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Solar & Storage AUTUMN 2018

10 & 11 APRIL 2018

• States take charge







• Clocking up GW: the rise of solar and storage • Smart Energy on Show • Large-scale storage – setting new records • Enabling networks


Smart Energy Council Foreword by CEO and Tim Buckley Smart Energy Show 2018 Membership services Smart Energy Training Centre Master Installers Corporate Members Positive Quality

2 12 55 56 57 59 60

Market Dynamics News and views What’s in store for 2018 by Ric Brazzale Infographic: State targets and milestones

4 14 18



Special Features Power and performance States of development

7 10

Storage Evolution South Australia’s virtual power plant Pumped hydro, thermal storage An array of large-scale storage developments SolarReserve Adelaide offices Sonnen’s battery plant Fully Charged: Climate Council

19 20 20 20 22 26

Front cover: Smart energy in action: The Alpha ESS

Around the Industry Dirty little secrets: Heads-up on solar leads by Finn Peacock Commercial inverter solutions Mercury Rises: Climate Council Redback’s smart system – right at home Enabling networks by Nick Engerer Semi-retired, fully off grid Vale Stuart Wenham Local and global events

30 32 48 49 50 52 54 58

Smart Energy Show Sponsors Alpha ESS 33 Energy Power Systems Australia 34 One Stop Warehouse 36 37 AC Solar Warehouse Huawei 38

38 30 40

Company Profiles Jinko Solar Fronius Sungrow Power Red Appointments

40 42 44 46

SOLAR & STORAGE is published by the SMART ENERGY COUNCIL. ABN 32 006 824 148 Subscription and membership contact Scott Young, Phone: 02 6653 4453, M: 0467 672 292,

SMART ENERGY COUNCIL CEO John Grimes PO Box 231, Mawson ACT 2607 Phone: 1300 768 204 Solar & Storage ISSN 2206-1673


Solar & Storage advertising enquiries contact: Brett Thompson, Sales Manager | Phone: 0402 181 250 |

56 SOLAR & STORAGE EDITOR: Nicola Card CONTRIBUTORS: Grant Behrendorff, Ric Brazzale, Nick Engerer, Lior Handelsman, Penny Parle, Finn Peacock DESIGN AND PRODUCTION: Mitzi Mann

Solar & Storage (Solar Progress) was first published in 1980. The magazine aims to provide readers with an in-depth review of technologies, policies and progress towards a society which sources energy from the sun rather than fossil fuels. Except where specifically stated, the opinions and material published in this magazine are not necessarily those of the Smart Energy Council. Although every effort is made to check the authenticity and accuracy of articles, neither the Smart Energy Council nor the editors are responsible for any inaccuracy. Solar & Storage is published quarterly.



John Grimes, Chief Executive, Smart Energy Council

IN 22 MONTHS TIME Australia will no longer have a national target or national policy driving the roll out of additional renewable energy. We will enter the national renewable energy black hole. The only national policy supporting renewables, the Renewable Energy Target peaks in 2020. It then flatlines until 2030, with no new capacity being added. The federal government has made sure nothing is being put in its place. Instead they have proposed a National Energy Guarantee. Many commentators say this ‘guarantee’ would see no new renewables built between 2020 and 2030. Instead it will lock in coal. A coal guarantee. So as renewables increase competition, and push prices down, the federal government want them locked out of Australia’s future.

What governments do matters. They can delay, frustrate and run things off the rails. In this case they are just running down the clock. The longer they can hold off positive renewable policy, the better. They can win by doing nothing. Thankfully Australia is a democracy. Most likely there will be an election this year. If you care about this stuff, if your business is riding on it, don’t sit this one out. At the last election we collectively gave Prime Minister Turnbull the benefit of the doubt on renewable policy. He failed the test. Opponents are ruthless and well resourced. The next move is up to you.

In my view … Impossible to hold back the tide IT IS AN EXCITING TIME for the solar & storage sector, with strong momentum in both the domestic and international markets. In Australia, the Federal Government seems determined to implement its National Energy Guarantee (NEG) with a design aimed clearly to limit renewable deployments and promote thermal power, even as the corporate sector refuses to buy-in to the façade. Meanwhile, the momentum in the global energy transition is building; trying to hold back the tide of technology innovation and cost down is impossible. This is probably nowhere better illustrated than in India, so we’ll start there. India has positioned itself as global leader. This is leveraging off the learnings from China, which is building momentum in every possible way, including installing a staggering 53 GW of solar in 2017. India’s Coal Minister announced at Davos his desire to lift India’s ambition from the current 40 per cent renewables by 2027 to 50 per cent by 2030. For a country expecting electricity demand to double in that timeframe, this is huge. The Energy Minister has announced plans for India to undertake 40 GW of

2 AUTUMN 2018

Tim Buckley, Energy Finance Studies IEEFA

renewable tenders annually, and 2018 has got off with a surge – 11 GW of tenders announced in the first two months. The reason for such enthusiasm is clear – the price of renewables is down 50 per cent since 2016 to US$40/MWh, making this the low cost source of new capacity. India is also starting to grapple with grid integration issues by boosting its national and international connectivity, and building a dedicated 500 MW pumped hydro storage (PHS) facility in Tamil Nadu. Exciting times. In Australia, 2017 saw a record installation of 1 GW of rooftop solar. But total installs in 2018 are likely to easily eclipse this record, with momentum on rooftop solar boosted by behind the meter storage while the utility scale sector is now ramping up at a rate of knots. Critical for Australia is the investment in interstate grid interconnects and PHS. With Hydro Tasmania wading in with a proposed 5 GW, the challenge to Snowy 2 is on; plenty of competition to spur investment and competitive pricing. In IEEFA’s view, the NEG is noise, the tide has turned, and is unstoppable.


Local and Global News The Lakeland

Solar and Storage project on the Cape York

Peninsula 240 kilometres northwest of Cairns is Australia’s first such grid connected plant and has started providing power. The $42.5 million facility includes a 10.8 MW AC solar farm with 40,000 solar panels alongside a 1.4 MW / 5.3 MWh lithium-ion battery. “Lakeland is a demonstration for how integrated solar and batteries can together deliver dispatchable supply feeding electricity into the grid,” ARENA chief Ivor Frischknecht said. “Solar farms combined with storage are going to play a hugely important role in Australia’s electricity grid in the future.”

The commonwealth government has reached agreement on the purchase of NSW and Victoria’s share of

Snowy Hydro Limited.

The agreement paves the way for the Prime Minister’s proposed Snowy Hydro 2.0 initiative to provide increased levels of renewable energy into the grid. The Victorian government will receive more than $2 billion and hails it a win. Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said “This deal is in line with our energy policy commitments and is expected to see more renewable energy put into the national energy market.”

Prominent panel manufacturer Risen

Energy has acquired

100 per cent share of the 121 MW Yarranlea Solar Farm project ARENA is ploughing an additional $500,000 in funding for

near Toowoomba. Risen Energy will take the project from detailed

EnergyAustralia’s next stage of the 225 MW Cultana

seawater pumped hydro plant in South Australia. If built, the Cultana

engineering design to construction, commissioning and thereafter own

facility would be the largest seawater pumped hydro facility ever

end of 2018. Once completed the Yarranlea Solar Farm power station

constructed in the world, and a first for Australia. Back in 1999 a

will connect to the grid via the nearby Yarranlea zone substation and

30 MW plant was built in Okinawa in Japan and operated for 17

is projected to produce 264 GWh, enough to power 52,800 homes,

years. ARENA’s Ivor Frischknecht commented that seawater pumped

each year from 400,000 solar panels. Pictured: a plant in China using

hydro has no impact on rivers and there is no need to construct

Risen technology.

and operate the solar farm that is expected to be completed by the

lower reservoirs. It could serve as a model by opening up the potential for future seawater pumped hydro around Australia.

Developments on the scale of gigawatts are becoming more frequent. Now Chinese PV giant Longi

Solar is establishing a multi-million

dollar 1 GW solar PV manufacturing facility in India manufacturing 500 MW of cells and 500 MW of modules. News of the plant scheduled for completion by early 2019 follows that of Longi Solar’s $300 million investment in a 5 GW module facility in China.

4 AUTUMN 2018


Local and Global News Cause to celebrate: late last year Australia passed a significant milestone, with a cumulative 7 GW of solar PV. Forecasts for this year are pretty phenomenal: 2 GW large-scale solar (with more than 30 large-scale solar plants in the pipeline) and 1 GW small-scale PV. That puts the nation on track to meet its 2020 Renewable Energy Target early. “Household PV is now an economic no brainer,” says John Grimes of the Smart Energy Council. According to IEEFA India is on track to reach 175 GW of renewable energy installs ahead of its own self-imposed deadline of 2022 and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal wants India to expand its electricity-generation goal of 40 per cent reliance on renewables by 2027 to 50 per cent by 2030. Some coal advocates continue to insist imported coal will relieve energy poverty in India, yet renewables are now providing the much-needed solution to that problem. So where does that put

Adani? According

to IEEFA’s Tim Buckley Indian markets do not need the Australian coal that would come by way of Adani’s project, which is all but grounded because the evidence shows that it would be a “massive boondoggle”. “Isolation is absolutely key … there is no workforce, no infrastructure, no power, no roads, no railways, no airport. So everything has to be built from scratch. The end game for thermal coal is increasingly obvious, and for Australia to add to its low-quality, export-coal supply – and all the associated long-dated railway and port infrastructure needed to make

Small business, big picture. Smart Energy Council member

Solar 4 RVs won the Australian “Retail Business of the Year’ at the recent Optus My Business Awards. Pictured are Trish and Phil Chapallaz whose Victorian based company is recognised as a leader in lightweight solar and lithium systems for mobile applications including caravans, motorhomes, campers, yachts, cruisers, golf carts, kayaks, utes, trucks and locomotives. Solar 4 RVs supplied the Australian Antarctic Division with solar panels and sponsored a solar system for zero carbon emission yacht Climate Action Now. Solar 4 RVs also sponsored two Australians rowing across the Atlantic, with their solar system powering GPS and other vital electrical equipment.

it happen – is economic folly,” says Buckley who has a knack for putting energy matters in perspective. German battery maker Sonnen

has chosen Adelaide as home for a

In the run up to the

SA election Premier Jay Weatherill announced

interest free loans up to $10,000 for solar and battery storage systems would be offered to households. He would also boost the state renewable energy target from 50 per cent to 75 per cent by 2025

battery manufacturing plant, a first

and implement Australia’s first renewable storage target if re-elected,

for the state and the nation. The plant

requiring 25 per cent of the state’s peak demand be met by stored

would generate 430 jobs and 10,000

renewable energy, accounting for 750 MW of storage. “More renewable

systems a year. Sonnen has already

energy = cheaper power for all South Australians” was his mantra.

installed 30,000 household batteries in Germany and now wants to keep up with growing demand in Australia and the Asia-Pacific. All being well the Adelaide manufacturing facility will be up and running before year’s end.

Planet Ark is marking a quarter of a century as advocates for positive environmental action staged through events and campaigns for the public and media. A ‘recycling revolution’ is underway at Planet Ark this year in the build up National Recycling Week in mid November. The move is timely given China’s ban on Australian waste and a rethink by local Councils on the millions of tonnes of waste in kerbside collections.

Putting good use to old coal mines: Sungrow Huainan Solar Farm is the world’s largest floating solar array. It floats on an artificial lake created on the site of a former coal mine, and produces 40 MW of energy. The array consists of 166,000 panels and was built by SungrowPower.

6 AUTUMN 2018

Solar & Storage is printed by Printgraphics whose green credentials include:


Power and performance AS WE WENT TO PRINT Europe was caught in a freakish icy grip caused by the Arctic’s warmer than usual temperatures of minus 8°C (20°C higher than normal) pushing cold air south. The deep freeze wreaked havoc across the continent but it’s no one-off, and the UN’s Erik Solheim commented the higher greenhouse gas levels caused by the burning of fossil fuels means “We’ve only got a short amount of time to stop this from getting significantly worse.” That goes for Australia too, which continues to be battered by “once in a lifetime” severe weather events from tropical cyclones to floods and droughts, and is vulnerable to climate change induced rises in sea-level, flooding and inundation, says the International Energy Agency. Despite the threat, Australia’s current energy efficiency measures and climate mitigation policies are insufficient, according to the IEA report on the energy policies of its 30 member nations. Among the many observations “[Australia] is not subject to any effective carbon constraint or rate under the Emissions Reduction Fund and its safeguard mechanism. In order to meet its 2030 target, domestic efforts need to increase. “The country is in a paradoxical situation [with] unclear policy directions from changing [federal] administrations with fundamentally different views on how to reduce emissions.” Among the report’s key recommendations: The government should design an energy and climate policy framework for 2030 in collaboration with states and territories through the Council of Australian Governments with integrated policy packages for energy efficiency and renewable energy; and The government needs to develop a 2050 low-carbon emission strategy to provide a stable outlook for long-term investments in energy efficiency, renewables and other clean energy technology opportunities based on the outcomes of the Finkel review.

First day of spring but no sign of ducks or daffodils in Poole Park, southern UK, which sits frozen in an icy grip caused by warmer than normal Arctic temperatures. Image: Austin Lilliput

Total annual greenhouse gas emissions (excl LULUCF - Land Use, Land Use Change, and Forestry)

So far, the potential of wind and solar remains “largely untapped” for the country as a whole, the IEA noted. The Smart Energy Council agrees with many of the IEA findings and highlights that Australia’s relatively minimal taxation rate on CO2 emissions from energy – the fourth lowest in 30 member countries – does little

Solar & Storage 7

8 AUTUMN 2018




Natural gas


Biofuels and waste



150 100




0 1973 1976 1979 1982 1985 1988 1991 1994 1997 2000 2003 2006 2009 2012 2015 * Negligible. Note: Data are provisional for 2016. Source: IEA (2017), World Energy Balances 2017,

Electricity generation by source in IEA member countries, 2016 Australia Australia Poland Estonia* Netherlands Japan Ireland Korea Greece Turkey United States Italy Czech Republic Germany United Kingdom Portugal Spain Hungary Denmark Luxembourg Belgium Austria Finland Slovak Republic Canada New Zealand France Sweden Norway Switzerland 20% Coal



Natural gas


60% Biofuels and waste

80% Hydro









* Estonia’s coal represents oil shale. Note: Data are provisionel. Source: IEA (2017b), World Energy Balances 2017,

Effective tax rates on CO2 from energy in IEA countries, 2012 120

EUR / t CO2

100 80 60 40


United States




New Zealand

Czech Republic

Slovak Republic
















20 United Kingdom

The procrastination at the federal level is not reflected at state levels with most adopting renewables targets to 2030 and beyond.




