Page 1

Solar & Storage SPRING 2016

• Virtual power plants • Citizen utilities • Solar soars in India


• M  asters of Collaboration: industry forces unite • M  aster Installer program and Certified Storage training • • 02 9725 1111

Australian Solar Council Foreword by CEO and guest Prof Peter Newman


Solar Energy and Storage conference 2017 16

Contents SPRING 2016

Master Installer program and Certified Storage training 52 Positive Quality™


Corporate Members


Market Dynamics News and views Infographic: global renewables wrap

4 30

Special Features Solar soars in India


Real health hazards of coal


Citizen utilities by Prof Newman


PV pioneer, 30 years on


Market services Juice Capital offers PPAs


ASM Money cements a significant PV system


All-Energy show insights



Front cover: The contented look of a home energy storage system, image courtesy Sunverge


Research and Development RMIT’s solar research agenda


PV Simulations


Products and services SolaX


EnviroSure Insurance


Fronius – a case study


Perlight’s PERC technology


Melbourne Energy Storage Forum


ABB, VPPs and more storage news


LG Chem launches new residential series


AllGrid Energy and Redback set the pace


Storage market projections infographic


Selectronic’s colourful case studies


22 36 40

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


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


SOLAR & STORAGE is published by the AUSTRALIAN SOLAR COUNCIL. ABN 32 006 824 148 Subscription and membership enquiries contact Anna Washington, Phone: 0409 802 707,

CONTRIBUTORS: Sujata Allan, Steve Blume, Nick Engerer, Maja Gajic, Martin Holladay, Amanda Lenihan, Peter Newman AO, Penny Parle, Darryn Van Hout

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 Australian Solar Council. Although every effort is made to check the authenticity and accuracy of articles, neither the Solar Council nor the editors are responsible for any inaccuracy. Solar & Storage is published quarterly.


John Grimes Chief Executive, Australian Solar Council and Energy Storage Council FIRST THEY FIGHT YOU, and after that they accept you … The big power companies have certainly fought solar PV. But now they know that without solar PV they are set to lose market share - big time. So they are muscling in on their competitors, small independent solar PV retailers and installers. Where does that leave the solar installers today?

Well, the Solar Council does not want to see a future where installers stand divided and conquered. Where they are price takers – take it or leave it. Three jobs a day at rock bottom rates. That’s precisely why we have launched our ASC Master Installer program. We are creating a network of highly capable, professional solar installers. Installers committed to high standards and quality outcomes for consumers. Installers who are valued for the critical service they provide. The good guys in the solar industry, standing together to deliver quality service right across the country. And it’s not just solar PV companies who rely on Master Installers. It’s the emerging energy storage companies as well. ASC Master Installers are your local energy consultants, designing, installing and maintaining systems, and keeping customers up-to-date on the latest integrated energy solutions. We are about to launch a public awareness campaign promoting our members. Customers will ‘find an ASC Master Installer’ on our website and member installers will receive active sales leads in their local area. If you care about long-term quality, high standards, fair return for fair effort and happy long-term customers, become an ASC Master Installer today. Read more on page 52.

Guest Foreword The emergence of ‘citizen utilities’

In this future grid, based on solar PV and battery storage, consumers are likely to create their own way of managing their local electricity needs and how they dispose of their excess electricity. The ancient Greeks invented democracy around their Polis which was a way to enable their city to work together. In ancient Israel the prophet Isaiah railed against those people in cities “who in their arrogance would say ‘I am and there is no other’”. Today as we seek to build smart, inclusive, sustainable, solar cities we would do well to see they will be cities that still work together in many new ways, rather than individuals in self sufficiency. See full story on the topic of citizen utilities on pages 14 and 15.

SOLAR POWER is not just coming, it is here. It is happening very quickly and it enables power to be produced where it is consumed, but what will it mean to our centralised grids? Will it mean we won’t need a grid? Will we be able to live in splendid self-sufficiency with the internet and our own power? What we are finding is that today’s solar storage systems cannot necessarily carry the household throughout the year even in places such as highly sunny Perth as costs increase exponentially in order to achieve between 90 and 100 per cent self sufficiency. However, things would change if we moved toward Prof. Peter Newman AO, Professor a system whereby solar and batteries operated on a of Sustainability, Curtin University Peter Newman AO is the Professor of Sustainability shared precinct basis. And if a few hundred households at Curtin University in Perth. He has written more get together the scale of opportunities increases than 300 papers on sustainable cities and three of his 16 published books substantially. include ‘The End of Automobile Dependence’ (2015), ‘Green Urbanism Then what if suburbs began to reorganise themselves so they began in Asia’ (2013) and ‘Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile to share PV and batteries with a local electricity supply system that could Dependence’ which was launched in the White House in 1999. Peter has afford to have a bit more storage for those days with little sun? worked in local government as an elected councillor, in state government Grids and battery storage can work together in good times and bad. as an advisor to three Premiers, and was on the Board of Infrastructure The grid is needed but it will be very different in the future; big regional Australia. The Prime Minister of Australia recently referred to Peter as his grids are likely to become a series of smaller grids and in cities there will ‘tutor’ on cities. be multiple micro grids supporting ‘citizen utilities’.

2 SPRING 2016

TRIO-50.0-TL. You won’t believe it’s a string inverter.

The TRIO-50.0 combines the performance and price advantage of a central inverter with the flexibility and ease of installation of a string inverter. With its three-phase, transformerless technology, modular concept and installation versatility, the TRIO-50.0 was designed specifically for commercial and utility-scale decentralized installations. So if you’re looking for the flexibility of a string inverter with the power and cost advantage of a central inverter look no further. The TRIO-50.0-TL. For more information:

Local and global NEWS CONERGY IS ABOUT TO COMMENCE CONSTRUCTION on a $42.5 million grid-connected, utilityscale solar and battery storage project, vital statistics: 10.8 MW comprising 41,400 solar panels and 1.4 MW/5.3 MWh battery. The plant at Lakeland in Far North Queensland will feed renewable energy into Ergon Energy’s remote substation which connects to the NEM, enough to power the equivalent of more than 3000 homes around the clock. Origin is buying the power from the plant under a power purchase agreement. This significant development will demonstrate the capability for such plants to provide reliable future power quality and supply at a fringe-of-grid location. A Knowledge Sharing Program has been

established between Conergy, ARENA, BHP Billiton, Ergon Energy and Origin Energy. ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht commented “Solar farms with storage can be especially useful at the edges of our electricity grids.” ARENA provided $17.4 million in funding support.



above the streets of Melbourne. The curved walls of the 60-storey building will feature 3000 square metres of panels, and together with 300 square metres of panels on the roof and a small wind turbine will feed energy into a battery storage system to help power the 520 apartments, providing about half the tower’s base load power.

the site of the Williamsdale Solar Farm that from completion in November will generate 21,901 MWh, enough clean electricity for 3600 households. Impact Investment Group (IIG) acquired the 11 MW Williamsdale Solar Farm which won a Large Scale Feed- in-tariff entitlement in the ACT’s Solar Auction process in 2013. Still in ACT, a 10 MW solar PV plant will be built adjacent to the existing Gullen Range Wind Farm, laying the groundwork for more solar plants to be built alongside wind farms and helping drive down costs of large-scale solar.

MERCURY RISES: The 2°C scenario: On top of the forecasted $9.2 trillion investment in zero-carbon power, an extra $5.3 trillion is needed by 2040 to prevent power-sector emissions rising above the IPCC ‘safe’ limit of 450 parts per million. Source: BNEF outlook GREEN ENERGY MARKETS data

Those figures are more in line with the

shows that small-scale certificate generation

2015 June quarter and the average across

(STC) rebounded significantly in the June

the entire 2015 period, however, they

quarter after record low creation in the prior

are 9 per cent lower than the 2014 June

quarter: 3.97 million STCs were created in the

quarter and are consistent with an overall

June quarter which is 14 per cent greater than

decline in the solar market over the past

the March quarter.

few years.

4 SPRING 2016

POLITICAL MERRY GO ROUND: The Turnbull led Coalition won a second term by a whisker in an election producing one of the most bizarre political line-ups in history with several far right climate change deniers among the crossbench Senators. The good news is “kingmaker” Nick Xenophon’s team of three Senators supports a 50 per cent renewable electricity target by 2030 and has called for research into renewable energy and climate change to be “more easily available” to Australian industry. Crucially they say ARENA must be protected. This support is critical given the “innovation” Prime Minister plans to strip $1.3 billion from ARENA grant funding and inflict a massive blow on emerging and innovative clean technologies that Australia excels in. “The Australian Solar Council will continue to work effectively with the major parties as well as minor parties and independents, in a bid to protect polices that benefit the environment and the solar and storage industry,” chief executive John Grimes said. “We will continue to push for at least 50 per cent renewables by 2030 as a national policy and will keep working for policies to maximise the rollout of residential, commercial and large-scale solar.”

AUGUST 12, 1982: Scientists in New York revealed Earth's average temperature rose 0.2 degrees between 1960 and 1980 as a result of what was then known as the "Greenhouse Effect". "When we say the globe will be warmer, we don't mean the world will suddenly be like Florida - everybody running around in bathing suits," one scientist said. "Computer models of the world's climate project some pretty drastic possibilities."

‘NEXT GENERATION’ ENERGY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM: the former chief executive of AMP along with AMP Capital Investors have channeled $2.9 million into a home energy management startup using technology developed by CSIRO. Evergen's intelligent energy system combines weather forecasts with a solar household's energy production and consumption to optimise solar panels and batteries. Based at CSIRO's Newcastle Energy Centre, Evergen will trial and refine its system before commercial release.

Local and global NEWS POOR SCORECARD: A global assessment of the energy efficiency of the world's biggest energy consumers has revealed Australia ranks a poor 16 out of 23 countries. The findings also highlight the need for a cleaner smarter way forward that the battery storage sector can provide. The 2016 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard produced by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is a comprehensive assessment of energy efficiency performance as well as policy settings.

DEALS IN COAL: Prior to its crushing defeat the NT’s CLP secretly negotiated a deal with a US-based company to develop potentially vast coal ­reserves south of Alice Springs, a move the Climate Council’s Professor Will Steffen described “‘unbelievably reckless’ and one that “flies in the face of climate science … more than 90 per cent of Australia’s [remaining] coal must stay in the ground if we are to effectively tackle climate change and meet our international commitment to doing everything possible to limit global warming to less than 2°C.”

THE CLIMATE COUNCIL has recently presented a series of valuable Big Picture reports: On the Frontline: Climate Change & Rural Communities says risks posed by climate change on health, security, environmental assets and economy among rural communities threaten to exacerbate many of their social, economic and health inequalities. The Council also calculates more than 28,000 jobs could be created if half of our electricity came from renewable sources by 2050. Renewable Energy Jobs: Future growth in Australia: compares two scenarios for the energy sector: business as usual renewable energy growth which delivers 34 per cent renewable electricity in 2030, and 50 per cent

of electricity by 2030. Both show increased uptake of RE create nationwide employment, and a transition to ‘50RE’ will create jobs in Australia unlike other industry transitions such as in automotive manufacturing and steel smelting, which have seen many jobs move offshore. Mythbusting: Electricity prices in South Australia: This reality check revealed a significant fall in electricity price spikes and the high cost of gas in SA. More specifically price spikes have fallen significantly across the National Electricity Market as the proportion of renewable energy has increased but especially in South Australia. In 2015, there was just one price spike compared to more than 50 in 2008.

Some people get it: the Rio Olympics opening ceremony issued a serious warning about climate change. The use of coal and oil, pollution, temperature rises, melting of the ice cap, rise in sea level and extreme weather events was relayed in a video clip to the three billion tuned in worldwide. (See article on health impacts of coal on page 12.)

THE NEW ZEALAND AND PACIFIC SOLAR AND STORAGE COUNCIL (NZPSSC) has been ramping up its activities and is running a series of training programs in the region to cater for the growing interest in the potential of solar power. In regional news, a 1 MW array tender has been announced for Vanuatu. Barbara Elliston was among the NZPSSC delegates who attended the 25th annual Pacific Power Association conference in Tonga in August on behalf of ASC and NZPSSC. In the image below PV training participants gather at the recent Pacific Power Association conference. PV trainer Geoff Bragg (centre) delivered training on behalf of NZPSSC to Pacific utility management, inspectors and regulators on the introduction of PV, and how standards adoption can help avoid pitfalls. Geoff Bragg of New England Solar Power is also Chairman of SEIA NSW (Solar Energy Industries Association).

