Empowering Homes – Interest free solar battery loans in NSW

Empowering Homes – Interest free solar battery loans in NSW could be set to commence towards the end of 2019 – let’s take a look at the system and how to apply for it.

Empowering Homes – Interest free solar battery loans in NSW

Empowering Homes – Interest free solar battery loans in NSW

The Empowering Homes program is going to support the installation of up to 300,000 solar-battery systems across New South Wales in the next 10 years, providing interest free solar battery loans to eligible residents. The loans will offer up to $9,000 for a battery system, or $14,000 for a solar battery system. As long as your household has a combined income of less than $180,000, you’ll be eligible for the scheme (subject to normal loan assessment criteria).

Empowering Homes interest free solar in NSW
Empowering Homes – Interest free solar in NSW. (source: energy.nsw.gov.au)

The scheme, which is using $50m redirected from a cancelled virtual power plant program, is still missing a lot of information. According to the official website it aims to ‘unlock up to $3.2 billion in clean energy investment, adding up to 3,000 megawatt hours of storage into the NSW energy system when complete’. 

“I want to deliver a program that provides robust consumer protections in terms of safety, system performance and value for money,” NSW Minister for Energy, Matt Kean, said in comments reproduced on the NSW Government’s website.

According to Solar Quotes and statistics provided by the Australian PV Institute, New South Wales’ solar penetration (at ~19%) is quite far behind Queensland (34.1%), South Australia (33.5%), and Western Australia (27.6%). 

According to figures from the Government website, “a household with a $500 quarterly electricity bill could save up to $285 a year on their bills while repaying the no-interest loan. Savings could increase to over $2000 a year once the loan is repaid.”

For further information about battery systems please visit Energy Saver NSW.

If you’re like to register your interest in the Empowering Homes program and also receive updates as they become available, please click here and fill in the form at the bottom of the website. According to the official site the first battery/solar-battery systems will be available for install in summer 19/20. 

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Cultana solar farm EPC services signed.

The Cultana solar farm is one step closer to completion today – as Sanjay Gupta’s Simec Energy Australia securing an EPC partnership agreement with Shanghai Electric. Let’s take a look!

Cultana solar farm EPC services signed.

The 280W solar farm is located near the Wynalla Steelworks (also owned by Mr Gupta’s GFG Alliance under the name Liberty OneSteel), and will be built through Simec Energy, Gupta’s renewable arm which has a lofty goal of $1b spend in clean energy projects. The Cultana solar farm is set to cost $350m and represents the first stage of Simec Energy’s $1b plan.

“Cultana Solar Farm is an ambitious project that will deliver globally-competitive renewable energy on a large scale to power-heavy industry. It is a great step forward in our vision to revitalise industry and we look forward to working with our partners to bring our renewables projects to life,” Gupta was quoted as saying upon hearing the news.

“Our planned Next-Gen project will ignite a new industrial revolution in Australia. These projects are shining examples of GFG’s commitment to create a sustainable future for industry and build stronger local communities,” Mr. Gupta continued.

Last month we wrote about how the solar farm has been granted approval from the South Australian government despite an interesting objection Adania Renewables lodged against the application.

The basis of this program is up to 1GW of solar to be constructed in and around Whyalla, so more great news for South Australian  solar. Reid told the solar conference that the first step is an 80MW solar farm “behind the meter” near the Whyalla Steelworks, and after this they will install 200MW of grid connected solar on property owned by GFG Alliance.

According to RenewEconomy, the solar farm will include over 880,000 solar panels and they will be supplied by Wuxi Suntech.

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Panda Solar Farm in Datong, China.

Looks like we’re starting to reach critical mass with solar energy – an interesting story out of Datong today – where a panda solar farm has been created. The panda shaped farm is a bit of a PR effort for China, who continue to lead the world in investment in renewable energy, having added almost 50% of the global solar capacity in 2018. Let’s take a look! 

Panda Solar Farm in Datong, China.

The 250 acre solar farm, which is shaped like a panda, has completed phase one recently. Renewable company Panda Green Energy added 50MW (half of their eventual goal of 100MW) to the grid in Datong. 

According to an article in Forbes, the farm was proposed in May 2016 by the largest shareholder of Panda Green Energy, China Merchants New Energy. The farm was approved with the goal of building support for the renewable energy amongst Chinese youth. It will also replace burning 1 million tons of coal over the next 25 years. 

