and the government is expecting Space Solar to cover any costs. Sure that’ll work well.

The $2225 subsidy being offered to new solar installations in Victoria has attracted significant criticism for the method of its rollout and impact on solar installers (i.e. consumers ‘waiting’ to get the highly limited rebate and holding off on having solar installed)

Following on from such government-championed schemes such as the pink batts disaster, the government were quick to respond. Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio was scathing in her explanation of the situation:

“This kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable. Customers deserve to know their solar installations are completed to the highest standards and that’s why we have such a strict audit regime in the country,” she said.

“The majority of solar retailers and installers do the right thing – we’re acting to protect their reputation and uphold the standards of our world-leading solar industry.”

The company was registered as a Clean Energy Council-certified solar retailer in August. You have to use Council-approved retailers to claim the government rebate.  A new company named Solar Victoria was created to roll out the program, and the former boss of the government’s Victorian Cladding Taskforce, Stan Krpan is in charge of the company. Hopefully we see some more stringent checks on installs and weed out more installers who don’t follow by the guidelines. 

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Power Ledger Extend Solar Trading Trial

Western Australian based tech company Power Ledger have extended their solar trading trial – let’s take a look at what stage 2 of the company’s p2p renewable trading scheme will encompass.

Solar Trading and Power Ledger

Power Ledger’s blockchain technology has been used since November 2018 to track the transactions of rooftop solar energy traded between 18 households in Fremantle, Western Australia.

The Fremantle Smart Cities project was titled RENeW Nexus and its goal was to demonstrate peer-to-peer energy trading between residential houses. 

Project partners included Curtin University, government-owned retailer Synergy, Western Power, the government-owned network operator, and the City of Fremantle itself.

The trial works by utilising Western Power’s existing network with Synergy’s customers. The Power Ledger platform allows households to buy and sell excess rooftop solar energy in real-time, with residents able to view electricity usage in 30-minute intervals, rather than waiting for their quarterly bill.

Since the trial started in November 2018, Power Ledger has processed almost 50,000 transactions on its platform per month and tracked over 4 megawatt hours of peer-to-peer renewable energy trades. Safe to say it’s been a roaring success, so they’re off to start the second phase of their trial. 

Power Ledger are also working outside of Australia in varied capacity:

  • Silicon Valley Power in the City of Santa Clara alongside Clean Energy Blockchain Network
  • BCPG T77 Thailand
  • Kansai Electric Power Co. (Phase 1)
  • Vicinity Castle Plaza

Saving With Solar Interview with Power Ledger

We had a chat to Power Ledger about the exciting second phase of their renewable energy trading scheme

With ~50k transactions per month currently, what’s the target for 2020?
Power Ledger intends to double the number of participants in the second phase of the trial.

How many trial partners will be involved in stage 2?
In the second phase of the trial we continued to partner with Synergy, Western Power, Curtin University and EnergyOS 
 
Any info on the ‘additional pricing models’ in stage 2? 
The pricing model for stage 2 is similar to stage 1, with some minor tweaks. The partners will be organising workshops and surveying participant to learn more about pricing models. 
 
How much of the trading is automated so the prosumers don’t have to do much?
All the trading is automated. in this deployment however, participants have the option to set their preferred buy and sell prices for peer to peer energy. They can be as active as optimising their prices and trading on a half hourly basis. Alternatively they could go in the platform and set and forget their prices they are happy with.

VPP 2.0 (Virtual Power Plants 2.0)

According to a roadmap for Power Ledger released on Medium last year, the goal is to enact VPP 2.00 – which will allow a lot of options for households who want to trade solar. It also factors in ideas for a two-way electricity grid and options for households to assist the grid – be that through capacity, frequency control, or voltage support.  

We see VPP 2.0, or Virtual Power Plants 2.0, as a natural extension of our peer-to-peer functionality, tying all our other products together. xGrid will evolve into an optimized model of a virtual power plant, to create a conduit for the transaction of value between the owners of distributed energy resources and multiple counterparties.

Self-executing smart contracts will integrate with physical switches in the network, creating an autonomous power market with secure value transfer between consumers, energy markets and networks. For example, a household with solar may normally be trading energy in a P2P market, until they are offered a higher rate by the network to provide capacity, frequency control, or voltage support.

Power Ledger extend Solar Trading Trial to Stage 2. (source: Power Ledger)
Power Ledger extend Solar Trading Trial to Stage 2. (source: Power Ledger)
 
 

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Bundaberg is the rooftop solar capital of Australia.

A press release from the Queensland Government notes that Bundaberg is now the rooftop solar capital of Australia. Let’s read more into solar power in north Queensland.

Bundaberg is the rooftop solar capital of Australia.

On the back of the Clean Energy Council report released today, Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham praised Queensland for its rapid update in solar power compared to the rest of Australia:

 “Queensland fills six of the top 10 rooftop solar postcodes in Australia, by number of installations.

“And sitting at the top is Bundaberg with 12,620 installations with a capacity of 47,500kW.

“In fact, Queensland has four of the top five places with Hervey Bay at No 3, Caloundra at No 4 and Toowoomba at No 5,’’ Dr Lynham said.