6 SPRING 2016

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

Let sunlight power your life

Visit us at the All-Energy Exhibition & Conference in Melbourne on 4 and 5 October 2016

INDIA: powering ahead

India’s energy market is evolving at a rapid rate on the back of ambitious targets and robust policies developed under the rule of Prime Minster Modi and his Energy Minister Goyal, and the momentum is set to continue at an astonishing pace. Here we review the scale of the transformation and talk to Tim Buckley of IEEFA whose knowledge spans the region. IN RECENT YEARS there has been a lot of talk and news coverage on China’s surge in solar PV, and rightly so in an industry that just a decade ago was in embryonic stage. The growth of China’s PV industry has been nothing less than staggering, and the country is on track to achieve its target 150 GW of solar capacity by 2020. India by comparison is but a blip on the radar – or was until May 2014 when Narendra Modi took the helm and appointed Piyush Goyal as Minster of New and Renewable Energy. Goyal hit the ground running and is steering India on a stellar trajectory, knocking up solar milestones at the rate of knots in a successful endeavour to secure India’s self reliance and economic stability.

shot up to 8 GW. That is just the start, Goyal wants to usher in a mighty 100 GW of solar energy capacity (of the 175 GW of renewable energy target) by 2022. Of the 100 GW, 40 GW will be distributed energy and 60 GW utility grade. Phenomenal growth is accompanied by phenomenal projects and mind boggling costs: India is spending $10 billion each year over the next 20 years to accelerate solar projects. On the drawing board are 10 Solar Zones earmarked for large-scale projects, the first Zone of which is under development as the country heads toward 40 GW utility-scale solar by 2020. In one remarkable proposal that has caught the world’s attention, India’s

Mapping the growth

state run power utility plans to build a floating 600 MW solar PV plant over

Back in 2012 India’s solar PV capacity stood at 1.2 GW and that figure almost doubled the following year. But by July 2016 solar capacity had


People and PV: some facts

For several years the director of energy finance studies at the Institute for

The population of China sits at around 1,382,769,500 (18.72% of the world population). And India 1,327,925,500 (17.84%). Together the two vast nations are home to around 36.6 per cent of the global population. China’s installed solar PV capacity reached 43 GW in 2016 on its way to 150 GW by 2020. India’s rate of solar PV expansion is jaw dropping: doubling from 1.2 GW in 2012 to 2.3 GW 2013 and more than trebling that to reach 7.56 GW by May 2016, on its path to 100 GW by 2022. Australia (population at around 23 million) reached 5 GW in PV capacity in mid 2016 and anticipates a rise to 52 GW by 2040.

rise of energy markets of China and India and reviewed the implications

8 SPRING 2016

a massive hydropower dam. On completion the floating plant will dwarf all

Turning the Titanic Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, Tim Buckley, has watched the of their transformations on Australian industry. He says India’s progressive agenda is cause for optimism about the future of solar power. “India is a complex market particularly in the energy sector which is undergoing a massive transformation under the direction of Minister Piyush Goyal, a phenomenal man who has achieved a staggering amount in just two short years. “India’s economy and electricity systems have been shambolic for decades. The heavily subsidised state owned energy distributor was losing $10 billion annually when Goyal took over. He recognised the generation

For over 25 years GCL has grown to be the world's largest green energy manufacturer solar panels were just the beginning…


PERTH OFFICE U2/46 Catalano Road, Canning Vale, WA (08) 6261 3882


E-KwBe 2.5

E-KwBe 5.6

Usable Capacities



Output Power



Peak Current



Light Weight



Maximum Units in Unison



Battery Cells



ADELAIDE OFFICE U2/63 Langford St, Pooraka, SA 5095 (08) 8260 6856

BRISBANE OFFICE U1/12 Booran Drive, Woodridge, QLD (07) 3209 4940

MELBOURNE OFFICE 1 - 5 Brough Street, Springvale, VIC (03) 8510 1175

SYDNEY OFFICE 25A Davis Road, Wetherill Park NSW 2164 (02) 9604 5850


system was totally beholden to costly coal imports and that India needed to heavily diversify into every other sort of generation capacity, and in the process deal with the massive trade deficit that was nearing breaking point,” Buckley explained. “For the five years up till 2014 India’s coal imports had been growing at 50 per cent each year and causing much of the economic instability, but Goyal recognised the dire situation also presented an opportunity to transform the electricity distribution system. He also pledged transparency and disclosure at every turn.” Fast-forward to today and India’s coal production grew by 9 per cent in one year versus the 1 per cent of previous years. Blackouts of six hours a day have been replaced by a 26-day stockpile and the nation is on track to install 10 GW of solar this year alone, amid its target of 16 GW of renewables this year. “For the past five years I have watched China transform,” Buckley said. “Now it’s India’s turn and they have leapfrogged ahead alone spending $10 billion a year on solar, and installing solar at $65 per MW/h so already it is competitive with coal. But few people have twigged onto the rate of change. India’s fast growing energy market is mirroring that of China’s development but as this comes five years after China’s [boom] India is benefitting from the dramatically lower cost of technology. “The nation is also advantaged through currency, inflation, stability, lower interest rates. One of the biggest obstacles to deploying solar is the cost of capital and India imports 95 per cent of its solar panels. If capital costs can be contained through lower interest rates that puts the country at an advantage, and since Modi was elected interest rates have been cut five times and inflation has halved. “Every time interest rates come down the case for solar goes up.”

Tim Buckley, IEEFA

“Australia is a smart, service-oriented country with some of the world’s best financial systems so why not export

Solar scope and comparisons with Australia

high value services to help India

The vast majority of India’s solar installs will be utility grade solar in the foreseeable future given the nation lacks Australia’s well-established expertise and capacity at residential level. As Buckley says it takes years to develop the skills base, financial systems, culture and technical requirements necessary to build a strong

transform its economy. Provide them

Manufacturing hub India recently announced a massive overhaul of the fleet by declaring it had set a goal of 100 per cent electric vehicles by 2030. Among other vital factors the strategy addresses economics and energy security (oil imports). Ambitious, yes. Achievable? We’ll know in 14 years, however any measures to reduce particulate pollution from transport emissions is commendable. The International Energy Agency identifies a high percentage of the 6.5 million people killed each year from the effects of pollution are in India. Affordable electric vehicles are key to the ambitious transition, and India is now developing electric cars that will retail for around $8000 in a bid to reach the mass market, and in the process build one of the world’s biggest EV markets. India also wants to build a manufacture base for solar modules, batteries, wind turbines and more. “Make in India” is Modi’s catch cry in his endeavour to develop the nation into the manufacturing hub of the world. Indian billionaire Gautam Adani whose name is more commonly associated with coal is investing $1 billion in what will be India’s largest solar product manufacturing facility with a 1 GW capacity.

10 SPRING 2016

with the services they need to further their fast growing energy sector.”

Aussie coal The Climate Council recently pinpointed ABS survey data showing electricity generation from coal has barely moved over the past three years, slipping just marginally from 65.3 per cent to 64.9 per cent in that time. The numbers do not bode well for climate change, with the burning of coal for electricity one of the major culprits. The survey also revealed renewable power generation in that time

capitalise on it. The country’s climate policy is not robust enough to reduce emission at the source. Australia has the most emissions intensive coal-fired power generators in the world, even ranking behind India. China has required all coal-fired power plants to be retrofitted with emissions reduction technologies over the past four years, but Australia is yet to follow suit. IEEFA notes the market’s old polluting ‘sub-critical’ electricity

had increased from 9.6 per cent to 12 per cent, but that was not

generators pump in excess of 7000 MW surplus capacity in the system

enough to prevent the growth of emissions.

and despite the inefficient, emissions-intensive electricity system

The Climate Council commented that the fact emissions from the electricity sector increased 3 per cent last year was a sign the renewable

Australia lacks a plan for an orderly transition. “It’s common sense that Australia should focus on phasing out the

energy industry was “not growing at anywhere near the rate needed

oldest and most polluting coal fired power stations first, but high exit

to tackle climate change”, adding Australia has enough renewable

barriers, first mover disadvantage and the absence of effective policy

energy resources to power the country 500 times over but is failing to

are acting as road blocks,” says Tim King of IEEFA.

and reliable rooftop solar industry such as we have in Australia. “You need lots of small businesses to skill up. However India is on track in its large-scale solar programs and there is every chance they will strike the targets set for installed capacity.”

Opportunity knocks What can Australia learn or gain from India? Tim Buckley believes India needs to grow its technical expertise and that with its inefficient systems – for every tonne of coal produced they employ around nine workers for every one Australian – opportunities exist for Australia to train Indian miners in world best practice in operational performance to drive efficiency.

“But more critically Australia is home to the world’s best solar scientists and there should be nothing preventing us from developing more courses for PhD students in renewable energy engineering degrees, these are the very engineers India needs right now,” he said. “Australia is a smart, service-oriented country with some of the world’s best financial systems so why not export high value services to help India transform its economy. Provide them with the services they need to further their fast growing energy sector. “We could be a leader in solar technology, systems and finance. Our ‘innovation’ prime minster should be pushing Australia’s best export opportunity … that is education in technology and innovation, rather than keep pushing fossil fuels.”

Relief in sight In May the mercury in India hit a very uncomfortable 50 degrees and caused thousands of deaths. Extreme weather also caused severe water shortages, impacting 330 million people. These events triggered a massive ‘relief’ effort: in early July 800,000 volunteers planted almost 50 million tree saplings along India’s roads, rail lines, and on public lands.

Solar & Storage 11


Following is an expose by Dr Sujata Allan of Doctors for the Environment who cast climate change as the greatest health threat of the 21st century and say dealing with Australia’s unhealthy addiction to coal by replacing it with clean energy such as solar power is the first step toward reducing illness and preventable deaths.

The real price of coal COAL IS NOT a cheap fuel. Each step of coal’s lifecycle – mining, transportation, burning and disposing of wastes – can affect our health at every stage of life. Coal harms health mainly through air pollution – from dust released during mining and transportation and from the particles and toxic substances released by coal-fired power stations. Coal pollution contributes to heart disease, lung disease, stroke and lung cancer, costing Australians an estimated $2.6 billion a year. The most dangerous components of air pollution are particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen, sulfur dioxide, mercury and ozone. Particulate matter has been classified as a cancer-causing agent of the same magnitude as asbestos, and there is no safe threshold of exposure. Particles such as PM2.5 – only 2.5 microns in size, or one thirtieth the size of a human hair – are small enough to be breathed deep into the lungs and cross into the bloodstream, and can even cross into the placenta.

Protecting the health of Australians with clean, renewable energy is a no-brainer when you consider the true costs of coal.

12 SPRING 2016

Babies and children are particularly vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution, due to their rapid growth. Air pollution interferes with lung development. Mercury, which enters the food chain, disrupts the normal development of the brain and is associated with developmental delay and reduced intellectual capacity in children. Any damage caused in these early years also has the potential to affect the person throughout their life. In children and adults, coal pollutants trigger asthma attacks in susceptible people, while long-term exposure contributes to chronic lung disease and heart disease. Even short term exposure to air pollution can have health impacts, for example, peaks in PM2.5 concentrations can cause heart rhythm disturbances and heart attacks. Reducing air pollution has been shown in several countries such as China and the US to have dramatic improvements in health and fewer deaths caused by pollution. Urgent replacement of coal by renewable energy sources is central in tackling climate change – described by a leading medical journal as the greatest health threat of the 21st century. If we are serious about reducing illness and preventable deaths as well as tackling climate change, dealing with Australia’s unhealthy addiction to coal is the first step. This year health advocacy groups Doctors for the Environment Australia and Climate And Health Alliance co-authored the report Investing in Health. This called for health professionals and the health sector to shift their money from fossil fuels to greener alternatives such as solar and wind. Protecting the health of Australians with clean, renewable energy is a no-brainer when you consider the true costs of coal. Dr Sujata Allan is a GP Registrar and a member of Doctors for the Environment Australia, the independent voluntary organisation of medical doctors that includes a Nobel laureate, recipients of the Australia of the Year award and deans from many medical schools. DEA is a vocal supporter of solar as an alternative to fossil fuel industries due to the health impacts of the latter. Among many initiatives including talks and media, DRE recently co-authored a publication on the need for Australian health workers and organisations to divest.


It’s no wonder scientists on the frigid icecaps of Greenland trust SunPower® solar technology to power their research. Rated number-one for durability by solar experts,1 SunPower panels deliver massive power in the most punishing conditions around the world—including cyclone-force winds and the harsh heat of the Aussie sun. Homeowners and businesses across Australia know that SunPower panels produce 70% more energy over 25 years in the same space as conventional ones.2 And that means greater savings over time, all with the industry’s best 25-year Combined Power and Product Warranty. For over 30 years, we’ve been demanding more of ourselves so you can have the very best. To learn more, go to or call 1-800-SUNPOWER. 1 Fraunhofer PV Durability Initiative for Solar Modules: Part 2”. Photovoltaics International, 2014. 2 SunPower 345W compared to a Conventional Panel (250W, 15.3% efficient, approx. 1.6 m2), 9% more energy per watt. BEW/DNV Engineering “SunPower Yield Report,” 2013 with CFV Solar Test Lab Report #12063, temp. coef. calculation © 2016 SunPower Corporation. All Rights Reserved. SUNPOWER, the SUNPOWER logo and DEMAND BETTER SOLAR are trademarks or registered trademarks of SunPower Corporation in the U.S. and other countries as well.


Citizen utilities Peter Newman AO says solar power is not just coming it is here, but what will it mean to our centralised grids? Will it mean we won’t need a grid? Will we be able live self-sufficiently with our own power? WE NOW HAVE an unlikely emerging demonstration city, Perth, that is enabling us to learn something about distributed rather than centralised generation and in particular to see a new phenomenon we have called ‘citizen utilities’. The number of households in Perth with rooftop solar PV is now around 22 per cent, with more than 190,000 systems having been installed since 2010, translating into 530 MW of generating capacity, the largest power station in WA. The purchase of solar PV in Perth is continuing to grow at more than 20 per cent per annum. Australia in general has been growing rapidly in its adoption of solar PV with 1.5 million households having rooftop solar PV panels, which is likely to produce over 18,000 MW of power by 2031. The adoption of solar PV has been mostly a feature of middle-incomehouseholds as the majority are being purchased in all Australian cities in the less wealthy outer suburbs where people have large houses and high electricity bills as a proportion of their income. Some suburbs already have over 50 per cent of houses with solar PV. The growth rates are therefore likely to continue.

Solar with storage The next step in decentralised energy is the adoption of solar-storage with Lithium Ion battery energy systems that are rapidly following the decline in prices experienced by solar as a result of mass production of these batteries for computers, mobile phones and now electric vehicles. Solar storage based on Li Ion batteries is now becoming so cheap that this combination is nearly at grid parity in Perth. We have calculated that the combination of rooftop solar PV with household battery systems is crossing over the price of electricity in Perth in the next two years.

Josh Byrne (above) from Gardening Australia and research fellow at Curtin and his highly energy efficient house in Perth

Peter Newman, Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University

These conditions in Perth make it an ideal case study to evaluate the emergence of solar and storage as a mainstream power system technology, and what impact this has on the grid.