Panda Solar Farm in China (source: Forbes.com via CHINA MERCHANTS NEW ENERGY/PANDA GREEN ENERGY)In order to create the ‘dark’ and ‘light’ solar panels to create the panda, darker mono-crystalline silicon and lighter thin film cells were used. When placed in an array they become the panda you see above!

Are you, for some inexplicable reason, crazy about Panda shaped solar farms? Well, you’re in luck. There are 100 more coming across Asia in the next few years. Fiji have already announced one underway. We’ll keep you updated as soon as any others are finished!

With China working so hard to offer renewable energy to its populace, we hope to see other countries step up and investing big time in large scale renewable energy production.

Some other Chinese solar announcements we’ve covered:

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Solar Energy Jobs double in 17-18 FY

Solar energy jobs in Australia received a huge boost in the 17-18 financial year according to statistics from the ABS. The amount of jobs in this sector double from the previous year. 

Solar Energy Jobs in Australia

With the explosion of solar power in Australia, solar jobs have also seen a drastic uptick – according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) the number of full time jobs in the renewable energy sector rose by 28% in 17/18. A whopping 46% of this represents rooftop solar – the total of 17,740 full time jobs is up a whopping 60% from 15-16 numbers.

Solar Energy Jobs in Australia (source: @ahsan19 via Unsplash.com)
Solar Energy Jobs in Australia (source: @ahsan19 via Unsplash.com)

“Factors contributing to the growth in renewable energy uptake in Australia include a reduction in costs, greater interest in clean energy sources and the development of electricity storage technologies,” Jonathon Khoo from the ABS said in comments published on the SBS website.

“Although this has led to a boost in employment in the renewable energy sector, employment in renewable energy remains comparatively small compared with other forms of energy which employs around 59,000 people.”

“We saw large scale solar projects – systems with an installed capacity of 100 kilowatts or greater – overtake hydroelectric power to become the second-largest creator of renewable jobs” Mr Khoo continued. 

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Simon Currie from Renew Estate – he discussed the ramifications for solar employees and those looking to get involved in this rapidly growing industry:

“Projects like Bomen – in Wagga Wagga – are showing the way for the future, by using localised labour, and it paves the way for how the renewable workforce is used in the future,” Mr Currie said.

Solar farm jobs rose steadily from 930 in 2016-17 to 2880 last year, beating hydro’s 2020 jobs and the 1890 employees working at wind farms.  Around 1 in 4 homes which are suitable for solar power have it installed, so there’s still plenty of room to move. We also have energy storage to keep an eye on! 

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Daintree microgrid project | Hydrogen

The Daintree microgrid project has been funded almost $1m by the federal government. It’s set to become Australia’s first solar to hydrogen microgrid and will replace reliance on an expensive and polluting diesel system. Let’s learn more about it! 

Daintree microgrid project

Daintree Microgrid Project (source: Killerscene via Wikipedia)
Daintree Microgrid Project (source: Killerscene via Wikipedia)

The grant amount is $990,150 which will go to the Daintree Renewable Energy Pty Ltd company, as per an article in Energy Magazine, which also noted that the fund will complement the AEMO’s review of microgrids and the regulatory bodies which will govern them, created by the government in August of last year.

Russell O’Doherty, president of Daintree Renewable Energy, was quoted in an interview with Newsport:

“This power will be used to help power the hydrogen cell; the hydrogen gas produced will be collected and stored and used to fuel large scale generators. The only by product of this system is hot water,” he said.

“This is absolutely fantastic news for the environmentally-conscious Daintree community,” Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch also weighed in:

“Far North Queenslanders, especially those living in the Daintree, are extremely passionate about their natural environment and this announcement is a big win for the entire region.”

“The proposed microgrid will store energy generated by new and existing solar panels by converting it to hydrogen, generating reliable power and reducing the World Heritage Area’s reliance on diesel fuel to generate power, with consumption currently estimated at around 4 million litres of diesel per annum,” Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor said.

However it’s not all peachy in the Daintree – the Douglas Shire Sustainability Group is clashing with Daintree Renewable Energy with regards to reticulated power north of Daintree. According to PV Magazine Australia, the DSSG is concerned the renewable project could result in long term damage to the world heritage environment and to tourism. You can learn more about that by clicking here. Watch this space to see what happens there, but surely moving from diesel to solar is a no brainer! 

 

 

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