Talk versus action



Carbon market analyst Bruce Mountain agrees, concluding that the NEG would protect coal generators from the competition provided by renewables and storage batteries, and undermine the efficiency of investment in renewable generation capacity. “It can be no surprise that there is no evidence in Australia or internationally of an approach similar to the NEG having ever been implemented or even proposed,” says Bruce Mountain who questions why an approach as problematic as the NEG was developed. “The NEG responds to the Government’s demand for an emission reduction approach that does not provide a visible price on emissions. Arrangements such as the NEG that set out to obscure the price are effectively setting out to make a market that is less efficient and more complex than it otherwise would be.” Others have emphasised the hasty drafting of the paper and the NEG’s level of complexity and suggest it will spawn an army of bureaucrats. But it is yet to be endorsed.



Negative forces

Energy production by source, 1973-2016


to incentivise polluters to cut emissions. As succinctly put by a Guardian reporter “Putting a price on carbon provided an incentive for firms to use less of it. Removing that price removed the incentive.” Indeed, since the abolition of the carbon tax emissions have been rising, as illustrated by the Department of Environment’s chart (on previous page). Currently black and brown coal account for 63 per cent of Australia’s total electricity generation, followed by increasing levels of natural gas (20 per cent), and although renewable energy sources are increasing the coalition government is still fixated on the past – extracting and burning coal. “We are scrapping all renewable energy targets post 2020, and locking in coal instead,” says John Grimes of the Smart Energy Council. “The Australian Government has no renewable energy policies beyond 2020 and the National Energy Guarantee debate ensures this will continue to be the case. “We have very deep concerns about the National Energy Guarantee, indications are that it could be very damaging for investment in residential, commercial and large-scale solar, storage and renewable energy.”

Figure 1.4 Energy production by source, 1973-2016



Source: OECD (2015), Taxing Energy Use 2015: OECD and Selected Partner Economies, OECD Publishing, Paris.




(See infographic on page 18.) The tide is turning, says IEEFA’s Tim Buckley, and fast, with high levels of investment and advancement in clean energy systems and a range of large-scale renewables projects in the pipeline that are transforming the energy system. The future uptake of distributed resources in Australia, in particular solar PV, could cement the country’s position as a global leader in the field. CSIRO and Energy Networks Australia say 30 to 50 per cent of annual electricity consumption supplied from residential PV systems by 2050 is possible, and this comes with the advantage of avoiding $16 billion of network infrastructure investment. We are well on the way. In December 2017 Australia passed a significant milestone with a cumulative total of 7 GW of installed solar PV. Largescale and rooftop PV added about 1.3 GW nationally last year, which was a record for the industry. Analysts are now tipping rooftop PV will add 1.4 GW new capacity this year and the strength of the small scale and mid-range commercial PV sector is accompanied by a boom in large-scale solar plants which this year are projected to almost double in size, soaring by 2.5 to 3.5 GW. As many as 30 new large-scale solar farms are scheduled to come on line, predominantly in Queensland and NSW, and South Australia is charging ahead with solar and storage. John Grimes says the 2018 tally may come close to doubling existing capacity in a single year as firms rush to supply the Renewable Energy Target that has to be filled by 2020 and Australia is about to meet its 2020 Renewable Energy Target early.

Amazing state of SA The state of South Australia has an extraordinary track record and has been described a global hub for renewable energy. Developed in a relatively short period the powerful portfolio takes in the world’s biggest storage battery with Tesla’s 100 MW/129 MWh delivered in record time; SolarReserve’s 150 MW Aurora plant that on completion will be one of the world’s biggest solar thermal plants and a first for Australia: government grants for four hydro electric plants with storage. Not forgetting another milestone: the world’s

10 AUTUMN 2018

Powering up employment “A jobs boom is sweeping across regional Australia and there’s one industry to thank – the renewable energy sector. And Australia has the richest renewable energy resources in the world. A renewable energy investment boom is a light on the horizon for many regional towns, we can’t let backwards politics spoil this once in a generation opportunity. We have enough to power the nation 500 times over, yet we have some of the least ambitious renewable energy targets in the developed world.” James Wright, chief executive of the Future Business Council.

would waive stamp duty on the purchase of new EVs or zero-emission vehicles and provide free registration for five years.

More sunny states The renewables boom is not confined to South Australia, the NSW Berejiklian government has approved 11 large-scale solar energy plants in the past 12 months which on completion will generate in excess of 1.3 GW of renewable power and reduce carbon emissions by over 2.5 million tonnes. The extent of projects in Queensland is mind-boggling: in the pipeline are solar energy projects coming in at 5.1 GW, and all up 6.3 GW in new renewables capacity by 2020, delivering almost 10,000 jobs and $7.7 billion in investments.

largest virtual power plant involving 50,000 households. The list goes on. The state capital of Adelaide has now attracted interest as an ideal location for the nation’s first EV plant on the site of the old Holden factory, and Carnegie Clean Energy is eyeing up space within the same precinct for a storage battery project with rooftop solar panels that will form a microgrid. GFG Alliance’s Sanjeev Gupta has teamed with Ross Garnaut of Zen Energy, and more recently German battery maker Sonnen announced plans to build a battery manufacturing plant in Adelaide and move its Australian headquarters there. Along the way South Australia has “hit the jobs jackpot” Premier Weatherill said. Many agree. “The Weatherill Government made the right strategic decision to become the Smart Energy State, delivering real economic and employment benefits for South Australians, while driving down power bills,” John Grimes declared. State Labor election promises included interest free loans of up to $10,000 for solar and battery storage systems for South Australian households, an Australian first energy storage target with 25 per cent of the state’s peak demand met by stored renewable energy, accounting for 750 MW of storage. This is in addition to the renewable energy target that will be raised from 50 per cent to 75 per cent by 2025 (noting the state actually achieved 50 per cent in 2017) and net zero emissions by 2050. To encourage the uptake of environmentally friendly vehicles, Labor

ARENA and the CEFC continue to support growth in the sector through grants and funding rounds and developers Pacific Hydro, Windlab and CWP Renewables are joining SolarReserve in their aspirations to build more utility scale plants on a size never seen before in Australia. It’s now more common to see solar plants in excess of 30 MW, 50 MW and 100 MW. And let’s not forget just five short years ago the 10 MW Greenough River Solar farm near Geraldton in WA was hailed a game changer. Then came the mighty 20 MW Royalla solar plant in ACT in 2014, billed Australia’s largest at the time The bigger the better, the more the merrier. The cost of solar energy is now in the region of $78-$140 MWh whereas coal with ‘carbon capture and storage’ is more than twice that at $352 MWh. The cost of solar power is predicted to decline by a further 40 to 70 per cent by 2040, which makes it the most cost-efficient energy source and a no brainer in terms of the millions of tonnes in carbon abatement which is vital to stem global warming and extreme weather events. As the Climate Council says “The era of coal is over and global investment has moved firmly to renewable energy. Solar power is cheaper, has no fuel costs, is non-polluting and it is clear that it will be a key of Australia’s future.” There you have it – the rapid transformation of the energy sector. The world is watching Australia – and the outlook for clean energy is looking positive, at least in the short term. What we need now is a federal government with the backbone to push through smart 21st century energy policies that lock in long-term confidence and stability and plug emissions. Too much to hope for?


Show of solar strength: TW PV When the industry gathers at the Smart Energy Show in Sydney in April they can tune in to the hot topics of demand response, energy efficiency, energy intelligence, smart controls and monitoring, thermal energy storage, hydrogen and alternative fuels and more, including investment options in 2018 and beyond. Among the many highlights: • Insights of the visions and projects of Windlab, Hydro Australia and CWP Renewables • Improving Microgrid Stability by EPSA/CAT • Thermal Battery for Next Generation Energy Storage by Curtin University • Homeowners turn on their own big battery by Reposit Power • And this terrific title from Professor Martin Green: The Great Transformation, Terawatt Photovoltaic.

Whipping up interest and ripping up bills

The pavilion is designed with one purpose in mind: To showcase the industry to households and businesses and demonstrate how they can “rip up power bills”. The dedicated area featuring seating for 300 is designed to inform householders and businesses about the value of smart energy and “How to rip up your power bill” using solar, storage and smart energy. Free, independent, expert advice will be presented in the Energy Revolution Pavilion with a rolling program of informative talks and displays showcasing company products and companies and leading technologies. Participating companies will be able to answer customers’ questions, arrange follow-up meetings and take orders. The NSW government also has a stake in the Energy Revolution Pavilion and will be conducting talks aimed at commercial and industrial customers.

Testament to the solar boom is the number of companies keen to secure a larger slice of the action, as profiled on the pages of this magazine and who will be making their presence known at the Smart Energy Conference and Exhibition in April. Visitors to this year’s Smart Energy Expo will notice an additional section: The Energy Revolution Pavilion.

Fastest Growing

Australia’s Electrical,, Engineering,, Finance and Procurement Wholesaler.

Smart Energy on Show 2018 A glimpse of what will be presented during the solar sector’s largest ever show in a year that promises great things.

AT A GLANCE – this year’s stellar performance: Exponential growth: 3 GW of solar being installed in 2018, >2 GW large scale, >1 GW small scale Mega plants: >30 large-scale plants under development Solar thermal coming to a state or a state near you The world’s largest virtual power plant The world’s largest battery And a snapshot of market dynamics: State renewable targets are setting the foundation for a sustainable future The energy market: rising power bills, more blackouts and overall uncertainty in the grid Clean energy: lower cost solar PV; battery prices and smart energy devices increasingly sophisticated and competitive

APPLIED ENERGY STORAGE: Technology and innovation, battery sizing, financial return, behind the meter, EVs and more: • Energy intelligence to enable the future grid Redback • Coming Innovations in Clean Energy disrupting BAU WWF • Battery Sizing for Commercial & Residential PV SunWiz • The Case for thermal energy storage Solastor • Overview of solar energy trends REC Solar • Understanding your BTM project and consideration of the value stack LG Chem Australia

Drop in on PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT INSTALLER • STC Market Update and Predictions GET • Trading energy between consumers; monitoring energy use, production and storage performance Solar Analytics • How small PV retailers can succeed in an ever-growing competitive market SunWiz • Keeping Your Business Profitable In A Volatile Market SEIA • Simplifying your business in smart energy One Stop Warehouse

SMART ENERGY SOLUTIONS - today’s hot topics of Demand response and energy efficiency, Smart controls and monitoring, Hydrogen and alternative fuels and more. Tune in to: • State of the solar and storage industry BNEF • The battle for our energy future rages on SEC • Where do we need investment in 2018 and beyond? CEFC • Smart Energy Policy - Necessary & Inevitable ANU • The Great Transformation: Terawatt Photovoltaic UNSW • The outlook for large-scale renewable energy projects GET • Plus insights from Windlab, Hydro Australia and CWP Renewables • Developments and trends in the Renewable Energy Target CER • Improving Microgrid Stability EPSA/CAT • Thermal Battery for Next Generation Energy Storage Curtin University • Homeowners turn on their own big battery Reposit Power

And LOTS more! For sales contact or call 0402 181 250

“Household PV conversion is now an economic no brainer” John Grimes, Smart Energy Council



Brian England, Chair, SEIA National

Kobad Bhavnagri, Head of Australia, Bloomberg New Energy Finance

“The most exciting phase of the energy transformation yet!”

And a first for the conference:

The Energy Revolution Pavilion Designed to inform householders, small (and larger) businesses about the value of smart energy and “How to rip up your power bill” Free, independent, expert advice The Pavilion will also showcase products and companies

Smart Energy Expo by the numbers: • 100+ exhibitors • 90+ guest speakers

John Hewson, Professor and Chair, Tax and Transfer Policy Institute, ANU

• 6000+ delegates expected over the two days • CPD points • FREE ENTRY

Martin Green, Director, Australian Centre for Applied Photovoltaics

“The industry is booming, and is set for 300 per cent growth in 2018.” OUR THANKS TO OUR PLATINUM SPONSORS:

Mark Williamson, Executive General Manager, Clean Energy Regulator

AND OUR GOLD SPONSORS: Lily Habib, Executive Manager New Business and Development, Pacific Hydro Australia



The ascent of PV WHILE 2017 WAS A RECORD YEAR for the solar PV industry in Australia, it will be completely put in the shade by what we’re likely to install in 2018. Our data shows a total 1340 MW of solar PV was installed and operational by the end of December 2017. This is a big number by the standards of Australia’s overall electricity market, not just the solar sector. Yet in 2018 the industry is on track to commission 2.6 times this level of solar PV with more than 3500 MW expected to be installed, once you consider the significant number of large-scale solar projects that were under construction at the end of 2017. To put this activity into perspective, the construction activity for large-scale solar will directly support the employment of 4423 people on a job year basis. In addition, there were more than 4,500 people directly employed in the sale and installation of roof-top solar over 2017 (see Green Energy Markets’ Renewable Index for further detail).

Ric Brazzale of Green Energy Markets says last year Australia added 1.3 GW of solar power, and that number could treble in 2018.



Small power stations

Utility scale solar

MW (DC) installed per annum


3580 MW

3500 3000 2500 2000 1336 MW

1500 866 MW

1000 500 0

1047 MW 792 MW

848 MW

926 MW




851 MW


389 MW 85 MW 2009




Solar PV capacity installed in Australia (MW DC)

14 AUTUMN 2018


2018 est

These people have commissioned nearly 5 million solar panels in 2017 and will commission more than 13 million solar panels in 2018. We have analysed the level of PV installations by market sector – residential, commercial, small power stations and utility-scale installations. Importantly, we have changed our classification of commercial systems and now deem that systems above 15 kW are commercial. Analysis of our associate company Green Energy Trading’s creation over the last few years found that the size of residential systems has increased considerably and that 15 kW was more representative of a non-residential system.