Harvesting solar Josh Byrne from Gardening Australia is a research fellow with us at Curtin and has built an affordable house that is fully monitored to test these questions as part of a project funded by the CRC in Low Carbon Living. His household, consisting of two adults and two kids, is a solar design with 3 kW of solar PV and a Li ion battery storage system having 8 kWh of useable storage. The house is highly energy efficient (no mechanical heating or cooling is needed) and is generating 75 per cent more renewable power than it is consuming. However, because Josh’s household still use most of their power in the evening they still pay an electricity bill; peak power costs around 26c/kWh compared to the 7c/kWh they receive back from the utility for the excess solar electricity they sell during the sunshine. The incorporation of a solar and battery system reduced this highly energy efficient household’s reliance on the grid from around 55 per cent to being more than 90 per cent self sufficient, while still uploading 75 per cent surplus electricity to the grid. The household still needs to draw energy from the grid during the few periods of consecutive cloudy days in winter. If Josh’s House was to achieve 100 per cent self sufficiency the solar system would have to scale up from 3 kW to 5 kW, a 66 per cent increase, and the battery would have to be substantially increased from 8 kWh to 14 kWh, a 75 per cent increase in capacity, just to ensure power could be maintained for a few days a year. This is not good economics.

“Big regional grids are likely to become a series of smaller grids and in cities there will be multiple micro grids”

14 SPRING 2016

The ARENA funded project at White Gum Valley, a suburb of Fremantle, where 120 houses are being built with solar and batteries

“Already technology platforms are being invented to sell excess local electricity generated by households using blockchain software” So Josh’s house shows that the grid is still needed. The first key conclusion from this is that the grid is unlikely to be abandoned by most households with solar PV and battery storage; the

Most utilities experiencing this disruption to how they work will need to adjust their commercial plans as Perth’s dramatic growth in solar PV was a market that was not anticipated.

costs increase exponentially between 90 and 100 per cent self sufficiency.

The boom-time in Perth was predicted to rapidly increase the need for

However, this may not apply if we move to using solar and batteries

peak power from the centralised system and hence an old coal-fired power

on a shared precinct basis. If a few hundred households get together the

station was recommissioned at a cost of $500 million and returned to

scale of opportunities increases substantially. What if suburbs began to

service the grid. However it was never needed as the household solar PV

reorganise themselves so they began to share PV and batteries with a local

reduced the demand on the grid so effectively it led the Minister for Energy

electricity supply system that could afford to have a bit more storage for

to conclude that the grid would never again need to build a power station.

those days with little sun?

He predicts that the growth of solar will mean 70 per cent of households

Energy hubs Such a project is about to begin in an ARENA funded exercise at White

will have PV’s on their rooftop by 2025. The market for solar meant this was ‘inevitable’.

Gum Valley – a suburb of Fremantle – where 120 houses are being built

Citizen utilities

with solar and batteries across the whole precinct, with the strata title

In this future grid, based on solar PV and battery storage, consumers are

companies managing the power. We will know in a few years whether

likely to create their own way of managing their local electricity needs

the WGV precinct will still need the grid based on the economics of

and how they dispose of their excess electricity. We have called this

precinct scale housing. The utility, Western Power, is part of this project

emerging phenomenon ‘citizen utilities’.

and watching with great interest. There are many reasons why the grid is likely to continue after solar and batteries are mainstreamed in all parts of the city. The grid is needed for equity and resilience. Grids are a major way of enabling people to have equal opportunities in our society. Grids do go out when their main lines get cut due to extreme weather, fires and earthquakes and in the new world of solar and battery storage these breaks will be lessened in their impacts but a grid can enable those parts impacted to be quickly restored as adjacent parts that have not been impacted can feed into the area from their storage. Grids and battery storage can work together in good times and bad. The grid is also needed to enable households to feed back their excess solar generation into helping cities to become regenerative. In Josh’s House he was still uploading 75 per cent of its surplus electricity to the grid generating green power to the system and making money for the family.

The evidence for these bottom-up responses to solar storage are that already technology platforms are being invented to sell excess local electricity generated by households using blockchain software. Microgrids will be feasible to both move electricity and payments associated with it. This will start with group housing where residential building managers can act as the utility generating a new profession of local energy managers as outlined in the White Gum Valley project. Similar exercises are being developed for lifestyle villages and industrial estates like those around airports where the owner can become a local utility. It is not hard to see this spreading to associations of households linked only through the internet. We are entering the era of the citizen utility. The democratisation of power is underway but we will still need a grid where people in cities and towns will need to work together. This is what cities have always been about. Today as we seek to build smart, inclusive, sustainable, solar cities we would do well to see they will be cities that still

Tomorrow’s grid

work together in many new ways, rather than individuals in self sufficiency.

The grid is needed but it will be very different in the future. From this

Peter Newman AO is Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University. He

Perth case study it is clear that there will be no further growth in the

has authored 16 books and 300 papers on sustainable cities. Peter has

centralised grid and no more power stations should be anticipated. Solar

worked in local government as an elected councillor, in state government

is happening very quickly and it enables power to be produced where it

as an advisor to three Premiers, and was on the Board of Infrastructure

is consumed. Big regional grids are likely to become a series of smaller

Australia. Peter recently returned from a book tour of the US and during

grids and in cities there will be multiple micro grids.

one radio show alone reached an audience of 20 million.

Solar & Storage 15


2017 Solar and Energy Storage Show Showcasing new heights of innovation and excellence SAVE THE DATE: May 3 and 4, 2017

VENUE: Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre

AUTUMN 2017 seems a long time away, however plans are in full swing for next year’s Solar and Energy Storage Show being organised by the Australian Solar Council and Energy Storage Council. Several key exhibitors including AllGrid Energy and Sunwiz have already booked their space for the annual exhibition and conference. And among the sponsors who have already secured their place are AC Solar Warehouse, Fronius, Enphase and Supply Partners. All sponsors and exhibitors will feature prominently at the Show which showcases new heights of innovation and excellence and attracts 4500+ industry delegates. Event Organiser David McCarthy says that in keeping with the 55-year tradition of the show a top line-up of industry guest speakers – experts in technology, policy and industry analysis – will present insights into market dynamics of the present and future.

“Something for everyone”: three specialist conference streams The Solar and Energy Storage Show is presented in three free-toattend conference streams: Professional Development, Industry and Policy, and Energy Storage. Exhibitor displays, networking events and product launches add to the sparkle of the Show that is organised by industry for industry, with every dollar devoted to growing the market or gaining political support for strong clean energy policies. Australian Solar Council and Energy Storage Council chief executive John Grimes says the months from January 2017, when feed-in tariffs decline sharply, set the scene for the rapid uptake of home energy storage systems and that the sector is well prepared for the fundamental shift in distributed energy. For this reason the 2017 Show stands to be bigger and better than before, showcasing global experts in Solar Energy and Energy Storage along with the latest technologies and innovations in storage and batteries, energy efficiency, lighting, sustainability and the built environment. Flashback to May 2016: The turn-up of more than 4500 visitors (500 from overseas) exceeded all expectations. Delegates viewed more than 80 exhibitors and the three free-to-attend conference streams. The full prospectus can be seen at

For more information about the 2017 Show contact: Brett Thompson Sales Manager +61 402 181 250

16 SPRING 2016

David McCarthy Event Manager +61 466 810 373

• LG Chem’s shiny new residential series • Masters of Collaboration: AllGrid Energy and Redback combine forces • Storage market projections • ABB technology in a portable hybrid plant • Selectronic case studies • Virtual power plants • EV chargers Image courtesy ABB

The world's first portable solar-diesel/gas microgrid provider, SunSHIFT™, a modular hybrid power system at a construction worker village in remote Queensland. ABB provided the complete automation solution in the pilot system that augments four brownfield diesel generators and reduces diesel fuel consumption.

Founding members

Platinum members DEVELOPMENTS IN THE STORAGE SECTOR continue apace, with a series of ground breaking projects taking shape to assess the capabilities and all-important reliability of the technologies. Two of the more notable projects are South Australia’s ‘virtual power plant’ and over in Western Australia the stand-alone power systems being trialed at properties at the edge of the grid. The number of households impacted by these projects may be relatively small but the programs themselves are significant in that they demonstrate the potential for clean energy and smart storage solutions in a new era of energy supplies. A transition that is as imperative as it is inevitable, and being led in no small part by a series of Australian storage innovations that too are reshaping the landscape, as illustrated on the following pages. Estimates of the full quota of residential storage units across the land vary wildly, it appears, but what we do know is that more homeowners are inquiring about the nature and potential of storage – the costs, the technology, the benefits. To provide some insights the Energy Storage Council is developing information forums for the general public.

Gold members

Silver members

Melbourne Energy Storage Forum The ESC starts off its program with the Melbourne Energy Storage Forum on Thursday September 15 at Melbourne Town Hall from 6.30 to 8.30pm. Chief executive John Grimes will present an overview of the storage sector, followed by an address by Melbourne City Councillor and Environmental Committee Chairman Arron Wood, Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio and Federal member for Melbourne and Greens federal spokesperson on Climate and Energy Adam Bandt. Renowned technical trainer Glen Morris will be on hand to discuss battery installations, storage performance and expectations. The Melbourne Energy Storage Forum is free thanks to sponsorship provided by Melbourne City Council. “The purpose of the Storage Forum is to enlighten more people about the advantages of home energy storage to enable them to determine if it suits them now or in the future. Attendees will gain a lot of knowledge about storage options, systems, costs and more. We will also be steering them toward the ESC’s Energy Storage Directory,” John Grimes said.

Certified Storage Program The Storage Showcases complement the ESC’s Certified Energy Storage Design and Install Program which focuses on all the essential elements of on-grid and off-grid battery installations. The ESC has partnered with the Canberra Institute of Technology to conduct this training for storage specialists across Australia. (See page 52 for more details.)

18 SPRING 2016

Bronze members Amplitude Consultants BALM Electrical B&R Enclosures Cola Solar Crystal Solar Energy CSA Services DPA Solar Dynamic Solar EMSc Asia Pacific Energy Analysis & Engineering

Energy Invest Australia Energy Smart Water Enervision Australia EV Power Australia Freshwater Group global-roam Governance Insight Green Sun Solar Greenlink Solar Grid Edge

I Want Energy Infinity Power K&L Gates Liberty Energy Lithium Battery Storage MO Energy MyPower MP Natural Solar Navitus Solar NewGen Solar

Off Grid Power Solutions Platinum Solar & Electrical QGE Radiant Energy Systems Renewable Energy Installations Reposit Power Solar Calculator Solar Hybrid Conversions Solar PV Commercial SolarIM

SolarQuotes Standard Solar Sunjuice Solar Towards Tomorrow Energy Tranter Engineering Tropical Energy Solutions Velocity Energy Wayne Kaufline ZAPD Energy Zest Energy

More than half your yearly diesel fits in this box. Diesel delivered to site is pricey stuff. After 18 months on a diesel-powered site, our UltraFlex energy storage solution (like the one above) achieved a 55% fuel reduction for our industrial client. We’ve also reduced generator run-time on a diesel/renewable microgrid from hours per day down to pretty close to nothing. (The generator ran for half an hour last quarter).

Our UltraBatteryÂŽ products are Australiandesigned technology with energy, grunt and smarts. We can use them to make astounding improvements to industrial diesel efficiency. What could you save with an UltraFlex on your site?

Storage news & views Progressive storage developments are always welcome and there is no shortage of projects, trials and technological breakthroughs on which to report. Here we cover just some of the recent advances that are paving the way for the future.

Virtual power plant in SA To better understand how battery storage and renewable energy can strengthen electricity grids, AGL is constructing a $20 million ‘virtual power plant’ of 1000 centrally controlled battery storage systems in South Australia.

The plant – which is the largest demonstration of a virtual power plant in the country – consists of 5 MW solar and 7 MWh storage capacity and will be rolled out in three phases over 18 months. Participants in phase one will be offered discounted prices on a Sunverge 5 kW/7.7 kWh energy storage system in which all 1000 systems are linked through centralised monitoring and management software enabling the batteries to be directed in unison. AGL declared it will help demonstrate alternative ways to manage peaks in energy demand, contribute to grid stability and support the higher penetration of intermittent, renewable generation on the grid. Renewables advocates have welcomed the development and suggest it will go a long way toward ushering in more clean energy mini power plants in communities. Ivor Frischknecht of ARENA which contributed $5 million to the project says it is like “adding a 5 MW power station … [that] can ease local network constraints, displace gas power and complement the Victorian interconnector, especially during times of peak demand … it could also act as a catalyst and provide evidence for regulatory change to enable more Australian virtual power plants.”

This energy storage system (left) looks right at home

ABB’s storage options Gracing the cover of this storage section is an aerial image of the SunSHIFT™ world first modular hybrid microgrid power system consisting of 141 kilowatt peak (kWp) of solar PV that was successfully deployed at a construction worker village in remote Queensland. The SunSHIFT pilot system is specially designed for quick installation as well as fast dismantling and relocation in response to “the changing needs of energy users in remote locations”. The portable hybrid power plant combines solar modules, conventional diesel/gas generators and optional energy storage allowing users to benefit from the advantages of renewable solar power without having to commit to a permanent traditional solar installation. ABB Australia supplied the complete automation control solution for the world first portable solar-diesel/gas microgrid. Its Microgrid Plus System integrates all plant components - solar inverters, controllers, remote access routers and Ethernet switches - and has been specially designed to coordinate the operation of hybrid power stations, stabilising and integrating renewable power generation into microgrid systems. Within just one week of leaving the factory located 1000 kilometres from the village, the hybrid system was unpacked and energized, augmenting four brownfield diesel generators and reducing diesel fuel consumption thereafter. After six months of operation the pilot system was packed up in less than 170 person-hours and successfully relocated. SunSHIFT is being developed and commercialised by Laing O’Rourke in collaboration with ARENA as a modular system that will be manufactured

20 SPRING 2016

SunSHIFT inverter close up with electrical engineer Michael Read

offsite and transported to installation sites in container-sized, prefabricated modules. In more ABB news, the company recently started shipping its central inverter, the ABB PVS980 which increases the amount of incoming solar power connected to a single inverter by as much as 40 percent: a dramatic improvement that the company says “completely changes the economics of a solar installation”. It is designed to seamlessly integrate into digital smart grids and operate efficiently in reducing the carbon footprint of electricity consumption.

