Monthly Archives October 2019

Installer Suspended from Victorian Solar Homes Program

A second solar panel installer has been suspended from the Victorian Solar Homes installation program. Sandarra Electrics was suspended from Solar Homes after a successful WorkSafe prosecution last week. The company is the second to run foul of the Solar Homes program since it started on August 19, 2018. Space Solar (Victoria) was banned earlier this month after an investigation found it had used unlicensed electrical workers. WorkSafe conviction behind Solar Homes ban Sandarra Electrics was convicted in the Geelong Magistrates Court last Friday of failing to eliminate or reduce the risk of a fall from height. It also failed
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Aussie Innovation Solves Solar Panel Recycling Barrier

A big question about solar panels — how to efficiently recycle them — has been answered by two Australian scientists. The researchers, from the Deakin Institute for Frontier Materials in Victoria, have discovered how to recycle silicon in solar cells. Although the bulk of solar panels are glass, plastic and metal, the special silicon their cells contain is highly valuable. Dr Md Mokhlesur Rahman and Professor Ying (Ian) Chen have found a way to recover the silicon and nano-size it for use in lithium-ion batteries (‘nano’ means one billionth of a metre). Battery-grade nano-silicon retails for around $44,000 per kilogram.
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Cutting Corners on Solar a Massive Risk: Swiss Expert

A global solar supply company warns some Australian solar projects are cutting corners and using poor quality components. Swiss solar component supplier Leoni claims some Australian engineering, procurement and construction contractors (EPCs) are not using international cabling standards. Leoni’s Jan Mastny says on large-scale solar projects this could be potentially costly, posing a “massive risk” for investors. Leoni recently supplied some of the DC cabling for the Limondale Solar Farm project at Balranald, near Mildura, NSW. ‘Pure Australian companies’ at fault Speaking to pv magazine, Mastny said “pure Australian companies” were straying from the “very fine work” of overseas firms.
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Renewables Will Replace Coal: NSW Energy Minister

In another example of states taking the initiative on renewables, the NSW energy minister says wind and solar power, gas and large-scale batteries will replace coal-fired power stations. Speaking at the Investor Group on Climate Change Summit, Energy Minister Matt Kean said climate change is being “accelerated by human activity”. “Responding to climate change isn’t green-washing as some critics allege, it’s prudent management for business and government alike,” he said. Kean said renewables will replace coal not because of government action, but because of economics, RenewEconomy reports. Kean’s statement comes only days after Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor told the
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Clean Energy Open Day: Wind and Solar Plants Open to Public

This year’s Clean Energy Open Day will see 15 facilities around the country open their gates to the public. Sunday October 27 is the day renewable generators in five states will show exactly how they contribute to the electricity grid. Wind and solar farms will be opening their gates in NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. Where to see large-scale solar in action Solar farms in three states will be hosting events for families and guided tours. In NSW, the following solar farms will be open to the public: Broken Hill Solar Plant; Neoen’s Dubbo Solar Hub; and Gullen
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ACCC says Rooftop Solar Rebate Must Go

Australia’s competition regulator has once again called for an end to the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) that’s responsible for the national solar power installation rebate. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chair Rod Sims was speaking at the Australian Financial Review Energy Summit this week. He said environmental schemes like the SRES contribute to high electricity bills. In the past, the ACCC has also blamed high prices on “excessive spending” by distribution networks and “confusing” retail price structures. Solar rebates: an unnecessary cost? This week, Sims told the summit the SRES incentive to install solar was an “unnecessary” cost
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Vic Government Bans Solar Installer from Rebate Program

The Victorian Government has banned Community Energy Group from installing systems under its Solar Homes rebate program. The government announced a ban of two years for the firm, which it says, “put solar workers and home occupiers at risk”. “Investigations found that Community Energy Group Pty Ltd, trading as Space Solar (Victoria), had employed unlicensed electrical workers to carry out works in an unsafe manner.” Customers affected by unsafe practices According to ASIC data, 727 solar installers have gone into liquidation or stopped trading between March 2011 and May 2019. The Victorian Solar Homes program began in 2018 and offers
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