State performance Queensland and NSW were the biggest markets for solar PV in 2017 accounting for 33 per cent and 25 per cent share respectively. The residential market remains the mainstay of the PV industry accounting for 64 per cent of total installations in 2017 with the commercial sector accounting for 18 per cent. The utility-scale installations in 2017 amounted to 185 MW on a DC basis in 2017. Green Energy Markets’ Renewables Report indicates that we can expect more than 2,300 MW (DC) of utility-scale projects will be commissioned in 2018. The dramatic increase in the level of installations can be explained by: • Increasing media focus on energy security and higher prices particularly following the blackout in South Australia in 2016 as well as the closure of the Hazelwood power station. This has acted to generate a desire amongst households and businesses to take greater control over their electricity supply and an interest in installing solar;



• Higher wholesale prices which also flowed into higher feed-in tariffs, improved the economics of PV and made it a more financially attractive proposition for customers; and • Significant reductions in the installed cost of larger scale solar systems and support from ARENA has seen this sector start to gain momentum over the last 12 months. There was more than 2300 MW (DC) of largescale solar under construction at the end of 2017 which will underpin a significant increase in 2018.

Solar PV capacity installed (MW DC) Residential

Small Power Stations

Utility Scale



Methodology and notes • We have used certificate creation data from the REC-Registry to determine the level of residential and commercial installations. An estimated 1078 MW of solar PV was submitted to create Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) and we have allowed for an average of one month’s lag in certificate creation to estimate the expected level of installations that occurred in 2017. • For small power stations, we have only included those installations that received accreditation from the Clean Energy Regulator in 2017 and note that there were more than 80 small power stations that had submitted applications for registration at the end of December 2017, many of which would have been commissioned in 2017. • PV market segments are based on the size of the installation as follows: • Residential – systems installed up to and including 15 kW in size; • Commercial – systems installed between 15 kW and 100 kW • Small power stations – systems above 100 kW that need to be registered as power stations under the renewable energy target; and























































2017 ACT





































2017 Increase





191.0 185.0 73.3%

1336.0 57.1%

• Utility scale – systems installed greater than 5 kW (AC) in size • Employment figures for the solar industry were sourced from the Green Energy Markets’ Renewable Index. This upbeat assessment of the PV market first appeared in Reneweconomy and is reproduced with the author’s permission.

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State targets: race to renewables ACT 100% renewable energy by 2020 Net zero emissions by 2050

New South Wales

Northern Territory

20% renewable energy by 2020 Net zero emissions by

50% renewable


10 solar farms + 1.2 GW energy approved in 2017

energy target by

2030 Big battery projects

Queensland 50% renewable energy by 2030 Net zero emissions by

South Australia


50% renewable energy by 2025

100% renewable energy by 2022

(actually achieved in 2017) Net zero emissions by



World’s largest battery storage facility 100

18 utility-scale solar projects

(already generating


Plans for:

under construction leading to

17% of state energy on

- Australia’s first CST



-A  ustralia’s largest VPP (solar systems + battery storage) powering -N  ation’s first EV


50,000 homes

c.100% each year; 90% from hydro electric power) Net zero emissions by



-G  rants for four pumped


energy storage projects

25% renewable energy by 2020 and 40% by 2025

Western Australia

Series of state initiatives and laws supporting RE Investment in grid-scale battery storage

No renewable energy target Rise of rooftop

Federal coalition government RET of 23.5% by 2020 Reduce emissions 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030 No renewable energy policy beyond 2020


Storage Round-up The storage revolution in top gear IN A RECENT RELEASE Netflix movie earth is running out of energy and the shortages are causing widespread panic and greed, with deadly battles erupting around the globe. We’re not sure why anyone would assume earth could run out of energy, given there’s enough sunlight to power the entire world thousands of times over, but evidently some are yet to catch on. And right now South Australia is reshaping the future of energy supplies. In the most recent development, the Labor state government announced it was investing millions of dollars in the world’s biggest virtual power plant, a people’s power plant, in conjunction with battery giant Tesla that will help shore up supplies.

Power to the people In a first for South Australia and the nation, tens of thousands of homes will be offered solar and storage with no up-front costs. Key facts of the virtual power plant: • Solar panels will be installed on 50,000 homes in SA along with a Telsa Powerwall 2 and smart meter • In all 250 MW of solar panels and battery storage will provide 250 MWp over two and a half hours. • The project attracts a $2 million grant from the SA government and a $30 million dollar loan • Total project cost of $800 million largely met by private investors

• Participants power bills will be reduced by around 30 per cent. (They pay no upfront fee.) • Systems are estimated to cost in the region of $16,000 per household • Tesla will be responsible for the installation of all the Powerwalls: 11,000+ units on average per year over the next 4.5 years. • Stage one: A trial in 1100 Housing Trust homes • Stage two: During 2019, installations in private homes • End plan: 50,000+ homes by 2022/2023. It’s also a smart plan designed to combat rising power prices. Ronald Brakels of SolarQuotes has drawn the conclusion that it is “Virtually Brilliant”. “By increasing the amount of competition in the electricity market the virtual generator should bring down grid electricity prices for everyone, even if they aren’t involved in the scheme”, he said. “Provided there are no disasters, this could lead to the development of large virtual power stations elsewhere in the country and potentially overseas. “One reason why South Australia has high electricity prices is the lack of competition in the state [but now] the SA government is introducing a new competitor in the electricity market that can provide dispatchable power almost instantaneously.“ Brakels is unsure whether a 5 kW system could charge a Powerwall 2 during the cooler months of the year in Adelaide, and provides the following assessment: In June in Adelaide, 5 kW of north facing panels

Solar & Storage 19

Solar Reserve’s Senior Vice President of Development Tom Georgis (left) at the opening of the new Adelaide office, with SA Premier Jay Weatherill also marking the occasion will only produce an average of 11.5 kWh a day. This isn’t enough to fully

Labor pledged an Australian-first renewable energy storage target and

charge a Powerwall 2 that can store 13.5 kWh when new. Unfortunately, it

a $20 million boost to the Renewable Technology Fund if returned to

will require more than 13.5 kWh to charge it due to losses, Brakels said. It

government. “We’re sending, really, a market signal to the world to come

may take 18 kWh to fully charge a new Powerwall 2.

to South Australia,” Premier Jay Weatherill said.

A typical household with 5 kW of solar panels will self-consume an

“I think South Australians are proud of our leadership in renewable

average of around 5 kWh of solar electricity a day. So in June it may take

energy. They can see that we’re a world-leader, they don’t want us to stop

an average of almost three days to fully charge a Powerwall 2 with solar

(and) they want us to continue to set ambitious targets … the renewable

electricity. However, it could be charged using grid electricity if solar output

energy storage target sends a message to the global market and provides

isn’t sufficient.

an incentive for companies to invest.”

Smart Energy Council chief executive John Grimes commended the

And in yet another significant initiative, a re-elected Labor government

Weatherill government and suggested the program for a people’s virtual

in South Australia would provide households with interest free loans up to

power plant could set a precedence for other states and communities, in

$10,000 for solar and battery storage systems.

particular those prone to blackouts. “With the price of batteries continuing to fall, systems such as this become more economical over time. And costs would decline even more rapidly with economies of scale kicking in – mass orders and mass production,” he said. “Other battery and storage suppliers could be able to scale up

Weatherill described the South Australian state election as a referendum on renewable energy, posting on Facebook: “More renewable energy = cheaper power for all South Australians.”

Pumped hydro and storage The Weatherill government which declared the “future is renewable

production so that the door is opened for many more players, not just

energy storage” also announced plans for a 400 MW, 1150 MWh

one single player. The greater the diversity of suppliers the greater the

pumped hydro project in a disused quarry in the Adelaide foothills, and


$9 million in funding for another four new large-scale pumped hydro

“Grid independence gets closer by the day, and we will be closely

projects at reservoirs and disused mine sites near Whyalla, Port Augusta

watching the program as it unfolds in South Australia, but anticipate

and Port Germein. The plants would add an almost unfathomable

widespread support for this type of arrangement which should be a win for

750 MW of generation capacity, and 5,600 MWh of storage.

the state and a win for the people.” John Grimes has also welcomed a series of programs in the state that pave the way for even greater use of renewable energy, including the nation’s first ever storage target.

State storage smorgasbord

“Storage of renewable energy is the future and South Australia has entrenched itself as a hub for the development of large-scale storage projects,” Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said in a statement.

Not forgetting thermal storage! In late February Solar Reserve announced the opening of its new offices

If re-elected South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill pledged Australia’s

in Adelaide CBD that will house staff involved in the development of

first energy storage target, requiring 25 per cent of the state’s peak

Aurora, one of the world’s biggest solar thermal plants. The $650 million,

demand be met by stored renewable energy. That would account for

150 MW plant to be developed 30 kilometres north of Port Augusta will

750 MW of storage capacity in the state within seven years which is

deliver 4000 indirect and induced jobs and 650 construction jobs, and on

about a quarter of the average peak demand for electricity in South

completion generate 1100 MWh storage. The plant will supply the State


Government with all of its power needs over a 20-year contract, locking in

The news came on top of the renewable energy target that would be lifted from 50 per cent to 75 per cent by 2025. The new target would see South Australia seek to produce three quarters of its electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, pumped hydro or hydrogen.

20 AUTUMN 2018

low-cost power for schools, hospitals and trams. It will also boost supply to the wider market and in the process reduce household power bills. Maybe South Australia should be renamed the state of storage. A ceremony to mark Solar Reserve’s Adelaide office opening was attended by industry dignitaries and contenders for State Premier in





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the “referendum for renewables” who were photographed against the backdrop of the SolarReserve Crescent Dunes plant in Nevada. Senior Vice President of Development Tom Georgis was in Adelaide to announce the office opening.

What else could the state possibly produce? These pages dedicated to storage developments did not set out to be a précis of South Australia but that is what it’s looking like. This article was assembled prior to the mid-March SA election.

Sonnen sets sights on South Australia Another big name, German battery manufacturer Sonnen, has announced plans to build a battery production plant in Adelaide to bring “cheap, affordable, clean energy to South Australia”. Head of Australian operations is Chris Parratt who said South Australia was at the forefront of energy policy and renewable energy, and that “Sonnen is a company that is also in this space”. If all goes to plan the plant will be in operation by year’s end. “It realises our expectation that Australia will become the world’s number one market for energy storage systems,” Chris Parratt told the media. “This partnership not only underscores South Australia’s reputation as the centre for energy policy in Australia, but provides an opportunity for South Australian households to gain access to Sonnen technology at fair prices to dramatically reduce their energy costs.” Jobs are a big talking point in the state, and on that score Sonnen will deliver 300 installation jobs in Adelaide within six months of the plant’s opening and a further 190 jobs within five years.

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STORAGE round-up The good news keeps rolling in... AUSTRALIAN HOME BUILDER METRICON is turning solar and storage mainstream by joining forces with CSR Bradford to offer solar packages with their new builds to customers in NSW and Queensland. The Solar ChargePack includes a 5.4 kW rooftop solar power system and Tesla Powerwall 2 with a storage capacity of 13.5 kWh. Savings of $30,000 are estimated over a decade.

IN FEBRUARY REDFLOW’S FIRST THAI BATTERY STACKS made by its new Thailand facility arrived in Brisbane. The battery stack is the critical part of the Redflow ZBM2 zinc-bromine flow battery, which can sustain 10 kWh of energy storage capacity for the battery’s operating life. At Redflow’s Brisbane headquarters, the stacks will be installed on ZBM2 battery tank sets (without stacks) which were manufactured last year at the former factory in North America, then tested and supplied to customers.

SINCE DECEMBER 2017 THE WORLD’S LARGEST BATTERY, the 100 MW/129 MWh at the Hornsdale Wind Farm north

pumped hydro storage project in a disused quarry alongside company wind farm interests in Snowtown, South Australia.

STORAGE DEVELOPMENTS ON A GRAND SCALE are not confined to the south: Carnegie Clean Energy subsidiary Energy Made Clean and Lend Lease are building a $6.8 million 4.5 MW/2 MWh wind, solar and battery storage micro-grid in Kalbarri, WA, that will be the largest of its type in Western Australia.

LATE LAST YEAR MARKED THE START of the much talked about $160 million 60 MW Kennedy Energy Park project – the first utilityscale wind, solar and storage hybrid generator connected to the national electricity network. Developed through a 50/50 joint venture between Windlab and Eurus Energy the plant comprises 43.2 MW wind, 15 MW solar and 2 MW lithium Ion battery storage. The site which is about 300 kilometres inland from Townsville will take around 12 months to construct and start feeding clean energy into the network later this year. STILL IN NORTH QUEENSLAND and let’s not forget the rebirth of ex-gold mine Kidston into a $330 million solar energy and pumped hydro storage plant that is touted the first integrated solar and pumped hydro project in the world. The 270 MW solar PV array could provide pumped hydro energy storage capacity up to 2000 MWh.

of Jamestown is currently South Australia’s largest renewable generator. It provides network security services to the grid.

AND LATE FEBRUARY marked the opening of the Lakeland

SSE AUSTRALIA recently completed the construction of a 6 MW

10.8 MW solar and 1.4 MW/5.3 MWh storage plant in far north Queensland that Autarsys, the German battery storage developer, says will be the first grid-connected battery storage installation in the world to showcase five different market settings.

solar farm in Whyalla, which is stage one of an 18 MW battery-ready PV project.

WITH A GRANT OF $3 MILLION from the South Australian government, Carnegie Clean Energy is building a 2 MW/500 kWh solar and battery storage project at the old Holden plant north of Adelaide due for completion late this year.

TILT RENEWABLES is spending $500 million integrating a 44 MW solar farm and 21 MW/26 MWh battery storage plant with a 300 MW

24 AUTUMN 2018


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STORAGE round-up

Positive scorecard THE CLIMATE COUNCIL devoted its most recent report to the battery boom that is “keeping Australia’s grid fully charged”. The Fully Charged: Renewables and Storage Powering Australia report illustrates why Australia is on the cusp of a reliable renewable energy future. The report states Australia’s love affair with clean energy and battery storage is only just beginning, with the nation on the verge of an energy storage boom as the cost of lithium-ion batteries rapidly drops. “Australia’s renewables and battery storage boom will keep the nation’s power grid fully charged, especially during extreme weather events, such as summer heatwaves,” said Climate Councillor Professor Andrew Stock. “We live in one of the sunniest and windiest countries in the world, so pairing affordable renewables with energy storage like batteries, pumped hydro and heat storage just makes economic sense.” Clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy and storage technology now accounts for 16 per cent of Australia’s total electricity supply and dozens more projects under construction or in the pipeline.