Life gets better: LG Chem’s next storage step LG is a household name normally associated with white goods and electronics, but more homeowners will now be storing energy courtesy of LG Chem which recently released its updated residential battery range. EARLIER THIS YEAR South Korean Lithium-ion battery manufacturer LG Chem announced it could play a key role in “Australia’s solar renaissance”, and in mid July delivered on the promise by launching its next generation residential battery storage system (RESU). It was yet another first for Australia on the storage front with LG Chem selecting Australia for the launch of the system described as “completely redesigned both internally and externally” leaving a newly developed battery cell as the centrepiece. Changhwan Choi who in early 2016 declared “We see a quiet solar revolution brewing … this could be a critical decade for Australia; there is a massive sustainability potential that is yet to be fully tapped,” told Solar & Storage of his high hopes for the new RESU series. “The big advantage of our new battery system is that it affords flexibility, it’s a new solution, customers can choose any of the five configurations they want and design their own system to suit the needs of their household. For the first time, the new RESU series covers a complete range of inverter concepts in the market,” explained Choi who anticipates the bulk of interest among those with existing rooftop solar power systems sized 4 kW to 6 kW.

Flexible technology

Looking good Today’s consumers don’t just demand greater performance they also want sophistication. LG Chem has delivered on the aesthetics by offering the new systems in ‘bling’ silver and champagne gold. Systems are also lighter and smaller, a full four centimetres has been trimmed from the 6.5 kWh unit which weighs eight kilograms less than its predecessor and lays claims to being the highest energy density available on the ESS market. The RESU system can be installed outside or in, but the popular choice tends to be on the outside and with that in mind the new IP55-certified, waterproof casing takes care of weather variables.

Demand and uptake It’s no great secret LG Chem has already captured a large slice of Australia’s storage market, but now the company is receiving orders for the new series and the stock will be available at their chosen distributors by the time this magazine is in circulation. But what sort of demand does LG Chem – whose RESU series picked up the coveted ESS award 2016 at Intersolar Europe – anticipate? “We are still waiting for the Australian energy storage market to gather speed – the uptake of storage systems has not been quite as strong

The latest lithium-ion battery systems come in low voltage options of 3.3

as projected but that could be due to the price of systems, return on

kWh, 6.5 kWh and 9.8 kWh units (48 volts) and it is possible to combine

investment and the fact it is still relatively new technology,” Choi explained.

two in the range catalogued RESU3.3, RESU6.5 and RESU10 to shift

“But that is all set to change in the near future and we remain confident of

capacity up to 19.6 kWh.

shipping 3000 units.”

The high voltage range stems – RESU7H and RESU10H – are configured at 7 kWh and 9.8 kWh (400 volt). “The stacking ability of units which enables users to ramp up storage capacity to suit individual household requirements will come into its

The more shipped, the lower the cost: LG Chem anticipates prices will slide by as much as 15 per cent each year on the back of favourable supply demand cost efficiencies. In related news, in mid June LG Chem announced the compatibility of

own from next year when feed-in tariffs are slashed and owners of the

SolarEdge’s StorEdge solutions (inverters, power optimisers, and module-

1.5+ million PV systems seek to optimise the energy generated from

level monitoring services) with LG Chem’s new high voltage RESU10H and

their existing PV systems for use after dark,” says Choi. “Batteries – home

RESU7H batteries.

storage systems – are set to become increasingly popular.” and

LG Chem is at the forefront of the energy transformation, says Changhwan Choi (left), Manager of Australian ESS Business Development with Jinyong Park, Director of Asia-Pacific ESS 22 SPRING 2016


Masters of Collaboration Clean tech companies AllGrid Energy and Redback Technologies are setting a cracking pace within Australia’s storage industry by forging strategic collaborations that are reshaping the nature and appeal of distributed energy. Here we take a look at recent developments that illustrate the companies’ commitment to smart technology and renewable energy. DRIVEN BY THE DESIRE to hasten Australia’s transition to clean energy, AllGrid Energy and Redback Technologies have much in common. Both have developed solar and storage technologies that are as smart as they are compelling. Both Brisbane based entities also recognise the importance of forging relationships with like-minded entities to progress their agenda, and in July they got together to host a celebration to mark the start of a new partnership that sets the scene for a solar solution in outback Australia. A strategy to address energy reliability access issues facing Australia’s remote and indigenous communities. Under the newly forged partnership that blends complementary skills and technology, AllGrid Energy’s WattGrid, the solar storage device, now comes coupled with Redback’s smart hybrid inverter technology, “the intelligent platform for the use of storage”. Redback’s R&D department will now combine AllGrid’s IP with Redback’s IP to create a ‘super inverter’ that will provide the necessary intelligence to manage the technology systems in remote regions and implemented through The Oasis Strategy (see page 28 of Winter Solar & Storage). AllGrid Energy’s Ray Pratt – who is on first name terms with longterm environmental campaigner David Suzuki – and Redback’s Phil Livingston say the partnership is a natural fit. Livingston explained: “We are both young and emerging companies who are passionate and determined to reach the same vision of a renewable energy future. The idea [of the strategic partnership] is to use smart software to maximise the energy produced. “Our partnership and commitment to collaboration gives us agility and resilience in this new and exciting market.”

“Our partnership and commitment to collaboration gives us agility and resilience in this new and exciting [storage] market.”

Redback and AllGrid Energy staged a glittering event to celebrate their partnership, popular Songwoman Maroochy set the festive mood for the evening. BELOW: Dance performances from the Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts. Although the event that took place at the University of Queensland featured a serious line up of senior bureaucrats and industry identities, it was presented in an atmosphere of fun and festivities, with indigenous music and dance filling the atmosphere amid the formalities delivered by Queensland Energy Minister Mark Bailey, Ray McInnes Indigenous Business Australia and The Department of Aboriginal and TSI programs. Also present was Microsoft Innovation Centre, UniQest, John Grimes of the Solar and Storage Council and AllGrid Energy manufacturing partner Red Centre Manufacturing which is pivotal to technological developments.

The Oasis Strategy In a nutshell, AllGrid’s Oasis Strategy seeks to deliver life-sustaining systems through renewable and bio-technologies to remote communities anywhere in the world. AllGrid Marketing Manager Deborah Oberon describes it as a collaborative business model that fosters partnerships with companies working on the cutting edge of sustainability innovation technologies, in order to deliver the very best solutions that can be used to alleviate poverty and facilitate community self-sufficiency. “Affordable energy is the beginning of the process and then we need to address other issues,” she said. Recently AllGrid Energy staff were in Doomadgee – the remote community in far North West Queensland with a population of just 1700 – undertaking energy audits on houses that will have solar panels and the

24 SPRING 2016

Pictured (from left) are Ray McInnes, Phil Livingston, Minister Bailey, John Grimes and Ray Pratt

“We are both young and emerging companies who are passionate and determined to reach the same vision of a renewable energy future.” WattGrid storage system installed to replace the dirty, noisy and costly

including employing 60 new team members across software and

diesel generators. This project is in line with the Oasis Strategy.

hardware development to client service.

The surrounding communities have been without power for some time

This development follows the MoU signed earlier this year with UQ

which means most home comforts normally taken for granted – fridges,

aimed at accelerating the global commercialisation of Redback’s existing

lighting, TV, internet and other communications – are off the agenda.

storage technology, and signals the intensity and determination to build

“Four of the five communities around Doomadgee are abandoned

ever more robust systems with ever increasing appeal.

because they are too expensive to power on diesel and two of them have

The partnership involves UQ taking an equity position with Redback

no water,” Oberon explained. The energy supply project presents the

in return for exclusive licences to UQ research across its engineering and

prospect of a half decent lifestyle, including power for cooling systems

science sectors to develop disruptive technologies providing consumers

that make houses livable during the torrid summer months.

with a faster return on investment.

Elijah Wood, this year’s winner of the NAIDOC Youth of the Year

Speaking at the time of the announcement the self described “energy

award, emphasised how pleased Doomadgee’s local community was

disruptor” Philip Livingston said “The growth in clean energy has created

about the prospect of solar systems, saying “We have always wanted

a promising new market that is driving employment opportunities for

renewables here close to our traditional areas to help us stay on country.

those in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)

I would love to live out on our country and to build a camp out there

sectors. We’re hoping to bring on employees that have experience

powered by the sun.”

in industries like manufacturing and mining as these skills can be

Driving developments

repurposed.” His comments were timely given it was Science Week in Australia and

Not one to stand still for long, Redback Technologies recently unveiled

the spotlight was on a host of science based projects, initiatives and

its new state-of-the-art renewable energy technology development

events across the nation. “We’re looking forward to expanding Redback, bringing on new

facility at The University of Queensland (UQ) campus. The new facility will be home to the research and development of Redback’s software

talent to further develop our current solutions to make them even

and hardware solutions as part of a wider plan to expand the business,

smarter,” Livingston explained.

AUSTRALIA’S STORAGE MARKET 2  000 to 1,000,000 (one million)* by 2020: amount of battery storage systems in Australian homes *possibly two million by 2020

4  0% lower by 2018: decline in cost of battery storage installations 2018: home storage systems approach mainstream 6.6 GWh battery storage by 2020: Morgan Stanley forecast 6  .6 GWh battery storage by 2035: AEMO forecast $  50 to $90 million in 2020: impact of home battery storage on retail earnings of utilities Origin and AGL Source: Asia Insight: Solar and batteries, Morgan Stanley Solar & Storage 25

Just the previous week came news that Adelaide’s Torrens Rowing Club has selected Redback Technologies’ Smart Hybrid Solar Inverter System in the bid to optimise self-consumption and build up to long-term sustainably. The Club has an eye on the system’s upgradeability for future innovations, as and when the time is right. Redback launched the Smart Hybrid Solar Inverter System in October last year, providing a portal into the future offered by the Internet of Things (IoT).

Like minded entities It’s not long since Brisbane based Redflow announced its new ZCell home battery, the 10 kWh flow battery, was compatible with Redback’s Smart Hybrid Solar Inverter System, enabling consumers to timeshift solar power from day to night, store off-peak power for peak demand periods and support off-grid systems. The announcement followed Redflow’s extensive testing at its Adelaide-

Redflow’s Simon Hackett describes the Redback inverter “a smart piece of technology”

based battery lab to ensure ZCell could work “quickly and easily” with Redback’s Smart Hybrid Solar Inverter System. Simon Hackett of Redflow and Phil Livingston share a passion for smart technology that underpins innovation in clean energy innovation and they are equally pleased by the partnership. Livingston said combining forces with Redflow represented choice for consumers and solar installers and helped create cleaner energy for [all] children’s future, while Hackett declared “two Australian leaders in the emerging energy storage sector now have their devices working together … it’s really important for us to work alongside likeminded businesses such as Redback.”

The last word goes to Phil Livingston, whose big picture vision stands at the core of his operations. “We are currently at the cusp of a solar revolution as consumers begin to understand how solar can save them money, and the huge benefit it can have on the environment by eliminating dependency on fossil fuels. “We are innovating to ensure cleaner energy for future generations [and] Australia is the perfect place from which to build a globally relevant energy storage sector, we are building the infrastructure for the next generation grid.”

WHO MAKES THE MOST EFFICIENT AND SAFEST RESIDENTIAL STORAGE PRODUCT? SOLARWATT … INTRODUCING MYRESERVE ... MyReserve is the first product to meet all international standards for residential Li-Ion battery storage products. Fully tested and accredited by CETECOM and TUV. Raw materials to final product, MyReserve exceeds even automotive standards. Best efficiency ensures you get the most out of your storage product, industry leading guarantee and the ultimate in safety. Built to last, German engineered, no question.


nerg y, at All-E See us d 1532! s t an

Predictable power.

Grow your business in a new light — with Conext solar solutions. When your customers are looking for full off-grid solar power or energy backup and storage, connect them with solar inverters from Schneider Electric. Our Conext solutions provide homeowners with greater uptime and investment satisfaction — while your business grows. Conext SW and XW+ solutions: reliable power for assured peace of mind. TM

©2016 Schneider Electric. All Rights Reserved. Schneider Electric | Life Is On is a trademark and the property of Schneider Electric SE, its subsidiaries, and affiliated companies. • 998-19768954_GMA-US

Proven technologies.

Solar and storage in operation Selectronic is a family-run business with a committed staff who embrace the company purpose of providing innovative energy alternatives using experience and integrity. Seven current staff members (as well as two former employees) have installed solar and storage systems on their homes using Selectronic products. Case studies on these pages illustrate the versatility of the SP PRO multi-mode inverter charger in use by staff and all are achieving reduced (or no) electricity bills with “rock solid” power security.

Rod Scott, Sales Director THE SYSTEM: Solar Hybrid with Selectronic Certified Managed AC Coupling and DC coupling DETAILS: Rod’s system includes a 5 kW SP PRO Series I, a Selectronic Certified KACO grid-tie inverter, 2.5 kW solar PV array and an SP Plus Energy Centre with which was the precursor to the myGrid battery kit INSTALLATION DATE AND LOCATION: 2011; Ferntree Gully, Victoria WHY: Feed-in tariff optimisation and power security OUTCOMES AND BENEFITS: The home energy storage market has changed remarkably in recent years. In 2011 when Rod’s system was installed, home batteries tended to be installed with power security in mind. The batteries in Rod’s home are not designed for the daily cycling that self-consumption requires but rather his batteries stay in float and are ready to kick in when the grid fails. This battery back-up system has saved the day on many grid outages over the past five years. Rod was hosting a dinner party when there was a suburb-wide power outage; none of the guest noticed until Rod took them outside and showed them the rest of the street in darkness (see photo above). When Rod’s premium feed-in tariff comes to an end, his electricity bills will no longer be greatly off-set by exporting to the grid and selfconsumption will become a priority, thus necessitating a change of batteries. Selectronic has been delivering energy solutions to Australia and the world for more than 50 years. Selectronic began in 1964 as a manufacturer of components for the television and radio industry and in 1981 produced its first battery-based inverter. Today it is the only Australian company which both designs and manufactures multi-mode inverter chargers. 28 SPRING 2016

Ken Scott, Managing Director THE SYSTEM: Three-phase Solar Hybrid with Selectronic Certified Managed AC Coupling

DETAILS: Ken’s system is on three phases and includes 3 x 7.5 kW SP PRO Series II, 3 x Selectronic Certified ABB grid-tie inverters, a 6 kW solar PV array and a prototype myGrid kit with Sonnenschein lithium batteries

INSTALLATION DATE AND LOCATION: 2015; Camberwell, Victoria

WHY: Field testing system for the R&D department plus selfconsumption to reduce electricity bills

OUTCOMES AND BENEFITS: In addition to his role as MD at Selectronic, Ken heads up the Research and Development department. His system was installed primarily for verification testing of Selectronic’s products in the field; the prototype of Selectronic’s myGrid Lithium battery kit is currently installed on his family home in Camberwell. Unusually, the loads in this home are dispersed across three phases. The installation is carefully monitored from Selectronic’s head office in Chirnside Park via SP LINK software. Data from Ken’s home system can be modelled to see how the SP PRO and lithium batteries would operate in three phase commercial and industrial scenarios. Ken’s installation is also proof of SP PRO’s seamless transition from solar hybrid (grid-connect) to true off-grid. Last year Ken disconnected his home from the grid for two months just because he could!

