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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The Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 Solar Satellite

The Planetary Society have launched a solar satellite which has been named the Lightsail 2. The solar sailing Cubesat device will be in orbit for the rest of August. Let’s learn more about the solar sailing technology and what the Planetary Society hope to achieve with the launch of this fascinating new piece of technology! 

The Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 Solar Satellite

The Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 Solar Satellite (source: planetary.org)

The concept of ‘solar sailing’ means that an object will be moved by photons escaping the sun’s gravitational pull. According to Popular Mechanics, It’s the second ever solar sailing object to fly – with the solar satellite following IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun) from Japan, which launched in 2010. IKAROS certainly has the cooler name, but the LightSail 2 has some superior technology – an aluminzed (a coating of aluminum alloy) Mylar sail and far better uptime.

“For The Planetary Society, this moment has been decades in the making,” said Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye. “Carl Sagan talked about solar sailing when I was in his class in 1977. But the idea goes back at least to 1607, when Johannes Kepler noticed that comet tails must be created by energy from the sun. The LightSail 2 mission is a game-changer for spaceflight and advancing space exploration.”

“We’re thrilled to announce mission success for LightSail 2,” LightSail program manager and Planetary Society chief scientist Bruce Betts said. “Our criteria was to demonstrate controlled solar sailing in a CubeSat by changing the spacecraft’s orbit using only the light pressure of the sun, something that’s never been done before. I’m enormously proud of this team. It’s been a long road and we did it.”

If you’re interest in reading more, the Planetary Society have created a site named Mission Control where you’re able to track the LightSail 2 in space. To visit Mission Control please click here

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WePower partner with Marubeni Corporation

Renewable energy procurement and start-up platform WePower have secured a strategic equity investment via Japanese investment/trading corporation Marubeni Corporation. A press release was published this morning. Let’s take a look and see what this could mean for businesses looking to purchase renewable energy on a scale they’re comfortable with. 

WePower partner with Marubeni Corporation

You might remember WePower’s ICO at the start of last year – the blockchain-based green energy trading platform has enjoyed a massive financial coup by partnering with Marubeni Corporation. This will support rapid expansion of their ‘disruptive green energy procurement platforms’. This is really exciting news for a company we have been watching for a couple of years. We’re looking forward to seeing what their attitude towards PPAs for smaller (‘almost any’) companies will fare – so you don’t have to go all out on commercial solar (such as the XXXX brewery at Milton’s solar installation) and can just buy what you need at a smaller level.

WePower sees Australia as one of the fastest growing markets globally for power purchase agreements (PPA) and this investment will help bring green energy to corporate and industrial consumers from around Australia.

According to a press release from today, WePower Standardised Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) streamline risk management and introduce previously non-existent liquidity for the energy purchased via direct energy contracts.

Nikolaj Martyniuk, WePower’s Co-founder and CEO, says the investment was secured because of deep synergies with Marubeni Corporation’s Power Business Division.

 “We are delighted to work in partnership with Marubeni Corporation to develop and introduce new commercial energy services, as well as scale our solutions globally to markets including Australia.”

“Two-thirds of the energy produced worldwide is consumed by commercial and industrial clients. So, any meaningful change towards a fully sustainable future is not possible without enabling more corporate and industrial consumers to participate in the green energy revolution.

 “To date, only the largest global corporations have been able to access renewable power sources by directly purchasing from a producer. The complexity of this process has created a barrier for smaller companies looking to integrate renewables into their energy mix and contribute to the growth of green energy development,” Nikolaj continues in the press release

Yoshiaki Yokota, Chief Operating Officer, Power Business Division, Marubeni Corporation discussed the deal:

 “We did it by disrupting the traditional energy supplier business model with a deep focus on big data and a radically different approach to energy sourcing, management and trading. We believe WePower is in a unique position to disrupt the traditional corporate energy procurement markets by allowing almost any company to buy energy directly from renewable producers.”

Learn more about WePower by visiting their website.

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Cultana Solar Farm to go ahead

The Cultana solar farm will go ahead, having received planning approval from the South Australian government. Let’s take a closer look at the project. 

Cultana Solar Farm to go ahead

The Cultana solart farm will be a 280MW solar farm being developed by Simec Zen Energy Australia. The project is set to commence construction within the next 12 months. It’ll be constructed on land next to the Whyalla Steelworks, who are currently expanding via Sanjeev Gupta and GFG Alliance (and who will undoubtedly need more power in the coming months and years). 

Sanjeev Gupta and GFG Alliance’s $1b fund to help support solar power in the Whyalla will be tapped for the Cultana project – despite some blowback from Adani Renewables who have bizarrely asked that the project be assessed by the Federal Department of the Environment under the EBPC Act. Adani have raised concerns about the potential impact on animals such as the threatened western grass wren and the slender-billed thornbill. They also discussed the problems with impact to Aboriginal heritage, dust, and traffic impacts. Seems strange given their own project will undoubtedly be scrutinized for the same reasons, but they must have a plan…

The project was signed off by SA Minister for Planning Stephan Knoll who put some restrictions on the approval. Simec have been asked to submit Environmental Management Plans for the construction and the operation phases of the Cultana Solar Farm. 

According to RenewEconomy, the $350M project will generate 600GWh of electricity per annum. This project is tipped to create 350 jobs during construction and 10 ongoing operations solar jobs after it’s completed. It’s expected to contribute savings of 492,000 tonnes of co2 emissions per year. 

Cultana (source: rowanramsey.com.au)

“There is a great future for energy‐intensive industries in Australia,” Sanjeev Gupta was quoted as saying. 

“This the first step in GFG leading the country’s industrial transition to more competitive energy.”

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