Key report findings include: • The cost of lithium-ion batteries has fallen by 80% since 2010. Costs are expected to halve again by 2025 (less than seven years). • 6,750 new household batteries were installed in 2016. The market is predicted to have tripled in size in 2017, with over 20,000 new installations. • 74% of people polled from across Australia expect household batteries to be commonplace in homes in the next decade. • Batteries, solar thermal and pumped hydro technologies are more flexible and can respond faster to changes in supply and demand than traditional coal and gas plants, and can therefore enhance the reliability of Australia’s grid. • Victoria, Queensland and the NT are investing in grid scale battery storage technology.

• F ederal, Queensland and Tasmanian governments are also considering developing pumped hydro projects. • P umped hydro powered by renewables is the cheapest form of large-scale energy storage. However, the Climate Council has significant concerns about the Federal Government’s Snowy 2.0 mega-project, as the project is not accompanied by new investment in renewables. • T he Australian electricity grid and old fossil fuelled power stations are increasingly vulnerable to worsening extreme weather events, particularly as these power stations age. • M  ore than 50% of Australia’s coal fleet will be over 40 years old by 2030. • R  enewable energy now represents 16% of Australia’s electricity generation. • A  ustralia could reach 50% renewables by 2030 without significant new energy storage. • A  ustralia must reach zero carbon pollution well before 2050 to effectively tackle climate change. Climate Councillor Greg Bourne said “Clean energy storage is gaining momentum across the nation, from the world’s most powerful battery, solar thermal storage and virtual power plants in South Australia to plans for grid scale batteries in Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory too. “[But] the lack of ambition in the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) places the renewables and storage boom at risk of grinding to a halt, while failing to adequately cut rising pollution levels and tackle climate change. “The transition to renewable energy and storage is inevitable and is happening now. The only thing putting this at risk is the Federal Government’s lack of credible climate and energy policy. “The strongest test of good climate and energy policy is whether it cuts Australia’s rising pollution levels and tackles intensifying climate change, through supporting the rollout of renewable energy and storage technologies, along with the retirement of ageing, polluting and inefficient coal fired power stations.”

Thumbs up A South Australian energy poll shows a majority of South Australians think the rest of the country should join the state in switching to renewable energy and storage. The ReachTEL poll, commissioned by the Climate Council, examined South Australian attitudes towards having the highest proportion of wind and solar electricity in the country. A clear majority of respondents – 62.2 per cent – said Australia should switch to solar and wind, plus storage, as the main source of energy within the next 10 years.

26 AUTUMN 2018


STORAGE round-up

Keeping up with the times Some select quotes “South Australia is leading the world in renewable energy technologies, with the world’s biggest battery at Jamestown, world’s biggest solar thermal plant at Port Augusta and world’s biggest Virtual Power Plant.” Premier Jay Weatherill sending a signal to renewable energy leaders that their investment is welcome in South Australia.

Referring to Australia’s electricity grid leaping from analogue to digital, Giles Parkinson of RenewEconomy states: “Battery storage leaves fossil fuels and regulators in a state of inertia”.

“Energy storage is the key to unlocking a clean, reliable and affordable energy future for Australia. And it’s available now.” Louis Brailsford, energy advisor, Climate Council

“The transition to renewable energy and storage is inevitable and is happening now. The only thing putting this at risk is the Federal Government’s lack of credible climate and energy policy.“ Climate Councillor Greg Bourne

“[Just one] year ago solar developers said they would be including storage in all of their proposals within a few years. At the time it seemed

overly optimistic, but … solar-plus-storage may soon become standard. In the next two years it may become impossible to keep these lovebird technologies apart, and I doubt investors will want to. [And] Asked what would be keynote presentation at Energy Storage Summit 2022 nearly 70 per cent said ‘The grid of today – a look back on how energy storage has fundamentally transformed the power grid’.” ‘The Next Five Years in Energy Storage’ according to 500 Energy Professionals who expressed broad optimism on the potential for storage to disrupt the grid.

“The growth rate of the marketplace has surprised me. A few years ago, a 10 MW project was huge. Now we’re seeing utilities wanting 30 MW, 50 MW, 100 MW projects just a couple of years later. The business of energy storage is growing surprisingly fast as battery systems get cheaper and utilities and other businesses find new ways to use them There’s nothing that we think will worry the dominance of lithium within the next two or three years. The challenge of any competing technology is to achieve similar performance metrics at a better price. EVs are really what’s given stationary storage the opportunity to grow. They’ve driven the scale of manufacturing to enable us to lower our costs.” Andrew Oliver, chief technology officer for Renewable Energy Systems Americas

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Dirty little secrets of the solar lead generation industry Finn Peacock who nine years ago founded the popular website SolarQuotes will be one of many star attractions at this year’s Smart Energy Conference. Here he provides some tantalising hooks to get you along to learn more about the hot topic of the lead generation industry.

RUNNING A SOLAR INSTALLATION business is bloody hard work. Cash-flowing thousands, if not millions of dollars of hardware. Installing on roofs in all weathers. Ensuring everything meets Australian standards and the CEC guidelines. Then supporting the whole lot for decades. The icing on the cake is when a panel or inverter manufacturer goes broke leaving you to carry any warranty costs. Imagine you owned a solar business whose only product is information entered to an online form. You would never have to so much as touch a solar panel. Hell, you’d never have to leave your air-conditioned office if you didn’t want to. It’s a tempting thought, so lots of people have a go. No wonder there are so many people calling you up offering ‘solar leads’. You see getting solar leads is easy... that is, if you don’t care about the quality of those leads, or the ethics of how you get them. In my talk at the Smart Energy Conference, I’ll be revealing how some lead generation companies: • S imply order leads for $10 and sell them for $100 • R  ent email lists and send hundreds of thousands of unwanted emails offering “Three quotes for solar” • G  et leads on Google for $15 with misleading ads • G  et leads on Facebook for $15 with ‘bait and switch’ • B  uy old government websites and flip them to lead generation • H  ire an overseas call centre and give them misleading scripts to harvest cheap leads • P romise the consumer three quotes, then get them two ‘competing’ quotes from the same company • Refer customers to anyone who’ll pay them - even scammers who collect deposits and then go in to administration, or

• F orce solar installation companies to pay them a monthly fee to remove fake One Star reviews If you want to avoid lead generators that engage such tactics I’ll provide a blueprint for testing and screening them before handing over a dollar of your hard earned profits. I’ll also give a brief history of the solar lead generation business in Australia, so you can see how many companies have had a go. Some have stayed, but most have packed up and left or simply shut down. You’ll learn: • Who the original solar lead generation site in Australia is (it wasn’t mine!). • The Dutch company that bought months before I bought because they thought Google preferred hyphens. • The story of the English company that came over and declared they would shut us ‘dumb Aussies’ down but went back to Blighty with their tails between their legs. • How Telstra tried to buy its way into the Solar Lead Generation industry for at least $15 million, then shut the whole shebang down two years later when they couldn’t make it work, and • How Google nearly sent me broke, and how I clawed my way back to be the highest ranking solar website in Australia. And to top it all off I’ll show you how to generate your own leads that are educated about solar, understand what realistic pricing is, are ready to buy and want to talk to someone about their options. I’ll also give you a cheat sheet for converting good leads, wherever you get them from, into happy customers. These are things I’ve learned from almost 10 years in the solar lead generation game, providing quotes to more than 1-in-30 homes in Australia. Learn from my mistakes and make sure you get the best bang for your buck when marketing your solar company. Since 2009, SolarQuotes has helped 340,889 people get quality solar quotes across 2,657 postcodes in Australia, and has published 27,010 uncensored reviews of 1,602 solar installation companies.

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bang for your buck when

marketing your solar company.” 30 AUTUMN 2018



Developing better commercial inverter solutions through innovation In this article Lior Handelsman of SolarEdge compares central inverters with string inverters.

THE INVERTER MARKET for commercial PV systems

they provide multiple MPPTs and higher-resolution

significant role that inverters play in PV systems. While

monitoring than central inverters.

they may only account for ~10 per cent of the system

Australians continue to use string inverters. However,

cost (inverter, electrical balance of systems, labour),

multiple string inverters do introduce complexity into a

manage 100 per cent of system production, and

PV system, especially in terms of installation.

by enabling PV asset management. Currently, only two main types of commercial

connections with string inverters. This also means there are multiple inverters that need to be configured

inverters. Both offer different benefits, however

and commissioned. Together, this can mean a time

they also have drawbacks. Through technological

consuming and costly installation.

the benefits of both, while also overcoming these

Industry innovation

standard drawbacks.

The PV industry needs innovative technology that can

In many countries, central inverters served as

overcome the setbacks of each inverter architecture

the standard for large commercial PV systems. The

type, while offering the combined benefits of both.

fundamental reason for this trend was due to their

New larger string inverters offer this.

economy of scale which allows lower cost per watt for

These larger string inverters, between 55k and 100k,

large inverters, thereby decreasing the upfront cost of a

combine the best of both worlds. They are light enough

commercial PV system.

to be installed by only two people and like traditional

However, this might not have been the trend in

string inverters, no special equipment is required since

Australia, as O&M considerations meant that the region

they can be easily mounted on the wall, meaning no

leaned towards string inverters. As the global industry

ground space is wasted.

matured, it also moved away from central inverters. A main reason for this divergence is due to the costs that are incurred from the sheer heaviness and bulk of central inverters. And their hefty size requires a large footprint of land or roof space. Other reasons for the transition away from central inverters has been due to concerns with decreased

In addition to faster installation times, these larger string inverters can come pre-wired and their increased power rating means less AC connections. This pre-wiring and minimised configuration, can significantly save time in the field during installation. Since these larger string inverters still maintain the benefits of standard string inverters, they work

system uptime and complex O&M.

independently from one another. This means that

System transition

that serviceability and maintenance are simplified. Just

When there is a malfunction to a central inverter, it results in significant downtime for the entire system, and a specialised and costly maintenance team is required to carry out the necessary maintenance or repairs. These disadvantages have prompted the transition

help move the

For instance, instead of one AC connection as with central inverters, there are numerous AC

inverters are available – central inverters and string

innovation, solutions can be developed that combine

solutions can

This is why as systems increase in megawatt size,

cost, they actually influence ~30 per cent of system

control operations and maintenance (O&M) expenses

“New inverter

An additional benefit of string inverters is that

continues to evolve rapidly. This is due in part to the

from central inverters to the deployment of string inverters in commercial systems. String inverters overcome many of the disadvantages that are inherent in central inverters. For instance, string inverters, being easier to carry

downtime is limited to the affected hardware and as important, the cost per watt of these larger string inverters is competitive. Just as new innovations, like module-level power electronics, helped the solar industry overcome traditional drawbacks in PV systems, such as energy limitations, lack of design flexibility, opaque monitoring, and safety concerns, new inverter solutions can help move the commercial PV sector forward. In the coming years, these types of innovations will be crucial in making commercial PV more accessible around the world.

commercial PV

and install, offer ease of O&M and installation, simple

Lior Handelsman founded SolarEdge in 2006 and

sector forward.�

replacement (requiring less employees on site), higher

currently serves as Vice President, Marketing and

system uptime, and less land use.

Product Strategy.

Opinions expressed on this page are not necessarily those of the Smart Energy Council

32 AUTUMN 2018




REMINDER: Smart Energy on Show 2018 The Solar and Storage industries’ leading Conference and Exhibition and Australia’s peak industry event for solar, energy storage and smart energy management. Brought to you by the Smart Energy Council – Its 56th Annual Exhibition and Conference. THE YEAR 2018: one of exponential growth for the solar industry,


ENTR Y to conf the eren ce exhi bitio & n

with 3 GW of large and small scale PV tipped for installation. This year’s Show is the one you have to attend to hear more from developers and see what exhibitors have on offer, along with product launches and the latest services.

DON’T MISS: Three conference streams: Smart Energy Solutions - Applied Energy Storage - Professional Development Installer (CPD points) and • 100+ exhibitors – see the latest technologies and innovations from leading brands, learn about new and improved technology at product launches • 90+ guest speakers – hear from leading market experts and key industry decision makers • 6000+ delegates expected over the two days • Networking sessions – expand your network, gain new clients and in a first The Energy Revolution Pavilion – Showcasing products and companies and informing the community “how to rip up power bills”.

“We deal with industry on a daily basis so know it well, and in 2018 we have assembled the top thinkers and decision makers to bring you the most up-to-date intelligence and an assessment of the industry’s potential during this period of exceptional growth. All key manufacturers and suppliers will be there showcasing their products and services. Come along and be part of the energy revolution.” Smart Energy Council chief executive John Grimes For sales contact or call 0402 181 250 FREE Registration and more details:

Meet the team of international high-tech company AlphaESS at this year’s Smart Energy Expo in Sydney. Alpha’s smart systems provide an all-in-one solution, which includes a smart Energy Management System controller with touch screen to collect all data from the multi-functional hybrid inverter. Established just six years ago, AlphaESS has spread its business throughout Europe, Asia Pacific, China and many other countries.

Solar & Storage 33



Energy Power Systems Australia: Facilitating transition STORAGE AND THE EMERGENCE OF BATTERY STORAGE OPTIONS in largescale grid, microgrid, battery and individual solar generation systems is providing “a whole new world of opportunities”. That is the assessment of Energy Power Systems Australia in its paper How energy storage and microgrid technology are innovating Australia’s tumultuous energy sector. Few would disagree, the industry is becoming increasingly prominent as the energy market undergoes a fundamental transition. EPSA Managing Director Phil Canning says the greater reliance on renewable energies within the electricity generation sector highlights the “clear potential” for energy storage to support two critical elements in the system: security and reliability. Storage becomes even more vital once the variable renewable energy component of electricity production rises above 50 per cent, such as that seen in South Australia. Appointed the Australian distributor of Caterpillar’s hybrid microgrid systems, EPSA is playing an integral role supplying systems that incorporate

renewable resources and combine with traditional power generation, providing hybrid power generation outcomes to utilities and network operators, commercial clients, large industrial sites, remote communities, project developers and government entities. And across Australia an increasingly number of microgrids are fulfilling an important and smart energy supply solution in remote communities on the fringe of the grid. They are also providing vital back-up supply during extremes in temperatures and the increasing number of unexpected weather events: events that place highly variable loads on grid systems. “With the declining cost of renewable energy sources and rapid advances in energy storage technology, the time is right to provide an integrated application for remote power,” says Rick Rathe, General Manager – New Ventures, Caterpillar® Electric Power. A bit more about EPSA: With more than 100 Cat® Dealer Partners for service and support across Australia, EPSA is the only fully-integrated

Across Australia Cat® generators are providing prime power, standby or emergency support in commercial and industrial operations provided by Energy Power Systems Australia, two of which can be seen in the following case studies.