Lindsay Hart, Sales Manager, Australia & New Zealand THE SYSTEM: Off Grid with both AC and DC coupled PV solar DETAILS: Lindsay’s off-grid system consists of a 5 kW SP PRO Series I, Selectronic Certified KACO grid-tie inverter, a 5 kW solar array and SLA batteries with a back-up diesel generator INSTALLATION DATE AND LOCATION: 1998; Toomuc Valley, Victoria WHY: Connection to grid electricity was prohibitively expensive when building his home OUTCOMES AND BENEFITS: Lindsay has been living off-grid since building his home in a quiet pocket of outer-eastern Melbourne almost 20 years ago (see photo at right). At the time, grid connection would have cost $25,000 – an outrageous and unnecessary cost for someone who has worked in renewable energy for more than 35 years! Being off-grid matches Lindsay’s personal values and allows him to ‘walk the talk’ in his role as Sales Manager for Australia and NZ. He has set up his power shed as a beta testing room in order to plug and play with the SP PRO and a variety of string-inverters such as a soon-to-bereleased Selectronic Certified Fronius inverter.

Rob Moss, Product Support Manager THE SYSTEM: Solar Hybrid with an SP PRO Series II and SLA batteries DETAILS: Rob’s system comprises a 7.5 kW SP PRO Series II, a

Pam Lawrence, Accounts Manager THE SYSTEM: Solar Hybrid with an SP PRO Series I and SLA batteries

DETAILS: Pam’s system comprises of a 5 kW SP PRO Series I multimode inverter, an ABB grid-tie inverter, a 3 kW Suntech PV array and a 10 kWh myGrid kit with SLA batteries INSTALLATION DATE AND LOCATION: 2013; Chum Creek, Victoria WHY: Self-consumption of solar generated power to reduce electricity bills OUTCOMES AND BENEFITS: Pam had installed a PV solar system but was sick and tired of receiving large electricity bills (see photo below). With low daytime loads during the week, most of the solar was going to waste. By adding storage to her solar energy system, Pam has drastically reduced her energy bills. Her quarterly energy bill last summer was just $68. Pam has made further energy efficiencies by replacing her old electric hot water tank system with an instantaneous gas system. Typically, water heating accounts for a quarter of household energy use – even more in this case. Pam found her average energy use declined from 24 kW per day to 14 kW with the switch to the gas hot water system.

Selectronic Certified ABB grid-tie inverter, a 4.4 kW solar PV array and a 16 kWh myGrid kit with SLA batteries INSTALLATION DATE AND LOCATION: 2016; Loch Sport, Victoria WHY: Power security on an unreliable grid and load shifting experiment OUTCOMES AND BENEFITS: Rob’s family love spending most weekends at their holiday house in Loch Sport on the Gippsland Lakes in eastern Victoria (see photo above) – but what they didn’t enjoy were the frequent power failures as the whole town is located on an unreliable electricity grid. By adding a solar and storage system to his holiday home, Rob doesn’t even notice when the power goes out. A neighbour recently complained that he missed the end of the footy when the power failed on a Friday night and was jealous of the cosy light shining out of the Moss holiday house. Rob also has an SP PRO and batteries installed on his home in Berwick for a study on load shifting. He charges his batteries using off-peak electricity rates and uses this stored energy to run his household during peak times. This method of load shifting has benefits in moving demand from the grid to different times of the day and reducing surges during peak times.

Solar & Storage 29

SOLAR ENERGY FORECASTS Global surge in solar PV • From 2% today to 13% by 2030: Global electricity generated by solar PV

• 40 GW to 227 GW: Rise of global installed PV capacity in past 5 years • 1,760 GW to 2,500 GW by 2030 and 4,500 GW by 2050: Anticipated expansion of PV capacity

Installed solar PV capacity CHINA • 35.78 GW in June 2015 • 43 GW in 2016 • 150 GW by 2020: China’s goal


Global investment in 2015 • US$67 billion in rooftop PV • US$92 billion in utility-scale systems

• US$267 million in off-grid applications

Average cost of solar PV • 5 to 10 US c/kWh in Europe, China, India, South Africa, US

Record low costs in 2015

• 5.84 c/kWh – UAE • 4.8 c/kWh – Peru • 4.8 c/kWh – Mexico May 2016

• 3 c/kWh bid at solar PV auction in Dubai • >50%: share of solar PV investment in RE sector Source: IRENA’s Letting in the Light: How Solar Photovoltaics Will Revolutionize the Electricity System

• 25 GW by 2015 • + 1.8 GW CSP

INDIA • 1.2 GW in 2012 • 2.3 GW by 2013 • 2.6 GW by 2014 • 3.7 GW by 2015 • 6.7 GW by March 2016 • 7.6 GW by May 2016 • 8 GW by July 2016 • 100 GW by 2022: India’s goal

AUSTRALIA • 4 GW in 2016 • 52 GW anticipated by 2040 (demanding solar investment of c.$3 billion p.a. or total $40 billion). Source: Various

Storage news & views Storage guesstimates Does anyone out there know the real number of storage units installed across Australia? The variation in estimates seems to be widening but we’ll start with Morgan Stanley which forecasts a rise in battery storage systems in Australian homes from today’s 2000 to one million by 2020. Or possibly two million. But as more than one consultant has found, present day figures could be significantly greater. A consumer survey by Energy Consumers Australia which was established early in 2015 by the Council of Australian Governments’ Energy Council allegedly revealed 2 per cent of Australian homes had installed storage units which, as

calculated by Nigel Morris of Roof Juice and based on the existing 1.5 million residential rooftop PV systems, would mean there are currently around 31,000 battery storage systems. Fifteen-fold greater than the educated guess of 2000 systems. Morgan Stanley also forecasts a 40 per cent drop in battery storage installation costs by 2018 and from there, a rapid rise in the uptake of storage as the economics stack up for more households. Already all the big names associated with storage are poised for a slice of the action; LG Chem has joined GCL and Enphase by choosing to launch its latest product on Australian shores (see page 22).

Vroom vroom … Still on forecasts, Bloomberg New Energy Finance is on safe territory announcing the rise of EVs will help drive down the cost of lithiumion batteries within the $250 billion small-scale battery storage market. Beyond Zero Emissions says the energy future “can and must include electric vehicles” and in its recent report Zero Carbon Australia: Electric Vehicles declares they are inevitable, yet the cost factor will drive the uptake.

32 SPRING 2016

The study’s Low Cost Scenario found that if oil prices continued rising while EV technology and battery prices fell, Australia could wipe six per cent of its greenhouse emissions by replacing a percentage of the fuel powered car fleet “at no additional cost to the Australian economy”. Battery charger points are vital to the viability of electric vehicles and one company that is charging ahead is Locality Planning Energy which has launched the first electric vehicle charging

station which is located at Noosa Heads, ahead of four more destined for South east Queensland. Brisbane-based Tritium developed and manufactured the charger that they claim will enable drivers to charge EVs 25 times faster than a standard home charger, and promises to be the first commercial station in Australia to provide electricity to an EV at a rate cheaper on a kilometre to kilometre basis than a traditional combustion engine vehicle. A dedicated mobile app will allow drivers to check the charging station’s availability, reserve a space and monitor their car’s charging progress. Energy Storage Council President Steve Blume however notes there are “virtually no EVs on Australian roads yet”. The total registered EVs worldwide is around 3500, with annual sales at around 1000 a year, representing about 0.04 per cent of all passenger vehicle sales thus a tiny percentage of registered vehicles. Greater choice and affordability of EVs is however around the corner and although Tesla already dominates the market it is not the only contender. General Motors’ Chevy Bolt EV is the carmaker’s first long-range all-electric vehicle. The compact utility vehicle with a range of more than 322 kilometres and a starting price of $US37,500 will be available in selected US states later this year … and who knows where next.

In one small corner of Western Australia…

Sunny South Australia In South Australia – a state whose energy supplies are under intense scrutiny at a time of high baseload costs due to regulatory failure and infrastructure overspending – interest is brewing over the $300-million Kingfisher storage project: the large-scale 20 MW solar PV plant with a minimum 2 MW battery storage that all being well will start feeding renewable power into the NEM at Roxby Downs by late 2017. The project under development by Lyon Solar is hailed as the first Solar and Battery project targeted at major energy users on the fringe of the electricity grid. And it’s set to get even bigger, by scaling up to 100 MW with 20 MW battery storage. A size that equates to 4000 Tesla home battery storage modules. The plant will contain 800,000 solar panels and shipping containersized batteries for power storage as shown in the artist’s impression below.

On the edge-of-grid in Western Australia stand-alone systems are being installed at several rural properties in a 12-month $4 million Western Power trial that involves solar panels, battery storage, an inverter and a backup diesel generator. The properties will also remain connected to the grid. The storage systems were constructed by Perth based Energy Made Clean, the name behind WA’s Alkimos Beach community storage project. EMC will maintain systems and is ringing in the future with its app that enables homeowners to check real-time power consumption and system performance. Depending on the success of the trial Western Power will assess the alternatives to poles and wires for its other edge-of-grid customers. Also of significance is the increasingly pro-renewables position of WA Energy Minister Mike Nahan, who in something of a turnaround now appears to accept the increasingly important – and necessary – role of renewables within the energy mix. The Minister described the edge-of-grid trial as “an exciting new initiative” and remarked these sorts of stand-alone systems present an option to power poles and lines in remote areas.

Crystal Solar Energy Pty Ltd


Enabling citizen powered energy market




620 mm

HETER POWER BOX Heter Power Box is a slim line wall mounted energy storage system. Power Box provides 7kWh of storage with 6000 cycle life at 80% DOD. This is an ideal storage system for new or retrofit installation.

850 mm





Ph: 1300 756 634

Storage Capacity Maximium Discharge Current Maximium Power Available(UPS Mode) DOD Cycle Life Replacement Warranty Performance Warranty Lifespan of LiFePO4

7 kWh 100A 5.6 kW 80% 6000 5 years 10 years 20 years Available end of September 2016



Powering AHEAD Many companies evolve through diversification, and Solar Juice is no exception. The nation’s largest wholesale distributor recently branched into power purchase agreements though its new arm Juice Capital. Here we talk to chief executive Jay Howard about the strategy that will boost the appeal and the uptake of commercial solar systems.

THE SOLAR JUICE media release that accompanied the launch of Juice Capital describes the newly formed entity as ‘a solar project finance expert with the skills and funding to provide Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and early stage project financing, to enable the development and commercialisation of partners’ solar and energy efficiency projects’. And that pretty much sets the scene for their mission to see more solar PV systems on rooftops and enable businesses to reap the benefits of lower energy costs and cleaner energy supply, through PPAs As Juice Capital chief executive Jay Howard told Solar & Storage, the solar energy industry has been preparing for the commercial PV sector to take off. “And it has certainly done that. Last year approximately 25 per cent of installations were classified commercial [greater than 10 kW]. This is in stark contrast to three years ago when commercial systems represented just 5 per cent of the market. Rapid growth in the commercial sector is actually happening as we speak, the market has changed significantly and is set to continue on this growth trajectory.”

Jay Howard of Juice Capital is pictured (on the right) with Andrew Burgess of Solar Juice

“Our mission at Juice Capital in partnership with Solar Juice is to provide whatever is required to help make a commercial solar project happen, that is EPC and funding and asset management and advice”

Solar Juice With a Head office in Sydney and warehouses in Perth, Adelaide, Townsville and Brisbane, Solar Juice lays claim to being one of the nation’s largest wholesale distributors. They supply the complete range of systems - Solar PV panels, solar inverters, components - through a network of thousands of dealers. For his part Solar Juice Sales Director Andrew Burgess says “The creation of Juice Capital is a natural progression for Solar Juice.”

Targeting the right market Juice Capital now wants to ramp up activity by making it as easy as possible for ‘the right’ sort of commercial entities to reap the benefits of clean energy and lower power prices. Who might the right customers be? Juice Capital reckons PPAs suit organisations that want their electricity expenses ‘clearly’ off-balance sheet. “They may not have the cash right now but are after an immediate ‘improvement to their bottom line’. The product also suits entities that want to establish green credentials, and don’t want to be 100 per cent at the behest of the utilities,” Jay Howard explained. “Also, those in regional areas who are paying more for power and don’t have as much choice [in terms of their power supplier] can save significant amounts on their energy bill from day one for example by signing up for solar power at

34 SPRING 2016

a cost of 13-15 c/kWh for power rather than the 20-30 c/kWh they may currently be paying “Given the fact that the majority of businesses are operational during the day, they will be using most of the solar power generated. So the level of feed-in tariffs, which in any event have been wound back across most states, are less critical.” PPA contracts would typically run for 10-15 years, and Juice Capital can steer the project from go to whoa.