Queensland’s $2b Affordable Energy Plan means that the state now has the lowest ‘typical’ household power bill of the mainland states, according to a separate press release on Dr Lynham’s site.

North Queensland solar is going really well at the moment, with the government trialling grants for landlords to install solar in Bundaberg, Gladstone and Townsville.

“Bundaberg people are embracing the financial and environmental benefits of solar,’’ Dr Lynham said.

“Queensland is leading the way on renewables as the Palaszczuk Government heads towards its target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

“Palaszczuk Government initiatives, encouraging the take-up of rooftop solar and batteries and creating an environment that has been embraced by the solar industry across the state, particularly in regional areas, is paying dividends across-the-board for Queenslanders.

“In Bundaberg seven applications for the Queensland Government’s solar-only loan package have been approved  and a further 35 applications for battery assistance packages also have been approved.’’ Dr Lynham continued.

Dr Anthony Lynham - Bundaberg the rooftop solar capital of Australia
Dr Anthony Lynham – Bundaberg the “rooftop solar capital of Australia” (source: Wikipedia)

Media enquiries: David Potter 0428 411 617

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Tesla in 2019 – What to expect – solar implications.

Tesla in 2019 – As the company rockets towards uncharted waters it’s very difficult to predict what Tesla will do in 2019. 

Tesla in 2019 – What to expect – solar implications?

Tesla in 2019 - Tesla Model Y (source: Tesla)
Tesla in 2019 – Tesla Model Y (source: Tesla)

Electrek are reporting that Tesla announced they are unveiling the Model Y solar car on March 14 – an ‘all-electric crossover based on the Model 3’. It’ll be announced in Los Angeles at Tesla Design Studio in Hawthrone, California. 

A shareholder’s letter released last month for Q4 2018 notes that ‘volume production’ of the Model Y should commence by the end of next year (and it’ll probably be done at Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada).

“Additionally, this year we will start tooling for Model Y to achieve volume production by the end of 2020, most likely at Gigafactory 1.”

Tesla confirmed their plans for Model Y production at Gigafactory 3 in China at a ground-breaking ceremony back in February.

Although the Tesla electric cars aren’t necessarily to do with solar power per se, Tesla’s impending success or lack thereof relies fairly heavily on these devices. CEO Elon Musk needs the electric cars to succeed to ensure the company has enough money to work on its myriad other projects. They have a lot of competition from other manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz and Audi who will likely announce their electric automobiles this month.

Some concerns are the Model Y totally cannibalising the Model 3 sales – with the $35,000 Model 3 and the Model X now only available online to lower costs for the financially embattled company. Their shares fell almost 10% last Friday amidst the slew of announcements. 

With regards to solar, Tesla’s main projects are the Powerwall 2, the Tesla solar roof, the commercial scale solar battery storage Tesla Powerpack 2, and potentially the announcement of a Tesla Powerwall 3 release date. To be frank it’s a bit concerning to see all the blood in the water around Tesla right now – let’s cross our fingers for some great results in 2019 for the company. 

 

 

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SRES – Will solar rebates increase the cost of electricity?

Will solar rebates increase the cost of electricity? Yesterday The Australian newspaper published an article titled ‘Households’ $2bn solar hit’ which hypothesises that every Australian household will have to stump up $195 to help subsidise the subsidies. Is this rubbish? What impact does the SRES really have on electricity prices? Let’s read on…

SRES – Will solar rebates increase the cost of electricity?

Ketan Joshi via Renew Economy wrote a great article titled “How a ridiculous falsehood about solar power self-replicated in media”. You can read it on Ketan’s blog (ketanjoshi85) by clicking here. The “$2b solar hit” is a sum which has been basically made up through some extremely shoddy extrapolations.

The article in the Australian was run with by a number of Australia’s most trusted media outlets – News.com.au, 7 News, Sky News, the Today Show, and the consistently atrocious Daily Mail – who titled their article about the rebates thusly: 

“Climate change farce: How every Australian household contributes $200 a year to those lucky enough to be able to afford to put solar panels on their roof”

Energy Minister Angus Taylor decided to blame the big electricity retailers:

‘The big cost is the profits being taken by the big energy companies in the wholesale market, without innovation or new products, and it is time for them to deliver a fairer deal for their customers,’ he said.

‘According to the Australian Energy Market Commission, the small-scale technology certificate cost is less than three per cent of the bill, whereas 46 per cent is going to the big generator retailers.’

The Renew Economy article notes that, for FY18 and FY19 respectively, Australians paid/will pay $19 / $32 towards the scheme. This is a stark contrast to the $134 / $195 which was reported. It appears that the figures are so badly skewed for a number of different reasons including the assumption that 100% of electricity costs are passed on from businesses to households. They also haven’t factored in the Small-scale Technology Percentage, which will be set by the Energy Minister in March – and the effect this will have on STCs is quite marked. Installing solar power systems becomes cheaper if the STCs are higher, so you can see how this would have an impact which could be measured erroneously. It’ll be interesting to see how this impacts on solar grants moving forwards. 

The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (aka SRES) is scheduled to run until 2030. If you’d like to read more about it please visit the Clean Energy Regulator’s website – where they have plenty of information about the scheme. 

We’d also recommend Ketan’s article for a more in depth exploration of the issue.

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