Cat’s® first Australian solar plant In late October 2017 Cat’s® first Australian solar plant started successfully exporting green energy into the South Australian grid. Located in the Adelaide foothills, the plant’s 11,040 Cat® PV solar modules are mounted on fixed axis steel frames. The PV solar modules are arranged into 46 strings each feeding a dedicated 25 kW Caterpillar® inverter. The strings are then split into three separate arrays, with AC output from each collected to supply the EPSA-supplied HV transformer kiosk. The kiosk transforms the voltage to 11,000V AC for supply to the grid via the client-operated power station.

34 AUTUMN 2018

Control of the plant is achieved using the 4G wireless network to communicate between the power station and a Cat® Cluster Controller, which relays the information back and forth to each of the 46 inverters. A key feature of the solar plant control is the dynamic reactive power control – since this solar plant is exporting to the grid, the grid voltage is affected with higher export values. The plant can help stabilise the local grid voltage throughout the day by dynamically changing the output power factor to import or export 100 per cent of the plant’s output in reactive power in a trade-off for active power.



service provider of hybrid systems in Australia, and exclusive Australian distributor of the Cat® Hybrid Microgrid System from 10 kW–100 MW. EPSA offers purpose-built products, project services, finance and warranty all backed by the global power of Caterpillar.

EPSA is a platinum sponsor at this year’s Smart Energy Conference & Exhibition. 1800 800 441 Caterpillar® is spearheading the integration of renewable power with smart energy storage and conventional diesel or gas-fuelled power generation through its Cat® Hybrid Microgrid System that is described as delivering a fully customisable and scalable hybrid power system to meet power needs of today and for future expansions. Cat® Microgrid technology is an innovative suite of power systems that adds environmentally-friendly solar panels, state-of-the-art energy storage, and advanced monitoring and control systems to Caterpillar’s® traditional line of reliable power generation equipment, including Cat® generator sets, switchgear, uninterruptible power supplies and automatic transfer switches. Cat® Hybrid Microgrid System uses thin-film solar, advanced monitoring and control systems, Caterpillar® diesel and natural gas generators, and energy storage devices such as ultracapacitators and lithium-ion batteries.

Converting sunshine and waste into energy In early 2017, EPSA provided a turnkey solution – engineering, design, construction and commissioning – at the 1.15 MW PV solar plant for Northern Adelaide Waste Management Authority that in an industry first combines solar and methane gas in an energy production farm. The plant channels thermal energy from 11,000 solar PV panels and methane gas from decomposed garbage through a shared turbine

interconnector. A generator converts the energy sources into electricity which is then fed into the grid. Compared to a traditional coal-fired power station generating the same amount of electricity, the NAWMA renewable energy facility will save approximately 24 million litres of water each year and prevent 63,500 tonnes of carbon (CO2-e) from being emitted into the atmosphere.

Solar & Storage 35



The Green Deal app Green Deal is a subsidiary of One Stop Warehouse which is exhibiting at this year’s Smart Energy Expo. This is what the company had to say.

GREEN DEAL has launched the revamped version of its mobile app in a bid

help cash flow. One Stop Warehouse has also introduced the STC rebate

to create a more rapid and automated service, with basic CRM and Place

program if STCs are offset against the stocks that are buying through

Order functionalities in the Retailer Portal included to simplify customers’


management and job ordering. The original app, which was developed

Jeff Yu says that this feature is just one of the many ways Green Deal is

and tested over 12 months inside the organisation, was launched at the

raising the bar of industry body standards, making life simpler for installers

2017 Solar and Storage conference.

and solar businesses, and that “Solar power has skyrocketed in Australia,

Green Deal is designed by experts in the solar industry for the solar industry. Its goal is to simplify solar businesses by integrating popular

and we are always working hard to make solar business easy and simple.” A feature unique to Green Deal is the ability to completely customise

third-party services in one place, avoiding multiple systems, by covering all

the CEC checklist; this is believed to be the first platform that has such a

features from the start of installation such as lead to job completion.

feature to help the solar retailer ensure the quality of the solar installation.

Current supported modules are: Job Management, Job Scheduling,

The CEC checklist cannot be one size fits all, so it enables retailers to design

CEC Installer checklist, STC Trading, CEC Installation Report, Customers

their own one, ensuring all installers are completing their jobs efficiently

management, Service jobs management (ticket system). In the pipeline are

and to their own standard.

Xero integration, Pipedrive integration, Nearmap integration and others.

“This feature gives retailers the power to make sure the installation

Platform creator Jeff Yu said “Green Deal is an all-in-one platform for

quality is set to their own personal style and standard, and will provide

solar industry, but we are always trying to integrate with popular services

a unified standard among all the installer within the one retailers, easily

before we build the similar functionalities, also whenever we do, we always

following the personal checklist to standard,” says Jeff Yu.

try to make functionalities flexible but straightforward.”

Speedier STC payments

With the release of the newest feature Installation Reports, installers can access the latest CEC installation data from portal, to keep up to date on the solar market.

One of the features of the STC trading functionality is that it collaborates

The Green Deal app is available for both Apple and Android phones,

with One Stop Warehouse Finance STC agents and provides a quick turn-

and is a key tool in using the Green Deal platform. The platform is evolving

around STC payment. Without having to wait for two to three weeks

every day, therefore feedback on the website is

from REC registry approval, the company says they will credit/pay the

welcome. Features are regularly updated as industry standards change and

customers as soon as the STCs are qualified at the best possible rate to

a dedicated IT team provides continual support.

36 AUTUMN 2018



AC Solar Warehouse Grant Behrendorff from AC Solar Warehouse presents five key recommendations to installers to ward off budget blowouts, equipment shortages and project delays.

SAY HELLO The crew from AC Solar Warehouse will be on stand 69 at the Smart Energy Expo on April 10 and 11 at the new International Convention Centre Sydney. Drop by and ask how we can assist your business sail through more projects with the right equipment in the right place when you need it.

The AC Solar Warehouse team

AC SOLAR WAREHOUSE has been a leading wholesaler of safe solar technologies, including microinverters and DC Optimised systems, since 2012. During this time, the industry has been through many ups and downs and the AC Solar team has thrived on helping installers make the most of the latest solar technologies in both the busy and the quiet times. The recent surge in activity in the solar industry in Australia has translated into shortages of key components including at various times solar modules, inverters and even racking. So it’s more critical than ever for solar installers to have secure supply chains in place. We’ve noticed that some installers seem to fly through projects, and others are forever chasing equipment and having to explain delays and cost overruns. Here are the top 5 recommendations from the AC Solar team to avoid budget blowouts, equipment shortages and project delays.

the inevitable courier that goes AWOL right at

1. Be the early bird

requirements so they can include your volumes in

Make ordering the equipment for your installations the first thing you do once the contract of sale is signed. Good wholesalers will take your order and put the stock aside for you until it’s required. This is the best way of ensuring the equipment will be available when you need it. If there is a supply problem, it will also give you the maximum time to consider alternatives or renegotiate timeframes with your customer.

their overall plans.

2. Know when to hold ’em For some critical pieces of equipment, it may be worth holding some stock locally to protect against

the most important time for your project. Your wholesaler can provide some recommendations as to what items are more likely to be in short supply than others, and thus which ones may be worth holding in stock. You may even be able to negotiate extended terms with your wholesaler so that holding stock doesn’t negatively impact your cash flow.

3. Stay close to your wholesaler Wholesalers are the first to know about looming stock shortages. They are also the first to hear about manufacturers’ promotions, discounts and stock runouts that can save valuable dollars. Build a strong relationship with your wholesaler so that you can rely on their support when you need something in a hurry. Consider giving your wholesaler a quarterly forecast of your likely equipment

4. Out of sight is out of mind With so many stock deliveries arriving it’s easy to sign for a delivery and put it to one side for checking at a later date. Often, it’s not until you are leaving for a job or sometimes even when you arrive on site that the equipment is unpacked and thoroughly checked. Of course, if a problem like a damaged or missing item is identified at this point in time it risks holding up the entire installation. So don’t put your incoming shipments out of sight and out of mind – check them immediately and report any problems or discrepancies to the supplier immediately.

5. Know thy enemy Freight companies can be your best friend or your worst enemy. We suggest that you try to use the same company as often as possible, and get to know the delivery drivers on a first name basis. This way they will become familiar with your business locations, hours, and unloading requirements and they are more likely to go the extra mile for you when you need them to leave a shipment with your neighbour, call in advance of delivering, or change a delivery location on short notice. Learn from these five simple lessons and integrate them into your business today for smoother installations and happier customers.

Solar & Storage 37



Huawei FusionSolar technology in action As explained in some detail by July Chenjie He who has a depth of understanding and knowledge. AUSTRALIA HAS INSTALLED approximately 1 GW of rooftop solar power in 2017. According to SunWiz Consultancy, statistical analysis has shown that a record quantity of rooftop solar technology has been fitted on commercial and industrial facilities in Australia, with 285 MW installed from January to November, which surpasses the previous record of 228 MW in 2016. Facing this large increase, project owners are more concerned not only with the high-power generation, but also with the safety and reliability of PV plants. The core of the solar power generation systems are photovoltaic inverters; therefore, the safety and reliability of these inverters determines the safety and reliability of the PV plant, especially the rooftop PV system.

Safety and reliability

Huawei has 30 years’ experience in advanced telecom technology, especially in natural cooling from the RRU (Remote Radio Unit). Based on this experience, Huawei developed string inverters to remove the need for external fans, which reduces the energy self-consumption and increases the environmental adaptability. The inverters are equipped with a fully-sealed design which ensures IP65 protection. This high-level of protection makes Huawei string inverters versatile for all hostile outdoor environments and conditions, such as high temperature, high humidity, as well as sand, salt and mist protection. The advanced natural cooling design enables Zero Touch maintenance, thereby guarantees human and property safety. In addition, noise is reduced, reliability is improved, maintenance is simplified, and economic cost is lowered. Huawei patented natural cooling technology does not enhance power deration of inverters. Huawei inverters for the

DC fuses are widely used in conventional string inverters. A 1 MW PV plant, as an example, there are more than 320 units of DC fuses inside the system. If fuses can’t be burnt immediately when a short circuit occurs, large volumes of heat is generated in the DC cables and fuses, which could potentially trigger a fire. Moreover, every 6-month period, onsite engineers should inspect the fuses inside the conventional inverters of the entire PV system, and replace the failed fuses. This requires extra workload to do the routine inspection and replacement, which may also result in a large increase of O&M (Operation and Maintenance) expenses. Huawei string inverters have multiple MPPTs (Maximum Power Point Trackers) and use the ration of 2 PV strings into 1 MPPT. The reverse current can therefore be reduced below 10A, which then does not require a fuse inside the inverter or at the external DC Box. This “no fuse” design highly reduces the fire risk, along with lower CAPEX saving from no fuse or fuse replacements, decreasing workloads and O&M costs as well as easy maintenance for their 25-year lifespan.

Australian market are all rated at ambient temperature 50°C when with no

Haining, Zhejiang, China – the largest rooftop-mounted 300 MW smart PV plant worldwide. This project, commissioned in January 2014, is using Huawei FusionSolar Smart PV Solution and FusionSolar Cloud Management System

Madison Wisconsin, USA – a 660 kW smart PV project commissioned in April, 2016. It’s on the roof of a cargo warehouse with short DC path and few DC nodes, effectively reducing fire risks caused by DC arcing

38 AUTUMN 2018

derating. Consequently, Huawei Smart PV Solution takes “making PV plants simpler” as the core concept. A complicated system, especially one with vulnerable parts, such as fuses and external fans, may cause a high OPEX and safety hazard. In order to achieve this goal, all the Huawei string inverters are subjected to over 1400 rigorous tests by Huawei GCTC (Global Compliance & Testing Centre). All Huawei inverters must pass stringent quality tests conducted by Huawei GCTC to ensure the technology can survive in all harsh environments. As documented and certified by TÜV, Huawei string inverters have achieved results up to 99.96% uptime on the 590 MW Golmud gridded PV plant. Huawei GCTC is a comprehensive laboratory that integrates EMC, RF, telecom, safety and reliable environment, recognised by international authorities and regulators, including CEC, CE, IEC, FCC, TÜV, VCCI, UL and ITS CETECOM. GCTC offers services of testing, compliance, and



design consultations to Huawei products in accordance with the ISO/

the energy yields and benefits of PV plants. Locating PV string faults

IEC17025. In addition to traditional testing equipment, the Huawei GCTC

accurately and promptly is a significant problem for PV plant owners.

also has the combined stress testing equipment and testing methods for

However, conventional PV module inspection methods are both time and

temperature, humidity, corrosive dust, high temperature raining, solar

labour intensive, driving up costs.

radiation and lightening attraction. This has improved the adaptation

To overcome the problems associated with the conventional inspection

of Huawei products dramatically. Huawei string inverters (SUN2000-

methods, Huawei has developed a Smart I-V Curve Diagnosis with

2/3/4/4.6/5/8/12/17/20/33/36/42/55KTL) are all listed on Australian Clean

Huanghe Hydropower. This technology allows the inverter to export I-V

Energy Council approval list for local certification. Besides the key models

curves, deploys algorithms on the management system and analyses data.

for large-scale PV plant application (SUN2000-36/42/55KTL) are compliant

It also identifies modes to scan all PV strings of a PV plant and identify

with Australian National Electricity Rules.

hidden PV module faults. The 1 MW PV system scanning, data analysis and

Higher yields

instant report generation take only 10 minutes with a one-click remote

Besides being safe and reliable, Huawei string inverters are up to 98.8%


efficient and multi-MPPTs has proven to provide higher yields. Multiple MPPT trackers realize real time with 0.5% accurate detection and effectively reduces the impact and influence triggered by shadowing and string mismatch, together with natural cooling design, which can dramatically reduce the self-consumption and improve yields for rooftop PV systems.