Taking care of it all Both partners and end clients effectively outsource as many elements of the solar project that they choose – capital, equipment,

funding and overall engineering expertise – and in today’s busy age in which hundreds of decisions have to be made each day this has to be one of the strong selling points. Juice Capital arranges all necessary checks and balances to determine optimum rooftop PV sizes and configurations before drawing up the legal contracts. All of this is managed in-house. “Our value is really enabling our partners and end customers to tap in to our unique combination of our solar and financing experience and gain an immediate understanding as to what is the most suitable solar system with the appropriate finance structure to boot.” Howard explained. “We not only design and install systems but also carry the license to sell electricity. We have the specialist

staff, networks and systems and funding to provide the full solar service.” All systems are monitored remotely to ensure ongoing optimum performance, and in the event of hitches or glitches Juice Capital steps in to manage them. However very few problems are anticipated; under the arrangement Juice Capital’s systems are all tier-one equipment and installed by the best, as is (and should be) common practice under PPAs. “As we are selling the power that is generated the systems must perform optimally over the long term. Our view is that PPAs are to a certain extent self-policing, They need to ensure a long term robust performance with reliability,” he said. As an investor, Juice Capital’s return on investment requirements demand this stable long-term performance.

Key benefits of PPAs for businesses Jay Howard lists the primary benefits, saying PPAs: • Provide a known or fixed electricity rate for a long term – risk minimisation • Reduce the risk of substantial variation in overhead through energy costs • Transfer all risk of ownership, maintenance, monitoring and insurance to a third party • Place emphasis on ensuring maximum productivity of the solar system • Tangible and visible example of social responsibility which makes sense financially • Present strong environmental practices and meeting personal carbon emission targets • Require no cash investment, and • Provide a tax deductible operational expense Depending on the site characteristics, PPAs may also assist in secondary benefits and savings including: reducing peak demand costs; improving power factor; and improving phase balancing Other benefits to take in to consideration: Ongoing maintenance, insurance, possibility of system failure, under performance; and lost opportunity had the money been spent elsewhere on core business needs; and associated losses if the solar provider was not around anymore.

Regional expectations PPAs suit some regions better than others. For example the proposition in general can be stronger the further north of the country which sees more sunshine. This supports greater production from the system and according to Jay Howard the PPA product in general is on the move in North Queensland and WA. Businesses in these regions are also often paying a fair bit more for their electricity, so the PPA proposition becomes even more attractive. What about battery storage systems – have PPAs kicked in yet? “Not yet. It’s still expensive and the economics don’t quite stack up.”

Project scope “Overall for us at Juice Capital we have a big plan to execute. However we have all the solar and finance capabilities under the one roof. So we feel we have all angles covered. And we are not fussy which pieces of the EPC (Engineer,

Procure, Construct) we provide. Accredited partners can execute the entire EPC if they choose, and we will provide the appropriate finance. Many partners are comfortable with Juice Capital providing the equipment/ procurement, effectively protecting equipment credit lines. “We have all the equipment, warranties, design, engineering, installation and appropriate longer term funding that enable the power agreements to get off the ground. “Moving forward we plan to broaden our product range and provide additional solar finance products, and a range of finance partners, including the banks are in scope to become long term partners. Both residential and commercial finance packages will be coming down the tube by the end of the year,“ Jay said. After cutting his teeth in operation leases in IT in the ‘90s Jay moved onto medical equipment and then seven years ago “fell”

into solar, the industry which he is “entirely passionate about”. If his name is familiar it is because he established Classic Funding Group’s Clean Energy Finance business.

Early days Although the Juice Capital business has only just kicked off, the pipeline is solid, says Jay. “We are well positioned with a broad set of deliverables and a finger on the solar pulse. The blend of both solar and solar funding capabilities sets us up to add value to different types of partners, and to do whatever is required to make the project happen.“ Solar & Storage looks forward to dropping back into their offices at ‘The Zero Carbon Hub’ in Sydney down the track to find how plans are progressing, and perhaps speak to a happy customer or two.

“If a customer wins a deal by presenting an attractive Power Purchase Agreement it may be one they would not have won in the past. Using smart finance plus any combination of EPC …. our goal is to help our partners to develop that solar system or plant or farm, and ultimately deliver cleaner cheaper power.” Solar & Storage 35


The Greening of Hills College Here we look at a significant solar and storage project that was possible thanks to ASM Money.

ESTABLISHED IN 1992, Hills Educational Foundation situated 40 kilometres

Critical to the success of the project was finance so ZED in consultation

from Brisbane is surrounded by its own 18 hole International golf

with Hills directors engaged ASM Money to help create a unique finance

course (that has attracted the likes of world No. 1 Jason Day) on a “truly

solution. ASM Money gained support from the NAB Bank which embraced

spectacular” 660 acre semi-rural property.

the concepts being targeted, enabling the installation to proceed.

Like all large and growing Australian educational institutions, Hills was faced with an energy budget that seemed to grow disproportionately

Tech specs

larger year on year especially as energy tariff rates climbed higher and

The plant consists of a combination of the SunStalker® Dual Axis Solar

school enrolments increased.

Tracking PV System with Capacitor Energy Storage Backup for short

The educational institution decided that it should lead by example in

term (less than one hour) energy storage and the Amp-El Energy™ Solar

addressing the energy situation, and embarked on a project that would see

Thermal Electric plant with Thermal Energy Storage for long term (up to

the College source all its energy needs on site from purely solar means.

five days) energy storage.

Many have talked about it but Hills decided to be proactive and set a

The unique patented Organic Rankin Cycle Turbine N-GEN® used in

target to become a truly green school (energy wise) and as such would

the Amp-El Energy™ Solar Thermal Electric plant was designed by Ahmed

possibly be unique anywhere in the world given the size and extent of the

El Safty (A El Safty & Associates) who is a Chartered and Professionally


Registered Chemical Engineer and Founder and CEO of ZED. The

Following discussions with Australian based Sustainable Energy Equities

equipment is manufactured by ZED in Queensland which claims the

trading as Zero Energy Developments (ZED), it was agreed to work

technology is among the most efficient of its type available on the market

collaboratively with them towards achieving the College’s goals.


The College [wanted to] source all its energy needs on site from purely solar means … on completion the solar energy equipment will enable the College to operate 24/7 all year around due to the unique energy storage and management design.

36 SPRING 2016

Pictured are Mike Maurer, project manager (left) and Joe Marinov, CEO of the school ripping up their electricity bill

On completion, the solar energy equipment will enable the College to operate 24/7 all year around due to the unique energy storage and management design arrangement. The College will be able to export any excess energy back into the grid at peak hours when the College demand is low and the local market demand is high. The targeted completion date for the main systems is September 2016 with additional stages complete by the end of November 2016.

Interest in this unique project has risen considerably now the project is near to completion with organisations from as far afield as the Middle East, North Africa, USA, India, South East Asia and China arranging to visit the College in the coming months. The College plans to expand its Vocational Training capabilities to include renewable energy courses to help ensure there is the resource pool of skilled people for local industry as this new approach to local solar energy production becomes more popular.

Hills Education Foundation Hills Educational Foundation was established in 1992, incorporating Hills International College, Hills Language College, Hills Golf Academy, Hills Kindy and Vocational Training College. The College was one of the first in Australia to be purpose built for both Australian and International students. Hills is a true kindergarten to year 12/VET, co-educational, non-denominational day and boarding facility. Hills is a unique institution educating young people from Australia and abroad where language and cultural diversity are encouraged and

celebrated. Hills also plays host to visiting tour groups every year and is the ‘destination of choice’ for most school tour groups coming into Australia, and to date Hills has hosted literally thousands of students as short term visitors from many sister schools throughout the world. Hills Golf Academy is arguably one of the premier junior golf training facilities in the world, with a string of successes on a professional level (for example Jason Day) and there has been an unrivalled number of graduates who have won college scholarships both in Australia and the United States.

One of these panels is a Lemon. Can you spot the difference?


ne of these panels will provide up to 20 years of great service. The other will be lucky to work longer than 24 months after installation. Solar panels often look very similar, but their performance can differ dramatically. This is why True Value Solar only installs products that have the quality and performance to meet our customers’ expectations. We do not promise unrealistic expectations from solar power systems. We do not solicit business through cold calling. We do not provide products that are unable to be serviced and supported within Australia. This is our pledge, and we stand by it. If you are in the market for solar power system for either a home, small business or large commercial project, True Value Solar is the number one choice. We have the experience, knowledge and the support of the German M+W Group to bring peace of mind on any size project.

13 76 52


Pushing boundaries and driving developments RMIT PhD student Maja Gajic presents an overview of some of the world-class research underway at RMIT to enhance the performance of solar energy systems and drive sustainability. AUSTRALIA HAS ALWAYS BEEN CONSIDERED a global leader in solar research. Starting around 1953, the CSIRO’s work on solar hot water heaters led to one of the first papers which outlined the principles on which the design of solar hot water heater could be based. Gradually the solar hot water industry expanded and received support from the government at the time with a decision to install these systems in Government owned houses in the Northern Territory. By 1970 the solar hot water industry was well established and Universities started setting up their own R&D programs. Other success stories of Australian solar research include commercialisation of photovoltaic technologies from UNSW and world record-breaking solar cell efficiencies.

Harnessing solar power At RMIT University there are several groups working on different ways of using the sun’s energy. RMIT has a strong focus on industry collaboration and project based learning for its students as well as success in delivering large grant based projects such as ARENA programs – MUSIC and the Spectral Beam Splitting Project implemented at the Laboratory for

“There is also a considerable amount of research going on in the field of renewable-energy hydrogen energy systems.”

Figure 1. Shows the operation of the beam splitting receiver developed at RMIT. Concentrated sunlight is directed to the receiver where filters absorb part of the solar radiation that heats up the working fluid. A narrow band of radiation is passed through to the PV cells which are sitting just below the PV cooling channel. Innovative Fluid and Thermal Systems (LIFTS), of which I am a part. The spectral beam splitting project successfully delivered a working prototype of a hybrid photovoltaic and solar thermal collector based on a linear concentrator. It is capable of generating high-grade thermal energy concurrently with electricity with demonstrated total efficiency of 50 per cent with a receiver temperature of 120°C.

Industry collaboration A program that develops strong industry and real world research applications is RMIT’s 2016 Greenhouse and Sustainability program that connects industry with RMIT undergraduate and Masters students to help organisations solve sustainability problems. An example of a project in this program is the design and development of a hybrid generator, diesel and battery system at the post-entry quarantine facility in Victoria for biosecurity operations. This project involves the collaboration of Selectronic, Ecoult, Si Clean Energy and is run by the innovative business Green Power Solutions with the aim to minimise generator fuel consumption with the addition of PV and storage. The Greenhouse and Sustainability program is always looking for businesses to partner with to provide students to help solve sustainability problems.


Figure 2. The Beam splitting receiver at RMIT University is capable of generating high grade thermal energy concurrently with electricity with demonstrated total efficiency of 50% with a receiver temperature of 120°C.

38 SPRING 2016

And finally a mention must go to the RMIT Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy group (RMIT Energy CARE) that focuses on research, development and demonstration of projects relating to energy conservation and renewable energy systems, including a 200 m2 Sustainable Energy R&D park located at RMIT’s Bundoora East Campus.

Within the Energy CARE group there is also a considerable amount of research going on in the field of renewable-energy hydrogen energy systems, exemplified by the major project funded by the Australian Defence Science and Technology group on the development and demonstration of a low signature, rechargeable and portable energy supply using a reversible hydrogen fuel cell. This project will demonstrate a 2 kW rechargeable and portable power supply for defence applications based on a hydrogen fuel cell and solid state metal hydride storage and a performance comparison will be made against diesel generators and lithium ion batteries.

RMIT University student Maja Gajic is designing a hybrid solar photovoltaic/ thermal collector as part of her PhD in Engineering. Her interests include how solar technologies can assist with development, leading her to volunteer with the It’s Time Foundation which delivers renewable power solutions to remote schools in Fiji with the dual objective of reducing carbon emissions and enhancing education in target communities. Maja has visited Fiji twice with the foundation to assist with deployment of stand-alone solar systems and has also helped the foundation by researching different battery options including a trial of Aquion sodium ion batteries.

Research reach and focus RMIT University was historically a teaching college, then University and in the past ten or so years has become a research-focused University with a good mixture of applied and fundamental research outputs. The examples discussed in this article are not an exhaustive list of research being undertaken in the field of solar energy capture however they do illustrate RMIT’s world-class programs.

References research/research-areas/aerospace-mechanical-and-manufacturing-engineering/ laboratory-for-innovative-fluid-thermal-systems Stanley, C, Mojiri, A, Rahat, M, Blakers, A and Rosengarten, G 2016, ‘Performance testing of a spectral beam splitting hybrid PVT solar receiver for linear concentrators’, Applied Energy, vol. 168, pp. 303-313.

Micro Urban Solar Integrated Concentrators (MUSIC) With a project value of $13,200,000 in which ARENA has committed $4,521,191, MUSIC takes a completely new approach to collecting solar energy by developing innovative, thin and lightweight concentrating solar collector platforms (which ‘collect and concentrate’ the energy from sunlight) that deliver up to 400 degrees Celsius thermal energy and electricity from rooftops. The project will help create a critical mass of activity to position Australia as a world leader in distributed generation of solar energy, spawning new products and services for the clean energy market.


Regional PV simulations The Australian Solar Council provided a letter of support to a successful ARENA project that will create and deliver real-time distributed PV simulations to six Distribution Network Service Providers across Australia. Here project leader and solar enthusiast Nick Engerer explains details and implications of the work that he successfully took one step further.

