Fraunhofer’s new photovoltaic-thermal (PVT) module has an efficiency of 80%.

Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE), one of the world’s leading solar research institutes, has announced a significant breakthrough in solar technology. The institute has confirmed that its new photovoltaic-thermal (PVT) module has an efficiency of 80%.

PVT modules are a type of hybrid solar panel that can generate both electricity and heat simultaneously. This technology is gaining popularity because it can produce more energy per unit area than traditional solar panels. However, PVT modules have not been as efficient as their traditional counterparts. This breakthrough from Fraunhofer ISE could change that.

The new PVT module from Fraunhofer ISE combines a photovoltaic cell with a thermal absorber. The photovoltaic cell converts sunlight into electricity, while the thermal absorber collects the heat from the sun. The module also has a heat exchanger that transfers the collected heat to a hot water storage tank.

According to Dr. Harry Wirth, Division Director of Photovoltaic Modules, Systems and Reliability at Fraunhofer ISE, “Our new PVT module achieves an efficiency of 80%. This is a significant improvement over previous PVT modules, which typically have an efficiency of around 50%.”

Dr. Wirth also highlighted the benefits of the new technology, saying “The higher efficiency of our PVT module means that it can produce more energy per unit area. This makes it particularly well-suited for applications where space is limited, such as on rooftops or in urban areas.”

The Fraunhofer ISE team achieved this breakthrough by optimizing the design of the PVT module. They used advanced modeling and simulation techniques to study the behavior of the module under different conditions. This allowed them to identify the optimal design parameters that would maximize the module’s efficiency.

This breakthrough from Fraunhofer ISE could have significant implications for the solar industry. PVT modules are becoming increasingly popular, and this breakthrough could accelerate their adoption. It could also lead to the development of more efficient PVT modules in the future.

The Fraunhofer ISE team is now working to commercialize the new PVT module. They are partnering with companies in the solar industry to bring the technology to market. Dr. Wirth said, “We believe that our new PVT module has the potential to revolutionize the way we generate and use energy. We are excited to see where this technology will take us in the future.”

The development of this new PVT module was supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as part of the research project “SolSpaces.” The project aimed to develop innovative energy systems for buildings.


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Solar feed-in tariffs in Australia: a guide

Solar feed-in tariffs are incentives offered to encourage households and businesses to generate renewable energy through solar panels. These tariffs are paid to solar panel owners for the excess electricity they generate and export back to the grid. Each state in Australia has its own solar feed-in tariff scheme, which varies in terms of eligibility criteria, rates, and payment mechanisms. In this article, we will explore the different solar feed-in tariffs across states and territories in Australia.

New South Wales (NSW)

In NSW, the solar feed-in tariff is determined by electricity retailers and is not set by the state government. The rate varies between retailers and can range from 5 cents to 20 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). However, as of January 2022, the NSW government introduced a new Solar for Business Program that provides financial assistance to small and medium-sized businesses for installing solar panels. Under this program, eligible businesses can receive a solar feed-in tariff of up to 14 cents per kWh for excess energy exported to the grid. (source:


In Victoria, the solar feed-in tariff rate is determined by the state government and is set at a minimum of 10.2 cents per kWh for residential solar systems. The rate is reviewed annually and may change depending on market conditions. In addition to the feed-in tariff, the Victorian government also offers a Solar Homes Program that provides rebates and interest-free loans for households to install solar panels. (source:


In Queensland, the solar feed-in tariff rate is also determined by the state government and is set at a minimum of 7.842 cents per kWh for systems up to 30kW in size. However, the rate can vary depending on the electricity retailer and the size of the solar system. The Queensland government also offers a Solar Bonus Scheme that provides a feed-in tariff of 44 cents per kWh for households that installed solar panels before July 2012. (source:

South Australia

In South Australia, the solar feed-in tariff is determined by the state government and is set at a minimum of 10.1 cents per kWh for residential systems. However, some electricity retailers may offer higher rates. The South Australian government also offers a Home Battery Scheme that provides subsidies for households to install battery storage systems to complement their solar panels. (source:

Western Australia

In Western Australia, the solar feed-in tariff is also determined by electricity retailers and can vary between 7 cents to 10 cents per kWh. However, the state government has announced that it will introduce a voluntary buyback scheme for excess solar energy generated by households. The scheme is expected to commence in mid-2023 and will pay a fixed rate of 10 cents per kWh. (source:


In Tasmania, the solar feed-in tariff is determined by electricity retailers and can range from 5 cents to 12 cents per kWh. However, as of January 2022, the Tasmanian government has introduced a Solar for Business Program that provides financial assistance to small and medium-sized businesses for installing solar panels. Under this program, eligible businesses can receive a solar feed-in tariff of up to 12 cents per kWh for excess energy exported to the grid.

Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory, the solar feed-in tariff is also determined by electricity retailers and can vary between 8 cents to 22 cents per kWh. However, the Northern Territory government does not have any specific solar incentive schemes for households or businesses.

In conclusion, the solar feed-in tariff schemes across states and territories in Australia vary in terms of rates, eligibility criteria, and payment mechanisms. While some states have government-mandated minimum rates, others rely on electricity retailers to determine the rate. It is important for households and businesses to research and compare different solar feed-in tariff schemes before deciding to install solar panels to maximize the benefits of generating renewable energy.


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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:

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 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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Solar Battery Storage could rise 10x – AEMO

The latest Electricity Statement of Opportunities by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) forecasts a potential 10x increase in solar battery storage uptake. The statement of operations is produced annually by AEMO and helps them plan for projected installation of solar panels, batteries, and their capacity as the technology increases and Australia continues its march towards our Renewable Energy Target for 2030.

Solar Battery Storage and the AEMO

Solar Battery Storage (source: AEMO/RenewEconomy)
Solar Battery Storage (source: AEMO/RenewEconomy)

AEMO’s 2017 Electricity Statement of Opportunities helps us project the next 10 years of energy generation and runs simulations for different scenarios (changes in solar battery technology or peak demand, for example). It’s worth reading the whole thing but here are some interesting tidbits we picked up around the place:

An interesting note that Renew Economy picked up on is that peak demand (with an average of around 3,700MW for the last ten years) was at its second lowest level since 2009 in 2017 – largely in thanks to the high numbers of rooftop solar systems installed throughout the country. Being able to manage peak demand means that infrastructure won’t be as expensive and we simply don’t need as much energy – so it’s a great result!

Cameron Parrotte, the boss of AEMO in Western Australia, discussed the situation and what it means for Aussies:

“While there have been recent retirements of some fossil-fueled generators, new renewable generation capacity is enabling the RCT to be met within the defined reliability standard, and with significantly lower excess capacity than historically recorded”

There’s also some great news for Western Australian solar power, where the grid includes a ‘capacity market’ – making it a bit different than the other states. The report projects that the current amount of live and committed generation resources will meet forecast peak demand in the state’s South West interconnected system (SWIS), despite around 400MW of coal, gas and diesel being replaced by approximately the same amount of rooftop solar, large-scale wind and large-scale solar. If you want to read more about the Wholesale Electricity Market in Western Australia please click here.

Some great news for Australia’s energy future. There’s no doubt that we’ll see more and higher capacity solar batteries installed in houses over the next ten years, let’s see how accurate those projections are!

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Hyundai Solar Panels coming to Australia

Hyundai solar panels will be available in Australia this year after inking a massive deal with a local solar company. The Korean company will look to sell to the commercial and residential sector and will also look to install large-scale solar projects here.

Hyundai Solar Panels in Australia

Hyundai Solar Panels - Green Energy
Hyundai Solar Panels – Green Energy (source: Hyundai)

Hyundai Heavy Industries Green Energy have signed an exclusive deal with Queensland solar distribution company Supply Partners. The deal has been valued at $70 million and will see Hyundai HI return to the Australian market since it exited in 2011. 

Larry Kim, the head of global sales for Hyundai Heavy Industries Green Energy, said the company’s sales targets are ambitious – planning to sell 20-30MW of panels this year, and 40-50MW in 2019. According to RenewEconomy, they were only up to 10MW of panels when they exited the market. It’s important to note that the solar landscape has changed considerably in the last 7 years and that 10MW worth of panels certainly doesn’t represent the ostensible failure the numbers provide in 2018 terms.

Kim said the focus of Hyundai will be squarely on the residential and commercial markets. 

“Nowadays, the Australian market is growing very fast in all markets, but residential and commercial are more stable,” Kim told RE in an interview.

He also discussed their plans with regards to energy storage and how they’re going to roll it out to Australia – given that we already have such a high solar panel installation rate it would seem logical to enter this market as well. 

“This is part of (our) long-term strategy,” he said.

“We are focusing on the Korean market for energy storage systems first,” he said. “After that, (we will look at) the Australia residential market.

“But not in the near future.”

We’ll be super interested to see how Hyundai’s re-entry into the Australian market goes and will be sure to update you as soon as we hear anything more about the move.

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