Smart I-V curve diagnosis A global investigation by TĂœV into PV plants with an output totaling of

operation, which is 50% higher O&M efficiency process than conventional The online I-V curve detection function enables the features and health status of PV strings of large-scale PV plants to be inspected. This facilitates O&M by detecting and processing low-efficiency PV strings, improving energy yields, and further preventing faults from propagating. Huawei FusionSolar Smart PV Solution is to take the whole PV system as an entity and ensure improvement throughout the whole process, from the PV system construction to maintenance. It can optimise initial investment, reduce maintenance costs, and increase power generation.

12 GW has indicated that 30% of the plants have severe defects, among

This article was written by July Chenjie He, Branding Manager, Huawei

which 50% were from PV module faults. PV module faults directly affects

FusionSolar Smart PV Solution Department.


Jinko sells, Jinko cells … Founded in Shanghai in 2006, JinkoSolar is on a roll: the company has experienced significant growth in total shipments and market share, doubling market share in the past four years with annual shipments rising from 2 GW in 2013 to ≈10 GW in 2017. Here we look at several outstanding projects and achievements.

YEAR AFTER YEAR China surprises analysts by installing significantly more solar than predicted, last year alone the tally topped a whopping 52.83 GW, which was close to 50 per cent of the global market. JinkoSolar anticipates 2018 will be no different, demand from China will continue to grow. The company is positioned to cater for burgeoning local and global demand, and has evolved into the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer boasting more than 15,000 employees across its eight production facilities and 16 overseas subsidiaries. Now with an annual capacity of 7 GW for silicon ingots and wafers, 4.5 GW for solar cells, and 8 GW for solar modules, the company regularly breaks

Driving efficiencies This year JinkoSolar will be investing heavily in high efficiency production of its mono, half cell, mono PERC and bi-facial modules that will represent about 50 per cent of manufacturing capacity. “The higher efficiency modules cost a little more upfront but translate to a higher rate of return and lower levelised cost of electricity for projects, particularly given the higher labour costs in the Australian market,” the staffer said. “Research and development is important to our long-term sustained growth … we will continue our strong investment in R&D.” Here in Australia JinkoSolar has partnered with

world records for poly and mono cell efficiencies, a

leading universities UNSW, ANU and Monash along

company spokesperson told Solar & Storage.

with CSIRO to drive cutting-edge solar research.

Solar plants in action Utility scale solar plants powered by JinkoSolar panels can be seen across the globe. Among the highlights, the world’s largest PV Plant: the mighty Sweihan Project in Abu Dhabi which clocks in at an almost incomprehensible 1177 MW and, unsurprisingly, has captured global attention for its sheer scale. JinkoSolar is also the name behind the 110 MW solar farm that floats over a fishery at Poyang Lake. Located 400 kilometres southwest of Shangai Poyang Lake is China’s largest freshwater lake. Closer to home is the ACT’s 24 MW Royalla Solar Farm which at the time of opening in late 2014 was billed as the largest in Australia. JinkoSolar panels were also deployed at the 5 MW Chillamurra Solar Farm in Queensland and were selected for the 20 MW Kennedy Solar Farm currently under construction in north central Queensland. Eclipsing all the Australian projects is the 276 MW Bungala Solar Farm east of Port Augusta which is due for completion later this year. The project will see 860,000 solar panels installed in two phases on 2,000 acres of land owned by the Bungala Aboriginal Corporation and previously used as an ostrich farm, sheep and cattle station. “Solar is now at the stage where it is cheaper than coal, gas and nuclear. In many parts of the world new solar plants have a lower price than the ongoing maintenance costs of existing fossil fuel generators. This is an absolute game changer for the environment and the world economy”, Jinko Solar said. “As solar is modular it is helping bring clean and reliable electricity to communities that have never been connected to the grid before. This changes people’s lives.”

40 AUTUMN 2018


30 MW Project with Jinko Solar’s modules in China

JinkoSolar’s Positive Quality credentials JinkoSolar is a long-term participant in the Smart Energy Council’s Positive Quality program, saying “Recognition through the Positive Quality program assists us and our partners greatly. Having a peak Australian renewable energy body like the Smart Energy Council independently auditing our factories provides great comfort to our Australian partners on the quality of our manufacturing processes.”

“The solar industry is key to helping countries meet their sustainability and climate “The hydrogen trapping technology we are working on with UNSW has great potential to further drive down the cost of solar cells. With ANU we are working on driving the commercialisation of perovskite cells.

“We see this research as being key to driving further efficiencies in commercial solar applications and the engine for industry growth for many years to come.”

change targets. It is clean, cheap and can be deployed much faster than conventional sources of energy.”

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Fronius in action Austrian based Fronius which last year celebrated 25 years of operations believes that continued growth in the commercial sector is critical for accelerating toward 24 hours of sun due to the high-energy demand while the sun is shining.

THE YEAR 2017 was big for Fronius Australia as the

Sunrise Midi to Fronius Australia for display in their

project inverter combination of the Fronius Eco &

showroom. In its 16 years of continuous service the

Symo inverters gained popularity as an optimised

old system certainly paid for itself, and more, and it

solution in the growth of the commercial sector.

was still running.“

The power density, on-site serviceability, installation process, communication and monitoring options

Case study two: Gippsland Solar

are designed to put the power back into installers’

The Fronius Ohmpilot with primo 8.2 provides excess

hands, with the flexibility enabling them to become

energy for storage when it is more cost-effective.

the energy suppliers of today and handle the ever-

family of four to install a 10.88 kWp system with an


annual production of 13,578 kWh on their home in

Case study one: Fronius Sunrise Midi Building foundations

In 2000, a 1.35 kW PV system was roof-mounted

Elisabeth EngelbrechtsmüllerStrauß, granddaughter of company founder Gunter Fronius, recently visited Australia to mark the company’s 25th year in solar. She took the opportunity to cement the company’s vision, saying “Twenty four hours of sun means providing energy by renewable resources for 24 hours a day. It means that by providing energy on the basis of renewable resources we are helping to protect our earth, our environment and to reduce pollution dramatically. [The 24 hours sun vision] gives me a lot of motivation and it also gives the employees at Fronius a lot of motivation.” She commented that the Fronius Solar Business Unit will have a big future due to the amount of potential in the market, saying “There is still a lot of energy provided by coal or gas, which we can transform to renewables. “Australia has a lot of sun so it really makes sense to produce energy by photovoltaics. The country plays an important role for Fronius because the market is really growing.”

42 AUTUMN 2018

High year-round energy demands motivated a

increasing complexity of commercial installation

Victoria. As the home is occupied during the day the family has a high self-consumption rate of 65 per cent. “The customer was initially keen on solar with

on a Melbourne home with a self-consumption rate

batteries but was also keen to store energy into water

of 50 per cent. 18 x 75 W panels were mounted on

due to their heavy requirements for hot water. When

a north-facing roof and wired as a single string to a

we were initially discussing this system the Fronius

Fronius Sunrise Midi, just behind the gate.

Ohmpilot hadn’t been released yet so the customer

Still going strong after 18 years of non-stop service

wasn’t familiar with it but he was instantly impressed

– long after the warranty period and even outliving

and decided to have one installed,” explained Shane

production of the unit itself, which was discontinued

Claytone of Gippsland Solar.

in 2004 – the time had come for homeowner Lee Seldons to upgrade. “Back in 2000 our installer said the only real choice

“Their main driver was self-reliance from the grid without going off the grid. They decided not to go with a solar battery at this time as they wanted to see

for a quality, reliable inverter was Fronius so we had

how the system works first and monitor their storage

no hesitation opting for that. We also had to get a


new electricity meter, one that ran backwards when

“The size of system was based on winter loads as

we were feeding into the grid (so we only paid for

this is higher due to electric heating, etc, plus the

nett usage from the grid). It was great fun on a sunny

family still wanted to heat water without reducing

day to watch the meter zooming backwards. Because

solar performance. There was the obvious play-off

we could get a 7 kW system for about the same

with additional performance through summer, but the

price as the 1.35 kW installed in 2000, we decided

great data the customer has access to will help their

to replace the whole system in 2016 and donate the

decision for batteries moving forward.”

Homeowner Lee Seldons was the proud owner of the 16 year old Sunrise Midi which he donated to Fronius Australia to display in their showroom



The power of Sungrow and Samsung Late last year two manufacturing giants, Sungrow and Samsung, joined forces to introduce the PowCube4.8 hybrid inverter to Australia. The smart storage system was developed in response to the growing residential market.

TECH SPECS The PowCube4.8 energy storage system features a 5 kW hybrid inverter and 4.8 kWh battery with an intelligent energy management system to characterise and customise battery use scenario. The smart control enables remote system firmware updates through wi-fi or ethernet. The free standing or wall mountable PowCube4.8 is a hybrid AC/DC unit that comes in a modular design designed for flexibility and can be scaled up with from 4.8 kWh to 9.6 kWh or 14.4 kWh (three batteries). The battery is a new product designed and produced by SungrowSamsung SDI Energy Storage Power Supply Co. Ltd., a joint venture company of Sungrow and Samsung, using Samsung prismatic cells. Compatible with any singlephase solar grid-connected inverters, the PowCube 4.8 can also be retrofitted to an existing solar system to turn it into a solar energy storage system.

44 AUTUMN 2018

IN A NEAT LITTLE CASE STUDY Sungrow spelt out the typical dynamics of Australia’s energy market: • Solar installed in 2009 • FIT 60c/kWh • Zero electricity bill 2009–2016 • FIT ended in December 2016 • Paid $500 power bill in 2017 Q1 The equation presents a greater impetus for households to turn towards solar with storage as a means of combatting higher prices – and uncertainty over energy blackouts is amplifying interest in home energy generation and storage. The time was right, Sungrow decided, to launch its residential energy storage system the PowCube4.8 onto the Australian market and late last year did just that, along with partner Samsung in a new venture. Sungrow Samsung SDI is the joint venture that combines technological expertise to offer the renewable energy industry “a new set of advanced solutions and service expertise”. Company marketing officer Joyce talked about the successful launch of the PowCube in Australia with the authorised national network of distributors (which includes One Stop Warehouse, Supply Partners and Powerark Solar) already placing orders for the system and the shipment of several hundred units. Currently NSW, Victoria and Queensland are taking the lead in terms of sales, and sales records indicate the best seller is the 9.6 kWh system (incorporating two batteries). The company is well positioned, we are told, to meet the needs of the future market in which demand for energy storage solutions increases. Sungrow’s next phase is the new G2 crystal series inverter which was planned for release in March 2018, following the change in the logo to reflect the focus on renewable energy.

Forward planning “Our long-term plan is to continue to bring new advance inverters to the market and to become a major player in the solar and storage manufacturing industry in Australia,” Joyce said. “China and the US currently own the largest share in the solar PV market. However, we believe that the Australian market will continue to increase and become more important in the global market. “Over the past few years, solar installations in Australia have continued to break records [and] most states are currently running policies to support the growth of the renewables industry.

“So yes, we are very optimistic about the future here in Australia … there is no doubt that the market will continue to grow.” Based on market demand and expectations Sungrow recently moved to larger offices in North Sydney and is currently recruiting additional staff. Ph 1800 786 476

Scoping Sungrow Founded in China three years before the turn of the last century, Sungrow’s global PV inverter shipments hit 4.23 GW in 2014, creating a historical high point. The following year the company claimed top spot in global inverter shipments, and by mid 2017 more than 49 GW of inverter equipment had been installed globally, with the company claiming global market share of around 15 per cent. Sungrow’s energy storage division has successfully deployed over 1.3 GWh in more than 500 projects in several countries across the world. A branch office was opened in Australia in 2012 with a focus on the residential string inverter and residential energy storage system, commercial and utility application in PV inverter sales.



The Collinsville Solar Farm – a story of success Dan Hemsley and Simon Luhrs of specialist recruitment firm Red Appointments present an overview of the recruitment drive that underpins development of a largescale solar plant in a town with a strong history of coal mining.

IT’S AN EXCITING TIME in Australia right now as a massive push for renewable energy drives more and more new projects in every state. With pressure from government, the public as well as the private sector to reduce emissions by 2030, Australia is pushing forward with solar energy, wind farms, hydroelectric and geothermal energy. But who is actually building these renewable energy plants on the ground? Most of the time we focus on the government departments providing approval, the big energy companies making proposals and the engineering firms designing the future of each plant. There are however, Australian men and women on the ground that ultimately make it happen with their bare hands. A great example of this is the 43 MW Collinsville Solar Farm located three hours south of Townsville in North Queensland, an area blessed with 300 days of sunshine each year. With first construction starting in August 2017 and completion anticipated in mid 2018, the Collinsville plant is a shining example of Australia’s potential for renewable energy greatness. In late 2017, after cyclone Debbie devastated the Northern Queensland area, the Collinsville Solar Farm became more than just another project. Injecting jobs into the region, it would help to turn around the damaged region. After Nilsen was declared the successful electrical EPC, it turned to its recruitment and labour hire partner, Red Appointments, for a solution that involved local recruitment with a competitive cost structure.

Building the workforce Red Appointments is a specialist labour hire and recruitment provider for the renewable energy and electrical/mechanical sectors. Red partners with clients to help them build and retain a local skilled workforce that otherwise would stretch their resources. The time spent attracting, screening, selecting and on boarding employees (industry jargon for inducting, getting tickets, clearances and other processes involved in getting someone ‘on board’ with a company) can be the greatest challenge for contracting companies, particularly in regional areas where they don’t have a physical presence. In a partnering approach Red’s hands-on method means objectives and visions from energy companies and contractors are made a reality on the ground. In Collinsville, an employment incentive structure was used to stimulate high production and retention levels and also maintain costs within budget. Red did most of the work prior to soil being turned on site and remained involved as the farm heads into Phase 2 of construction with key performance indicators being exceeded. Red recruited more that 45 skilled and unskilled workers for the plant, including the site supervisor and project manager, but the bulk of the work involved labourers and electricians, along with forklift drivers, mechanics, crane operators and toolmakers. Five in ten workers are from the local region (including nearby Bowen) and 90 per cent from Queensland. For its part developer Ratch Australia has found that “the best project outcomes are delivered when as many local people and businesses are involved as possible … and the region is well known for the depth of industrial capabilities and skills [also] an understanding of how to deal with local climate conditions is a huge asset.” Work still continues with Queensland locals enjoying employment in the future of Australia’s renewable energy. For some, this means rebuilding a home or life after the ravages of Cyclone Debbie.