Project overview THERE ARE MORE THAN 1.5 MILLION small-scale PV systems installed across Australia, with that number continuing to grow. In some areas, there are enough PV systems installed to begin to create problems on the distribution networks of poles, wires and substations that deliver power to our homes and businesses. In areas where problems arise – such as voltages drop or rise too far due to changes in solar power output – distribution network service providers (DNSPs) will begin to impose limitations on the amount of additional solar that can be installed. When such limits arise, these parts of the distribution networks have reached their ‘maximum solar penetration level’. As a solar enthusiast and researcher who wants to see a renewably powered world, I am working to ensure that maximum penetration levels climb as a high as possible, so that more Australians can enjoy the benefits of having solar on their home or business. However, right now, there is a significant limitation on solar penetration levels because DNSPs don’t have enough feedback on how much power is being generated by their network of rooftop PV systems at any given point in time. This is because small-scale solar PV systems are generally not actively monitored, and DNSPs presently have no way to incorporate small-scale solar power generation into their operational systems.

“I came up with a big idea: why not try to deploy this tool across ALL of Australia? What would it take? Could it be done? Would anyone listen to a young researcher with big ideas and a short CV?”

40 SPRING 2016

This is a problem that I focused on very intensely during the course of my PhD, where I developed a distributed solar modelling tool called the Regional PV Simulation System (RPSS). This tool made it possible to estimate the current power output from all of the rooftop solar PV systems in Canberra (over 15,000 of them), and required numerous advances in solar radiation and PV modelling to make it all work. It operated by using detailed information about the size and location of the solar PV systems installed in Canberra, provided by local DNSP ActewAGL, and monitored PV data from approximately 100 users on the webpage, a place where PV owners report their power output. By using information about the power output from the ~100 monitored PV systems along with some fancy science, I was able to estimate the power output at all of the 15,000+ unmonitored sites and tell ActewAGL how much power generation was coming from their smallscale solar PV installs.

The next step As I finished up my PhD in early 2015, I came up with a big idea: why not try to deploy this tool across ALL of Australia? What would it take? Could it be done? Would anyone listen to a young researcher with big ideas and a short CV? Well it turns out, they would listen, and it wasn’t just a big idea, it was a great, big idea with real interest from industry! Now, thanks to supporters like Peter Bulanyi of Si Clean Energy and Benn Masters of Solar Hub who provided $300,000 of industry funds, I am currently the Chief Investigator on a $3.6 million

ANU-led project that has attracted $1.018 million of ARENA funding to deploy the RPSS to six Australian distribution networks (ActewAGL, Essential Energy, Ergon Energy, Horizon Power, Power and Water and Western Power).

Real-time estimates This project, titled ‘Real-time operational PV simulations for distribution network service providers’ will deliver real-time estimates and forecasts of the PV power generation on the distribution networks of participating DNSPs. Each DNSP will provide my research team with detailed information about the small-scale solar PV systems installed on their network, and in return, we will work with them to deliver our simulations and forecasts into their operations rooms, where it will guide day to day decision making regarding the management of their network. Our modelling and forecasting efforts will also draw on data from innovative sources, such as real-time power output data from inverter companies SMA Australia and Fronius, who have tens of thousands of monitored PV systems in their Australian databases. The project will also use data from the most advanced weather satellite in the world, Himawari 8. This geostationary satellite scans Australia at 1 km resolution every ten minutes and will serve as the primary tool for forecasting solar PV power output into the near future (tens to hundreds of minutes ahead of time). Our overall project goal is to demonstrate that by providing real-time distributed solar intelligence to DNSPs, we will enable them to manage solar PV integration challenges with solutions such as energy storage

technologies and demand management, all of which will allow higher penetrations of solar PV on Australian electricity networks. I look forward to updating readers of Solar & Storage about project outcomes! Dr Nick Engerer is an academic at The Australian National University who is passionate about directing research toward industry-relevant outcomes. Originally from the United States, he has a background in meteorology, including the study of severe weather and solar radiation. Nick has relocated to Australia permanently. Follow Nick on or @nickengerer on Twitter.

Quick look at All-Energy Australia Exhibition and Conference 2016


• 150+ industry speakers

What not to miss at WIND ENERGY

Australia’s most comprehensive



• 100+ exhibitors • 7 conference streams • 2 networking events • 4,260 attendees at last event • Free to attend


An RENEWABLE insider’s guide to Australia’s largest clean and renewable energy event ENERGY EVENT ENERGY STORAGE

Thousands of clean and renewable industry experts are expected to attend this year’s All-Energy Australia Exhibition and Conference, taking place in Melbourne from 4 – 5 October 2016. With the free-to-attend event just around the corner, we spoke with the All-Energy Australia team to glean some of the 2016 highlights. SOLAR ENERGY





Earn Continuous Professional Development Points WAVE & TIDAL


Hear from world-class speakers The conference schedule is structured around 12 session categories,

4 – 5 OCTOBER 2016 with presentations made by more than 150 industry leaders, including THE CLEAN ENERGY COUNCIL’S Professional Development Day provides a Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre representatives from SunWiz, Canadian Solar, SunPower, the Clean

one-stop-shop for solar installers to get their fix of expert advice on the

Energy Council, Clenergy, SolarAus, DNV GL Energy, Solar Analytics,

big design and installation issues facing the industry. Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the






Energeia, GreenSync, SMA Solar Technology, Ergon Energy and

Industry conferenceAttendees and exhibition Conference offered something for all partsExhibitors of the sector. NetworkingCitiPower/Powercor. Speakers Events Streams at last event AGL Chief Executive Officer Andy Vesey and Powershop Chief Executive “All-Energy is a genuinely exciting event which offers everything from

Officer Ed McManus will go head-to-head as part of a panel discussion free professional development opportunities for solar installers to political REGISTER NOW AT ALL-ENERGY.COM.AU FREE TO ATTEND and policy insights in the main sessions, varied networking opportunities in the Opening Plenary, chaired by the Clean Energy Council’s Chief and the solar industry’s night of nights at the ATRAA Dinner,” he said.

Executive Kane Thornton.

For the first time, attendees who participate in the Professional Development Day and ATRAA Conference will be able to accrue 15 Continuous Professional Development points per session attended. This includes updates from the Clean Energy Regulator as well as what’s happening with Australian Standards and the current endeavours in Accreditation. System designers will be able to explore design issues for 30-100 kW

On the exhibition floor Leading exhibitors confirmed include Canadian Solar Australia, ABB Australia Pty Limited, Jinko Solar, Fronius Australia, Trina Solar, SMA Australia, Huawei Technologies, Enphase Energy, RES Australia, Clenergy, MPower, Victron, Redback, Ingeteam, RF Industries, SolaX

systems, and differences in inverter technologies for battery storage.

Power, Schletter, IMEON Energy, AC Solar Warehouse, IPD and Outback

Installers will learn about requirements for system upgrades and a


practical solution to the earth fault alarm requirement. The Professional Development Day will finish with industry leaders

Some highlights on display will be SMA Australia’s recently developed Sunny Boy Storage battery inverter designed for high voltage batteries

taking to the stage to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly, how to

like the Tesla Powerwall, Enphase Energy’s Enphase Home Energy

achieve industry best practice inspection results and projections for the

Solution and ABB’s REACT (Renewable Energy Accumulator and

future of Australia’s PV industry.

Conversion Technology).

42 SPRING 2016

Special events Special events include an informal Grand Networking Event, sponsored by SMA, on the first day for delegates to network and unwind. While the Keynote Plenary and Grand Closing Plenary Debate will look at the high level challenges and opportunities for the sector. The Clean Energy Council will also host the night of nights for the solar industry, the ATRAA Dinner, the Professional Development Day for solar designers and installers and the Women in Renewables Luncheon which aims to achieve better gender balance at all levels of the renewable energy industry.

EVENT DETAILS What: All Energy Australia Conference and Exhibition When: 4 – 5 October, 2016 Where: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf

Cost: Free To access the 2016 program and register for free, visit the All-Energy Australia website: For more information about the program or exhibitors, contact: Phoebe Saunders, Porter Novelli Melbourne Ph: 03 9289 9555, Email:



American made S-5-PV kits and clamps are the industry standard in metal roof mounting hardware. That’s why the biggest names in business rely on our solar mounting solutions. They know that it’s only secure, if it’s S-5! secure.

Learn more at or call 888-825-3432.


$ Billions for fossil fuels: Big Four Banks fuel the fire

Darryn Van Hout of Australian Solar Quotes

Darryn Van Hout of Australian Solar Quotes says Australia’s large-scale renewable energy sector faces the prospect of “falling off a cliff” unless effective long-term financing strategies are established.

IN 2015, a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance blamed financial

coal mines in the Galilee Basin and expansion of the coal export terminal

distress in the Australia’s renewable energy industry on the $206.9

project at Abbot Point.

million, 90 per cent, slump in large-scale renewable energy investment in the 12 months to 31 March 2015. The report noted only one large-scale renewable energy project (owned

Dark developments According to the Market Forces study, just $162 million was loaned to

by Infratech Industries in Jamestown, South Australia) had been financed

renewable energy projects in the first six months of 2016. This is in stark

to the tune of just $6.6 million in the first quarter of 2015, down from the

contrast to the big four banks’ loans of $5.5 billion to Australia’s fossil

$46 million in the first quarter of 2014.

fuel sector in 2015. Since 2008 the fossil fuel industry has received six

Fast-forward to June 2016 and Market Forces has revealed what many in the renewable energy industry feared – Australia’s four biggest banks ANZ, NAB, Westpac and Commonwealth had financed three-quarters of

times more than what the renewable energy sector received in funding from the big Aussie banks. The study also found that for every six dollars loaned to oil, coal

Australia’s fossil fuel deals. All up the banks funnelled $36.7 billion into

and gas, just one dollar went to the renewable energy sector. The

fossil fuel projects at a time of record lows in clean energy investment.

Commonwealth Bank had the worst ratio of fossil fuel to renewables

Despite the federal government’s climate pledges at COP21 in Paris last year, the study concluded that the four major banks were effectively a “financial linchpin” for major fossil fuel projects, and noted they will play an integral role in upcoming projects including the proposed mega

lending, with almost $13 loaned to fossil fuels for every dollar to renewable energy since 2008. However, inadequate investment in renewables is not entirely the big fours’ fault, says Julien Vincent of Market Forces. Continued on next page

“The study also found that for every six dollars loaned to oil, coal and gas, just one dollar went to the renewable energy sector.” 44 SPRING 2016

Linuo Ritter’s flying visit LINUO RITTER INTERNATIONAL Vice General Manager Linjun (Mike) Zhu and sales Director Guili Shan (Erica) recently flew in from their home base in Jinan, China, and took off on a whistle stop tour of Australia to meet key partners and collaborators. The Sino-German company that specialises in solar thermal, solar PV and air-source heat pumps has a presence in Australia stretching back nine years, but mindful of the winding back of Australian government rebates the team was here to explore more opportunities in the solar thermal residential market as well as large-scale heaters: winter space heating and summer cooling. Mike added that Linuo Ritter carries out significant levels of R&D and is keen to source opportunities for solar thermal research and development with companies in Australia and Apricus stands out as a contender at the residential level. He also commented on Australia’s decentralised, smaller and more fragmented market unlike China where large-scale solar thermal systems are more the norm. “For us right now the most important thing is to find a partner in Australia to help us make connections to end users who can carry out local installations,” Mike explained. “Our ideal partner is a company that is not only focused on selling but also engineering, with a fully equipped team that can provide the client the solar thermal solution as well as the all around technical support that is required. We want to offer the full packaged solution.” Continued from previous page “This is what you get when you have years of debate about whether the renewable energy target should be cut and you have a carbon price that is cut and then you have a billion dollars taken out of the CEFC to paper over cracks, trying to protect the reef,” he said, adding the four banks had made commitments to invest in the renewable energy sector and should have publicly called for change if the government policy was a hindrance. “Australia’s big banks are getting credit and applause for carbon reduction and renewable energy – so where are they in the public debate?” Vincent asked. ‘Why aren’t they saying ‘hey we’re doing our best but there aren’t enough opportunities being created’? “They are four of the biggest and most powerful companies in Australia and if they wanted policies that would let them unlock this [renewable energy] finance – which is in the tens of billions of dollars ready to deploy – then they should urge the federal government to implement strong policies in support of clean energy,” he added.

The impact of dwindling investment in large-scale projects Recent statistics from BNEF indicate that investment in large-scale renewables, including solar and wind, slumped to just $US69 million in the first quarter of 2016, the same level seen during the investment freeze of 2014. This means unless investment in large-scale assets picks up before the end of this year, the large-scale renewable energy target will fall short by 2018. Almost all of today’s investments in large-scale renewables are found in projects commissioned by the ACT Government along with its reverse auction scheme, and the CEFC. Meanwhile dozens of viable clean energy projects in the pipeline struggle to obtain funding.

Australian Solar Quotes notes that the bulk of clean energy growth in Australia has been initiated by small-scale investors like businesses and homeowners installing rooftop solar panels, with more battery storage systems also coming online. Darryn Van Hout is founder and editor of Australian Solar Quotes. His keen interest in the Australian energy sector stretches over ten years and within that time he has closely monitored the trends, technologies and direction of the market. He has partnered with local and global solar energy organisations including installers, retailers, manufacturers and professional industry bodies.

Solar & Storage 45


Testing a thirty-year-old photovoltaic module An article by Martin Holladay, Senior Editor of US based publication Fine Homebuilding, Green Building Advisor caught our attention for all the right reasons. In his story the PV pioneer recently tested his threedecade-old PV modules and here he relays the “rock solid” findings.

IN 1980, after living in the woods of Vermont without electricity for five years, I bought my first photovoltaic (PV) module. Responding to a small ad in Mother Earth News, I sent a check to Joel Davidson, a back-to-theland urban refugee who was facilitating a bulk purchase of PV panels. From his off-grid acreage in Pettigrew, Arkansas, Davidson was selling 33-watt Arco Solar modules for $275 each. Many people ask, “How long do solar panels last?” To mark the 30th anniversary of my first PV module, I decided to climb up on my roof and bring it down for testing. My Arco Solar panel (model 16-2000) was manufactured at a plant in Chatsworth, California. The module was designed to charge a 12-volt battery at a maximum voltage of about 16 VDC. When new, the 33-watt module produced 2.0 amps in full sunlight. After being exposed to the weather for 30 years, how’s the old Arco module working now?