Ongoing task One of the keys to this success story is the partnership approach by all parties. All the KPIs for equal opportunity employment including a preset indigenous employment quota were met. Ultimately a true partnership means a four-way relationship between the EPC, the energy company, Red Appointments and the Australian men and women on the front line to see it through to a success.

46 AUTUMN 2018


The 43 MW Collinsville Solar Farm is touted “a great example of how people can drive the change from coal to solar with their bare hands” say Red Directors Simon Luhrs and Kerry Pimm. They were on site to see the project become a standout success, declaring the Collinsville Farm a good example of how well a project can be run and constructed.

For the people of Collinsville and regional Queensland, this has meant more jobs and more economic activity post Cyclone Debbie. It’s also a great example of how people can drive the change from coal to solar with their bare hands. Dan Hemsley is Business Lead for Red Appointments and can be reached on 0478 818 540 or at 08 7071 7353.

The Collinsville plant is being developed by Ratch Australia, a subsidiary of the Thai based company. The $100 million project which secured a $60 million commitment from the CEFC and $9.5 million in ARENA grant funding sits on brownfield land previously occupied by a 180 MW coal-fired power plant. The PV plant will consist of 180,000 panels and produce enough electricity each year to power up to 15,000 homes, with Alinta Energy purchasing electricity and Large-scale Generation Certificates through to the end of 2030. The project is designed to produce electricity for up to 30 years. Three more large-scale plants are being developed in the region: the 150 MW Daydream and 50 MW (AC) Hayman solar farms as well as the 70 MW (DC) Whitsunday Solar Farm.


AUSTRALIA’S LEADING SOLAR ENERGY SOLUTIONS PROVIDER Trina Solar is a world leader in solar modules, solutions and services. With high quality products and technological innovations, Trina Solar provides clean, affordable and reliable energy to homes, businesses and power plants around the world. The company has achieved more than 30GW of cumulative shipments worldwide and is ranked as one of the most bankable PV module manufacturers.

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Mercury rises MORE RECORD-BREAKING HEAT was experienced around the world in 2017, with the year joining 2014, 2015 and 2016 as the four hottest years ever recorded in the 138-year global temperature archive. The five years from 2013-2017 were the hottest period on record and the recent record heat is part of a long-term global warming trend that began most clearly in the mid-20th century and has continued unabated since then. In its report 2017: Another Record-Breaking Year For Heat And Extreme Weather the Climate Council listed key findings: • The 2013-2017 period has been the hottest five-year period ever recorded. • 2017 was the third hottest year ever recorded, and the hottest year in which temperatures have not been boosted by an El Niño event. • The world’s 10 hottest years on record have all occurred since 1998 and 17 of the 18 hottest years on record have occurred this century. • 2017 was Australia’s third hottest year on record. • Seven of the ten hottest years on record in Australia have happened since 2005. Five of the seven have occurred the past five years. • 2017 broke records for hot, dry conditions with more than 260 heat and low rainfall records broken throughout winter, and The increasing global heat, driven primarily by the burning of fossil fuels, exacerbated extreme weather events around the globe and in Australia in 2017. The many heat-related records of 2017 are yet another reminder that the task of dealing effectively with climate change is urgent, says the Climate Council. To meet the 2°C target, global greenhouse gas pollution must have peaked by 2020 and we need to reach net-zero emissions in about 25 years. However Australia’s emissions have been rising steadily since March 2015 and Australia holds the embarrassing title of being the fourth worst country out of 57 ranked nations on tackling climate change, only ahead of Iran, the Republic of Korea and Saudi Arabia.

“There is hope … Australia is a world leader in the uptake
of household solar with nearly 1.7 million systems installed, and industrial-scale solar systems are being rolled out at an increasing rate.”

But there is hope. States, territories, local councils and individuals are taking the lead. Australia is a world leader in the uptake
of household solar with nearly 1.7 million systems installed, and industrial-scale solar systems are being rolled out at an increasing rate. The solutions to the challenge are appearing rapidly and the pathway to a prosperous, carbon-neutral society is becoming clearer. The Climate Council says what we now need at the national level is leadership, a clear vision for tackling climate change, and coherent policies for getting the job done.

Impact on tourism In a separate report the Climate Council assessed the threat to Australia’s tourist icons including beaches, national parks and rainforests and concluded the most popular tourist destinations are in the firing line, with intensifying climate change posing a significant threat to the nation’s iconic natural wonders. The Climate Council report Icons at Risk: Climate Change Threatening Australian Tourism reveals Australia’s top five natural tourist attractions could be hit by extreme heatwaves, increasing temperatures, rising sealevels, coastal flooding and catastrophic coral bleaching. The key findings include: • Australia’s top five natural tourist attractions (beaches, wildlife, the Great Barrier Reef, wilderness and national parks) are the most vulnerable hotspots and unique native wildlife is also at risk as climate change accelerates. • Beaches are Australia’s #1 tourist destination and are threatened by

• The Red Centre could experience more than 100 days above 35ºC annually, by 2030. By 2090, there could be more than 160 days per year over 35ºC. • The Top End could see an increase in hot days (temperatures above 35ºC) from 11 (1981-2010 average) to 43 by 2030, and up to 265 by 2090. • Ski tourism: Declines of maximum snow depth and decreasing season length at Australian ski resorts have been reported for over 25 years, increasing the need for artificial snow-making. • Tourism is Australia’s second most valuable export earner, employing a workforce of more than 580,000 people, over 15 times more people than coal mining in Australia. For more information on this report and others visit

rising sea levels. • Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Cairns, Darwin, Fremantle and Adelaide

The Climate Council is an independent non-profit organisation funded

are projected to have at least a 100-fold increase in the frequency of

by donations by the public. Its mission is to provide authoritative, expert

coastal flooding events (with a 0.5m sea level rise).

advice to the Australian public on climate change.

48 AUTUMN 2018


Who would have thought home energy could look so cool? This image of the Redback smart hybrid system would look good gracing the pages of any lifestyle magazine. Better too, the technology offers uninterrupted power supply and backup power all in one. Smart energy is here to stay.



Enabling networks for Australia’s solar powered future In late 2016 the ARENA funded solar forecasting project was just a BIG idea. Back then Nick Engerer outlined the challenges of smallscale solar penetrations in distribution networks, and how he planned to build a team to tackle the issue using weather satellites and real-time monitoring of PV systems across Australia. The overarching goal was to enable distribution network service providers (DNSPs) to manage their networks more proactively by giving them some visibility over what solar generation was occurring in their networks. “This was no small task and we certainly had our work cut out for us!” says Nick who has come a long way in 18 months. Read on.

OVER THE PAST YEAR AND HALF, my project manager

the solar data services accessible to these networks,

Josh Madgwick of ANU Enterprise and I have

including real-time updates from the Himawari 8

travelled Australia visiting every DNSP, asking them

weather satellite, as explained by ANU Postdoctoral

to give us the data we required for our models.

Research Fellow Dr Jamie Bright.

In return we offered to help them with their solar integration challenges, using ANU’s best available resources.

Indonesian border. From its vantage, it constantly

That effort was a big one, but our hard work has paid off, we have been able to grow our collaboration from six DNSPs to 11 and there is potential to include all 15 in Australia. We have also been able to gain oversight of the project from the Australian Energy Market Operator and the peak body for electricity utilities, Energy Networks Australia, who are now both members of our project steering committee.

Solar data service Our team is doing its best to deliver a comprehensive solar data service for all of Australia in order to prepare us for the continued growth of solar – and now storage! – entering our electricity networks. With Australia expected to add more than 3 GW of solar this year, building on a total of 700 MW in 2016, followed by 1.3 GW in 2017, we’re experiencing an exponential growth curve (doubling each year at present), and though it is exciting for solar enthusiasts, it is challenging for DNSPs! To meet with this challenge, I have structured our ARENA powered research project in a unique way. No ordinary university effort was going to achieve our aims, we needed to develop and deploy an applied industry focused project that networked deeply with those DNSPs and really isolated the key issues at hand. As a result, we’ve focused considerable energy into rapidly testing the tools we are building and getting regular feedback from each DNSP about how we’re doing and where they’d like the tool to go next.

scans images of the Earth and transmits them back to the surface every ten minutes, including Australia. In our forecasting, we take the satellite image of Australia and identify where the clouds are and how thick they are. This allows us to make a first estimate of how much solar energy reaches the ground beneath just a few minutes ago. We then combine the images with information from weather models, which enables us to make a forecast of where they might travel over the next few minutes up to six hours out. With these tools, we can inform key stakeholders such as solar farms and the electricity utility operators what power they might expect across their systems and networks.”

Software development All our big ideas would lie in wait, lonely on our scientist laptops, unapplied without our software development team. In this part of our efforts, the algorithms and code are turned into real-world, support products that the DNSPs can depend on and test in their operations. Our technical efforts are a collaboration between ANU and Solcast, and are directed by lead software architect Darren Reid who says “As a software developer, the opportunity to contribute to something that positively affects the transition towards renewable energy is incredibly motivating. “I believe software has a big part to play in this transition and this project, through its partnership, is incredibly well positioned to maximise those efforts.” The passion and dedication our technical team


brings to the problem is evident in the quality of

Along the way, I’ve built quite an impressive team


of people (including our start-up company Solcast

the solar data services we are now providing to the Each of them now has access to live and rapid

which is part of the applied industry research

updating forecasts of total solar PV power outputs

strategy) who are actively contributing their talents

behind each of their zone substations, allowing them

to the vision of adding more solar to our networks.

to understand how much solar is being generated

We have experts in satellite based forecasting and

and determine the actual supply-demand balance

PV power output modelling building and improving

50 AUTUMN 2018

“The Himawari-8 satellite stays in orbit above the equator just north of the Papua New Guinean and

behind each electrical network asset.


They can also view estimates of actual PV production at each substation over the past seven days, through use of the observed cloud cover conditions from that time.

Technologies piloting greater solar energy The challenges of small-scale solar penetrations in our distribution networks are very real and are becoming more widespread with the continued adoption of solar energy technologies. But thanks to the incredible team deploying and applying the latest technologies in solar modelling and forecasting, we now have the tools required to orchestrate technologies such as energy storage, smart inverters or demand side management to offset the intermittency in solar energy technologies (when the sun goes down or when the clouds arrive!). And as our team looks forward towards that overarching goal of enabling DNSPs to proactively manage their networks, we hope to be widely collaborative with other hardware and technology companies across Australia to accomplish this aim. In this modern era of rapid technological achievements, we believe that intermittency should be viewed as opportunity, instead of a problem.

Dr Engerer (L) with Project Manager Joshua Madgwick of ANU Enterprise on the road, seen here visiting with South Australia Power Networks in Adelaide

This is all part of teaming up for the solar powered future! I’ll be sure to let you know how we go with all these BIG ideas. And please do let us know if you are one of those collaborators we are looking for, we can’t do this on our own! ANU academic Dr Nick Engerer is passionate about developing and promoting research projects which connect university research to

industry-relevant outcomes. Nick is the Chief Investigator on a $3.6M ARENA & industry funded project developing distributed solar modelling and forecasting products for Australian distribution networks which are being commercialised by solar forecasting company Solcast (of which Dr Engerer is also co-founder and Chief Technology Officer). Connect with him on Twitter @nickengerer and on LinkedIn.


Setting a shining example living off-grid A semi-retired couple has traded the busy streets of Melbourne for an idyllic rural retreat in the rolling hills north east of Melbourne. The large block of land they purchased several years ago is bordered by a highway, open fields and a babbling brook, but came without power. Six years on, they are generating and storing their own power with a sophisticated solar and storage system that has also generated significant local interest.

Rooftop PV powering a new home

52 AUTUMN 2018

PANORAMIC VIEWS across a picturesque mountain range and a rustic valley were more than enough to convince semi-retired couple Sue and Rob that they had found the rural retreat they had always dreamed about. From there they set about designing the home that was to occupy the site and keep them – and house guests – comfortable in the years ahead. But the first big decision was to determine the best source of power for the site. As Rob explained, the nearest poles and wires were located a good kilometre from the proposed location of the house. They soon found out the cost of connection to the grid would have been prohibitive, on top of which they would have had to continue paying power bills, costs of which keep rising. “The only way to save money on the connection would have been to position the house close to the mains connection point but we would have endured more traffic noise while forfeiting the expansive views from the hill top stretching across to the horizon,” said Rob. “Also, we have always been mindful of environmental considerations and were keen to explore the advantages of alternative energy.”

A home energy system The favoured solution was to stay off-grid and tap into solar power with home storage, which at the time was just a blip on the radar, with a dieselpowered generator to supplement supplies. To gain more information on the unfamiliar topic, the couple attended several information sessions staged by solar energy consultants before settling on local installer and self described ‘tech head’ Peter McKernan of PM Engineering. Peter selected the optimum system as follows: • 10.64 kW Trina Honey panels facing East, North, West • 7.5 kW Selectronic multimode inverter • Two x 9 kW ABB solar inverters • 99 kWh @80% lead gel batteries housed in separate insulated shed for optimum lifespan

• DPA solar mounting frames category 3 rating • Performance estimates – designed to generate 41.49 kWh/day • Using 29 kWh/day • Winter production/consumption 22.34 kWh/22 kWh/day • Summer 95.76 kWh/38 • Generator run time in winter: estimated at 4.2 hours a week Peter explained the solar panels were positioned east, west and north, with the multi-exposure taking out the ‘peakiness’ to produce a flatter yield. “The system was powered up in stages according to the builder’s progression and they were able to weld using solar power.” Peter told Solar & Storage. “The high cost of connection to main power in rural areas makes energy systems like this much more viable from a long-term economic perspective.” His top three no-nos? Ditch the bar fridge, beware the electric hot water booster and don’t even think about a spa bath.

Smooth sailing The home energy storage system was fully connected in March 2016 and power was turned on in time to start the house build. It has operated smoothly from the start. “No teething problems at all and everything kicked in happily, the system has since exceeded our expectations,” Rob explained. These days Rob, who is more used to reviewing complex legal documents, now checks the multimode inverter on a weekly basis and keeps an eye on the batteries stored in the locked shed. The stylish, architect designed four-bedroom house features a rammed earth wall, wall and ceiling insulation, double glazed windows, a large open fire in the living area with its cathedral ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows with elongated bench seat to soak in the sweeping views and sunsets, fans in three room, and blinds covering east facing windows to shield early morning sun. Gas is supplied by tanks that feed the oven and hot water system. The energy ratings of all household appliances including the microwave were checked before purchase, said Sue, the university lecturer who is now far more energy conscious. “We have also made some small changes to our usual schedules, for example we now turn on the dishwasher during the day instead of overnight.” Although they are yet to calculate payback on the system, Rob and Sue say the fact they have no power bills is something of a bonus against the spiraling cost of power in Melbourne.


Comfortable outcome These days they regularly host up to a dozen family visitors across four generations and welcome their large circle of friends, many of whom are treated to a tour of the mini power plant the couple helped steer from concept to completion. It’s a luxurious life for the couple who in the early years spent many wintery weekends in a cramped, drafty campervan in the shed with just a barbecue to keep warm, and during the sweltering summers had to chase away unwelcome furry wildlife and slithery creatures in search of a shady spot. The large shed has since been consigned to its original purpose, housing tractors and brush cutters and fishing rods. But it also came in handy for a community forum staged by the Murrindindi Climate Network, a group with an active interest in off-grid, sustainable homes. According to Peter McKernan there is a groundswell of support for sustainable lifestyles in the region that continues to attract more retirees taking refuge from the city.

Meanwhile over in Borneo ‌ Peter McKernan mentioned another rather interesting project in which he’s involved, a 19 kW solar system over in Borneo on behalf of the Brunei government. Given the site is located in thick jungle 180 kilometres inland, the installation should present some interesting challenges. Stay tuned for more.

Solar & Storage 53

Vale Stuart Wenham LATE LAST YEAR the industry lost an extraordinary scientist whose stellar career inventing or co-inventing eight classes of solar cell technologies helped shape and advance the world of solar powered energy. The pioneering solar engineer held the role of director of the UNSW Photovoltaics Centre of Excellence and collaborated with Professor Martin Green for decades. His colleague described Wenham “a brilliant and creative researcher, able to see patterns in results that eluded most of us, and new ways of capitalising on these.” The legacy of the solar trailblazer is almost unparalleled. Among his many outstanding achievements, Stuart Wenham invented the Advanced Hydrogenation hydrogen passivation technology, a quantum leap in silicon PV that boosts efficiency of solar cells “a hundredfold” that was adopted by manufacturing giants GCL and LONGi. Wenham’s research skills were paralleled by his talent to successfully attract billions of investment dollars into manufacturing capacity that was pivotal in the march to renewables. He is also the brainchild of the ‘missing link’ from lab to manufacturing plant, the $30 million Solar Industrial Research Facility. The gifted solar scientist’s achievements are boundless, for more than a decade he spent weeks at a time at Suntech in China pooling resources with esteemed colleague Shi Zhengrong. Stuart Wenham fell victim to a malignant melanoma aged just 60, but has left a lasting legacy in the global energy transformation and “helped make the world a better place to live”, said UNSW Dean of Engineering.

A remarkable solar scientist: Stuart Wenham is widely lauded for making solar more affordable and accessible to everyone

In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Stuart Wenham was inducted into the Australian Solar Hall of Fame.

“Member promotion, networking and engagement remain core to our functions.” John Grimes, chief executive

Smart Energy Council The National Voice of Solar, Storage and Smart Energy THE SMART ENERGY COUNCIL is the peak industry body for the solar industry in Australia. We represent companies in solar hot water, large-scale solar thermal concentrating plants, solar PV (at all scales), solar passive design and energy-efficient materials. We also represent solar customers and consumers and provide advice to the federal and state governments and the public. As a not for profit organisation we trace our history back to 1954 in Australia. The Smart Energy Council is committed to high-quality long-term solar solutions. All profits are ploughed back into the industry for and on behalf of the industry.

Join the Smart Energy Council for brand placement and marketing, keeping up with competitors, alignment and credibility, market intelligence and networking, and professional and career development. Want to know more or to sign up? Contact Scott Young, Membership Sales on 02 6653 4453 or 0467 672 292

Our programs and services are extensive, they include: • Delivering Australia’s largest dedicated solar and storage Conference and Exhibition • Advocacy, lobbying and driving industry campaigns • Professional development and webinars • Industry training through the newly launched Smart Energy Training Centre • Networking events, roadshows and summits • Leveraging market intelligence and consolidating data

• News and updates delivered by a quarterly Solar & Storage magazine and fortnightly e-newsletter • Helping deliver state and national smart energy policy • Continuing to improve quality and safety of solar and battery storage systems • The Positive Quality program, Master Installers program, Installer directory, Battery finder, and Product directory

The Smart Energy Council is committed to clean, efficient and affordable smart energy solutions.

Solar & Storage 55


Upskilling Training tailored by and for the industry The Smart Energy Training Centre (SETC) has kicked off with a busy program delivering accredited and nonaccredited training in solar, battery storage and smart energy management at centres across Australia.

South Australian based Steve Kostoff of Solar Training Centre, Green Business Audit & Training with John Grimes of the Smart Energy Council, SA Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis and Caz Saunders.

IN COLLABORATION with leading training providers Green Business Audit & Training and Future Skills, the SETC has hit the ground running following last year’s launch. Several courses have been staged at the training premises in different states specially equipped with all the latest technologies. Now with the popularity of household solar PV hitting new highs, activities are ramping up. Under the management of Steve Kostoff, Adelaide based Solar Training Centre has already kicked its first solar goals in 2018. “Still on a high from our grand opening last November the Solar Training Centre has started the year strongly with classes in Solar PV Grid Connect and Battery Storage Grid Connect at the Adelaide Smart Energy Training Centre,” Steve said. “Buoyed by recent SA Government announcements that at least 50,000 homes will be eligible for free solar and storage systems, the need to upskill the electrical workforce has never been more critical,” he explained. “This world-first initiative will provide work for a significant solar workforce over the next four to five years or so and truly impact on the take up of solar and storage, not just in this state, but across Australia.” Training & Quality Manager Caz Saunders and lead solar trainer Peter Cockburn combine their skills to review, tweak and enhance the solar courses to produce the best outcomes for students.

New training base in Victoria In collaboration with the Smart Energy Training Centre, The Solar Training Centre recently opened

Under the SETC banner Future Skills is delivering accredited training in design and installation of battery storage systems for grid connected PV systems at One Stop Warehouse in Queensland and New South Wales. Pictured are Victoria Zhou and Blair Brown of Future Skills. its latest training premises in Melbourne’s southeast in partnership with wholesale distributor Powerark Solar whose premises have been converted into suitable training facilities and training courses have already kicked off. Solar Training Centre is also assessing opportunities in Western Australia. In other developments, the Solar Training Centre has welcomed its newest trainer, Craig Redman, who is described as “a true industry stalwart who has been teaching solar and electrical for many years and installed many large and small scale systems. Craig will help manage work throughout Queensland and the NT and possibly in Victoria. “Our vision for the best Solar Training Centre in Australia is driven with the support of solar industry partners, the confidence and support of the Smart Energy Council and a team of dedicated and professional industry trainers willing to help students qualify to enter this extraordinary industry!” Steve said. “Our business driver and philosophy of ‘Solar on every roof: solar + Storage = Unstoppable’ is truly gaining momentum! Course dates and venues can be seen at Also visit and

56 AUTUMN 2018



U  se the Master Installer logo to strengthen your business brand


1  00 Express CPD Points – train online, wherever you are, at any time


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Solar Essentials


Solar Gold


To join please visit or contact Scott Young, Membership Sales on or T: 02 6653 4453 or M: 0467 672 292

SOLAR, STORAGE AND SMART ENERGY EVENTS Visit for a larger list of global solar and storage industry conferences

Smart Energy Conference & Exhibition 2018 Tuesday 10 April and Wednesday 11 April 2018 ICC at Darling Harbour, Sydney Smart Energy 2018 is the Solar and Storage industries’ leading Conference and Exhibition and Australia’s peak industry event for solar, energy storage and energy management industries. See pages 12-13 and 33 for more details or visit

SNEC 12th (2018) International Photovoltaic Power Generation and Smart Energy Conference & Exhibition

EXPO Solar PV Korea 2018 June 14-16, Seoul, Korea

Intersolar Europe 2018 20-22 June, Munich, Germany Intersolar Europe is a world leading exhibition for the solar industry and takes place annually at the Messe München exhibition centre in Munich. The event focuses on PV, solar thermal technologies, solar plants, grid infrastructure and solutions for the integration of renewable energy.

May 28 to 30, Shanghai, China China’s government has set a solar PV target of 105 GW by 2020. Analysts project installations in the range of 47 to 65 GW this year; official figures are in the range of >50GW.

PV Japan 2018

3rd Solar India 2018 Expo

26-27 June, Singapore

23 to 25 May, New Delhi, India India saw 12 GW of new renewable capacity added in 2017. The country is on course to emerge as a solar power hub, and has become the secondbiggest solar-energy installer in the world in just two years. Indian solar-energy capacity is tipped will increase by 300 per cent this year and next.

20-22 June, Yokohama, Japan

Solar & Storage Finance Asia The conference covers deployment opportunities in the energy storage industry as well as attracting the financiers and developers for solar: regional investment strategy, the private PPAs marketplace, structuring bi-lateral agreements in preFiT countries, the energy storage business case and how to attract finance to island microgrid solutions.

Want to reach thousands involved in solar and storage?

GIVE BRETT A CALL DID YOU KNOW? Solar & Storage magazine is read by more than 20,000 industry professionals. Our readers include: PV solar designers and installers, large-scale solar project contractors, manufacturers & wholesalers, energy retailers, government representatives of all levels, trainers, consultants and industry thought leaders. If you would like to boost your presence among the solar & storage community across Australia, contact Brett Thompson. Brett can also help you to highlight your brand at the industry’s leading show, the Smart Energy Conference and Exhibition, which takes place in Sydney on April 10 and 11, 2018. Brett believes the industry will hit new highs during 2018 and beyond, and he’s here to help companies looking to capitalise on opportunities.


58 AUTUMN 2018

Contact Brett on 0402 181 250 or


Smart Energy Council Corporate Members For full listing of Smart Energy Council Corporate Members see




BRONZE CORPORATE MEMBERS AC Solar Warehouse Acstone Energy Group Amplitude Consultants Auspac Energy Technologies Aussie Off Grid Solar Energy Austra Energy Australian All Energy Solutions Aztech International B&R Enclosures Betta Batteries BSA Circular Solutions Clean Technology Partners Clenergy

Compliance Quarter Crystal Solar Energy CSA Services DPA Solar Dynamic Solar earthconnect Edson Global Emerging Energy Solutions Energy Smart Water. Enervision Australia FlexiGroup Freshwater Group Fronius Australia global-roam

Governance Insight Green Sun Solar Greenbox Energy Greenlink Solar Grid Edge Helios Renewable Energy Holding Redlich Hybrid Aus I Want Energy Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials Island Solar JSYCAPITAL K&L Gates

Keemin Kokam Co Lithium Battery Systems Log-On Electrical (MyPowerMP) Metrowest Power Systems Midnight Energy MO Energy Natural Solar Navitus Solar Nexen Energy Solutions Optic Energi Australia Orion Platinum Solar & Electrical Powerplus Solutions

Pu Neng Q-Cells Australia QGE Rainbow Power Company REC Solar Renewable Energy Installations Reposit Power Revolusun power Smart Renewables Snapfrozen Solar Calculator Solar Hybrid Conversions Solar Red SolarEdge Technologies Springers Solar Standard Solar SWS Australia Todae Solar Tropical Energy Solutions Unlimited Energy Australia Velocity Energy Victron Energy B.V. Wattwatchers Westgen WINAICO Australia Yingli Green Energy Australia. ZAPD Energy

Solar & Storage 59

Solar industry Positive Quality™ and performance THE SMART ENERGY COUNCIL’S Positive Quality™ program sets rigorous standards that ensure manufacturers who achieve and maintain high standards are singled out and recognised. Two prominent panel makers: Jinko and Risen meet those high standards and proudly display the Positive Quality™ logo, a symbol of manufacturing excellence, which sends a signal of confidence to consumers. Participating manufacturers are fully recognised, consumers enjoy peace of mind and the industry’s reputation is strengthened, delivering Positive Quality™ for all. Australian consumers and businesses can have confidence in the quality of the solar panels they are installing by looking out for the Positive Quality™ Trustmark. The Smart Energy Council developed the program because the generic appearance of panels makes it difficult to determine good from bad, unless an identification mark denotes otherwise. A logo that signifies superior quality. The Positive Quality™ program admits and endorses manufacturers that are independently tested and verified through plant visits. The initial assessment consists of a company’s entire manufacturing processes undergoing independent and intensive inspection and testing. This is carried out by the Smart Energy Council’s specially appointed Positive Quality™ specialists in a three step process: Certification check and compliance with IEC and Australian standards; Factory inspection with

By displaying the Positive Quality™ logo solar companies convey high standards in panel manufacturing to industry and consumers

a 60-point check; and a Product quality check: appearance, IV, EL, Hi-Pot, and leakage current. Positive Quality™ participants’ premises are then inspected at random every 12 weeks to ensure the continuity of those high standards. All solar PV manufacturers of high quality can participate.

Contact Positive Quality™ Manager Brett Thompson on 0402 181 250, email or visit




ASM Money


Century Yuasa Batteries




Enphase Energy





Outside Back Cover






Greenbank Environmental Growatt

Inside Back Cover



Imeon Energy


LG Chem Longi Solar

9 Inside Front Cover

PowerArk Solar


Prosun Solar


R & J Batteries


Redback Technologies


Solar & Energy Finance


Solar Juice


SolaX Power








Trina Solar




Unlimited Energy


/ Perfect Welding / Solar Energy / Perfect Charging





Fronius Primo: 3.0 – 8.2 KW The Fronius Primo is the communicative, single-phase inverter for optimised energy management and maximum self-consumption in the home, for both new and existing PV systems. / Still smarter, more flexible, easier to install and of the highest quality. Still made in Austria. / Communicative: integrated WLAN and Ethernet, easy implementation of third party components. / Intelligent energy control thanks to the energy management relay and open interfaces. / SuperFlex Design: maximum flexibility in system design with two MPP trackers, a high system voltage and wide input voltage range. Visit to find out more

Solar & Storage Magazine Autumn 2018  
Solar & Storage Magazine Autumn 2018