SolaX powers ahead SOLAX POWER manufactures solar inverters for the hybrid inverter and battery technology market. The SolaX Power range of products incorporates the very latest in solar innovation as a result of continued focus on R&D and commitment to pushing back the boundaries of what is possible – a journey that has led to the launch of the ground-breaking X-Hybrid battery storage system; a product that continues to evolve as it adapts to market demands and technological advancements. Now in its third generation, X-Hybrid is an advanced and feature-rich hybrid inverter and continues to be a best-selling battery storage solution in a number of key global markets. The X-Hybrid is compatible with many of the leading battery solutions, and can be applied to both single and three phase systems. X-Hybrid offers maximum flexibility, the inverter can be installed independently of the batteries or the whole system can be enclosed in a single all-in-one unit – the SolaX Box.

46 SPRING 2016

Better than factory specs I decided to test my old PV module by connecting it directly (with no intervening battery) to two different 12-volt loads: a 35-watt incandescent light bulb, and a blower rated at 4.5 amps (about 54 watts). I ran the test in my backyard, on a sunny day at about 11:30 a.m. The outdoor temperature was about 50°F (10°C). The old PV module passed with flying colours. It easily powered up the light bulb; my Fluke multimeter showed that under a full load of 2.015 amps, the module’s voltage was an impressive 14.93 volts.

Cranking out 2.5 amps in full sunlight The next test was more challenging: I hooked up the 54-watt blower directly to the panel. Wow! The blower started spinning at a fast clip.


SolaX employ more than 80 senior engineers at a state of the art 240,000 square metre production facility that has benefited from more than $20,000,000 of investment in advanced manufacturing and testing facilities. The company is driven by its commitment to R&D, and SolaX Power is proud to be affiliated with the Zhejiang University, one of China’s leading research universities and home to the only national silicon material laboratories in China’s ‘Silicon Valley’. The SolaX Power manufacturing and research centres in China are supported by 16 international offices offering 24-hour, 7 days a week service and support to customers in 47 export countries. The SolaX commitment is to supply to customers the most advanced, reliable, safe and cost effective range of PV products and energy system solutions possible; products that are engineered to meet the world’s growing energy demands.

According to the Fluke multimeter, the blower was drawing 2.5 amps from my ancient solar panel — more power than would be expected from the factory specs. I described my test to Raju Yenamandra, the North American head of sales and marketing for SolarWorld, the current owner of the old Arco Solar factory in California. “That’s unbelievable,” said Yenamandra. When I explained that the outdoor temperature was rather cool, and the sky was unusually clear, Yenamandra did some quick math. “Well, it’s possible for you to get a 10 per cent boost in performance due to the cool temperature. So, 33 watts times 1.1 is 36.3 watts, divided by 14.6 volts is 2.48 amps. That explains your results. Your module is still performing to factory specifications — or perhaps a little better. That’s very good. We usually tell people to anticipate a performance degradation of 0.27% per year.” When I told Yenamandra that the PV module’s serial number is 256387, he informed me that it was manufactured in 1979, during the very early years of Arco’s PV manufacturing history. Joel Davidson, the PV dealer who sold me my solar panel, now lives in California. When I called him up, he was happy to reminisce about the early days of PV. “I was selling to a range of people: back-to-the-land hippies, right-wing extremists and survivalists, engineers, hobbyists, and Christian missionaries on their way to Africa,” said Davidson. “Most of my customers were backto-the-landers on the West Coast.”

It should be good for a few more decades of service PV manufacturers have made several improvements since I bought my first module three decades ago. While my old Arco panel has simple electrical lugs on the back side for wiring, newer modules have sturdier junction boxes. Manufacturers have also improved the encapsulants and the lamination material. (Early modules used polyvinyl butyral, or PVB; manufacturers have since switched to ethylene vinyl acetate, or EVA.) My old module shows no signs of browning, electrical corrosion, or water intrusion. It certainly looks as if it’s ready to perform for another decade or two. “A PV cell is a rock that makes electricity,” said Davidson. “Unless something corrodes the electrical contacts, it will still keep working.” Copyright Taunton Press. Reprinted by permission from

Martin Holladay’s 30-year-old solar panel has been exposed to the weather on his rooftop for 30 years (above). TEST ONE: The PV module easily illuminates a 35-watt incandescent light bulb which draws 2.015 amps, equal to the full specified output of the PV module when new (below left). TEST TWO: The old Arco module didn’t hesitate when it was hooked up to a heavy load – a 12-volt blower. The PV panel powered the blower at 2.5 amps, better than factory specs (below).

“A PV cell is a rock that makes electricity... Unless something corrodes the electrical contacts, it will still keep working.”



Professional Indemnity Insurance

products + services

As part of the renewal process for installer accreditation, personnel must complete 100 points of eligible Continuous Professional Development (CPD) training in their renewal year. Meeting the insurance requirements of the Clean Energy Council and its Accreditation Application is underpinned with Professional Indemnity Insurance. EnviroSure is offering 30 CPD points for Australian Solar Council Members who can demonstrate a robust knowledge of insurance protection. This reinforces the concepts of the CEC that accredited installers must be able to uphold its core values through professional indemnity insurance. INSURANCE DOCUMENTS are complex and require an understanding of

including Products Liability and Goods in your Care, Custody or Control;

contract law to arrange the ones that best meet the exposures of the

and Professional Indemnity Insurance. Envirosure has produced a

Solar sector.

comprehensive document outlining how Public Liability Insurance operates

Conditions 8, 9 and 10 of the CEC Accreditation Terms and Conditions list in detail the exposures that need to be insured.

When arranging cover EnviroSure starts with Public CPD Liability PROMO Insurance

and the value in purchasing Professional Indemnity Insurance. Professional Indemnity is the response to litigation where the aggrieved “plaintiff” holds you responsible for causing them a financial loss. For example if, following

policies however most now exclude accident as a result of Professional

installation, the client wants to sue because they are not getting the return

Negligence, therefore a Professional Indemnity Insurance policy is also

from the grid (output) that they were expecting.

required. The cover created by EnviroSure has been recommended to the CEC by the Australian Government and there are no exclusions that limit the cover according to the CEC Conditions. Note: Public Liability Insurance only covers accidents outside of your control including damage caused by the products you supply. The essential insurance covers that must be held to meet CEC Accreditation Terms and Conditions include Public Liability Insurance

Should a client indicate they might sue, Envirosure suggests “Go and have a cup of tea with them and get to the bottom of the matter. Do not encourage litigation … Don’t be threatened, offer fair and reasonable solutions.” Envirosure will be developing its course material over time to be more inclusive, more interactive and measurable through a recognised government training organisation. For more information email,

Attention Solar Installers! What does a $600 premium buy these days? ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔

$10,000,000 Public Liability PLUS $10,000,000 Professional Indemnity Insurance PLUS Defense against goods owned by third parties if delivered damaged on site up to $250,000 PLUS 30 CPD Points for solar installers PLUS Option to increase Public Liability to $20,000,000 PLUS

...all you need to do is go online at click on the RED button and follow the prompts carefully. Once you can demonstrate that you have the right cover arranged, go to this URL to qualify for 30 CPD points:

Professional Indemnity and Liability Insurance Opinions expressed on this page are not necessarily those of the Australian Solar Council Opinions expressed on this page are not necessarily those of the Australian Solar Council 48 SPRING 2016

Solar & Storage 49

SOLAR products + services


Supplying the right energy package for a 5.4 kW PV system

“System monitoring takes the guess-work out of choosing the right solar battery.” IN EARLY 2016 solar energy specialists, Solargain installed a Fronius Symo Hybrid and Fronius Smart Meter on a Perth home with a view to adding storage to the system at a later date. The Fronius Smart Meter enables the end user to monitor their energy consumption via Solar.web and optimise their energy self-consumption while gathering valuable insights into the CPD PROMO amount of energy taken from the grid. This data tells the end user how much energy their household requires so when the time comes to add storage they know exactly what size battery they need. After some time spent researching his options the homeowner decided to go with Fronius. Six months after the initial install he added a 12 kWh Fronius Solar Battery to the 5.4 kW system. Here’s what the owner had to say about the experience: “As a technical nerd I researched heavily into the inverter, installer and battery solutions for

my home. My major criteria were reliability, outstanding features and benefits, and the ability to add storage. “I found the Fronius Symo Hybrid to be the handsdown best inverter with long warranty from a long-lived company, offline capabilities, firmware upgrade options, data export functions, and graph-able statistics that can be viewed via Solar.web on a PC or phone, at home or overseas. From the data gathered in the first few months of the year I was able to choose with confidence the right battery size for my needs and retrofit it seamlessly into the system.”

Perlight: shining the light Perlight now incorporates the latest PERC cell technology. PERLIGHT HAS DEVELOPED a new high efficiency (19.2 per cent module efficiency) 300 W mono panel in a standard size format incorporating PERC cells from Taiwan. The new 300 W monocrystalline panel can be used in high-end residential projects, large-scale commercial projects as well as large-scale solar farms. Production: The Perlight production line uses Italian BACCINI technology and state of the art robotic equipment with a separate research and development facility working on the next breakthrough in solar technology. Credentials: Perlight Panels are now independently tested, verified and endorsed by the Australian Solar Council’s Positive Quality™ Program. The testing is conducted on regular basis of between three and six months to ensure that the panels produced at Perlight are of a consistent quality which should instill a high level of confidence in the minds of installers, project managers and distributors.

The company: Founded in 2006, Perlight is a global solar energy provider with a presence in more than 80 countries. More than 1.5 GW of Perlight modules are used in residential, commercial and off-grid systems. The factory is located in Wenling, China, with sales offices in Shanghai and select countries around the world including Germany, UK and Australia. Perlight Panels have been used continuously in Australia since 2007. Meet and greet: Visit Perlight on stand 1934 at the All Energy 2016 Expo on October 4 and 5, and talk to sales staff about the latest products from Perlight and receive a free mobile phone charger. Call the Perlight Melbourne Office on 03 9571 1353 or make an appointment to visit the showroom in Malvern East to view the range of Perlight Panels.

Opinions expressed on this page are not necessarily those of the Australian Solar Council Opinions expressed on this page are not necessarily those of the Australian Solar Council 50 SPRING 2016

Solar & Storage 49



Australia’s most comprehensive













4 – 5 OCTOBER 2016 Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre


Attendees at last event


Conference Streams


Industry Speakers





Networking Events



Energy Storage Council Certified Training Program - Design and Install The Energy Storage Council – Australia’s peak industry body for the energy storage industry – is pleased to bring you the Certified Energy Storage Design and Install program. This new program developed by the Energy Storage Council focuses on all the essential elements of on-grid and off-grid battery installations. The delivery of the program has been described as very timely and necessary for the storage industry that is rapidly gaining pace, with more homeowners wanting to benefit from their PV systems after sunset. The ESC has partnered with the Canberra Institute of Technology to conduct this training for storage specialists across Australia. Training Modules are contained to four key areas: • Energy Storage Overview (a one-day, face-to-face day course) • ESC Certified Designer Course (that can be conducted online) • ESC Certified Installer Course (face-to-face and for licensed electricians only) • ESC Certified Design and Install Course (which combines modules 2 and 3, takes four days and is for licensed electricians only) The ESC will certify graduates of those courses, who in turn will be able to proudly display the ESC Certified Installer Logo.

Course benefits Certified designers and installers will be matched with manufacturers and distributors looking for a professional design, installation and maintenance workforce Australia-wide through a registration process. Those successfully completing the training courses to become Certified Battery Installers will be supported over the long-term with standards updates and alerts, enabling them to maintain their skills and competitive advantage. Further professional development will be provided annually to maintain the membership, and course content will be updated annually. Stay tuned for more details on the Certified Energy Storage Design and Install program which will soon be launched.

Solar PV Master Installer Program = 100 Express CPD points Solar PV Installers who are keen to simply “get on with the job” can achieve just that by participating in the Solar Council’s Master Installer Program. Specially developed by industry experts and launched just recently, the Solar PV Master Installer package has been designed to provide all the necessary business tools. Training content includes Solar Essentials, Solar Gold and a webinar presented by Glen Morris. After signing up, participants are given a password to enable access to commence the training. Installers can train online, wherever they are, and at a time that is convenient to them. The online training content will take approximately 12 hours and once all training is complete Master Installers gain 100 Express CPD Points. Master Installers will automatically receive notification of Standards Updates and other regulation changes, news alerts, new products and advice relevant to the industry. Being the first to know puts Master Installers in poll position, ahead of the pack. Successful participants can also proudly display the Master Installer logo which strengthens their business brand in the eyes of consumers. They will stand out in the crowd – and let’s face it, everyone wants an edge on their competitors.

52 SPRING 2016

Master Installers will also be listed on the Solar Council’s Master Installer customer map which includes a simple-to-operate postcode finder that effectively provides free sales leads. The postcode finder will appear on the Solar and Energy Storage Council website which will soon be relaunched following a major upgrade. Industry compliance is simplified under the Master Installer program whose participants will be recognised as businesses that are providing not just expert services but also value. As one installer commented ”The Master Installer program looks like it will make life a lot easier for installers. They will be right up-to-date on all processes, developments and products, and can use the badge of Master Installer for sales leads which as we all know are vital to sustain business.” The Master Installer program costs $330 (inc GST). Contact Anna Washington on 0409 802 707 or email

AUSTRALIAN SOLAR COUNCIL MASTER INSTALLER PROGRAM Sick of all the hoops you need to jump through in the solar industry? Want to just get on with business? Let the ASC Master Installer Program take a load off your shoulders Finally a Solar PV Installer & Designer package, that gives you everything you need, and nothing you don’t, to let you get on with business.


U  se the Master Installer logo to strengthen your business brand


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


S  tandards and other regulation changes, alerts and advice


L  isting on our Master Installer customer map – FREE SALES LEADS


K  eep abreast of new products


E  xclusive member only alerts and networking opportunities


M  ake compliance easy


B  e recognised as a Master Installer – selling value, not just ‘sticker price’

All this for $330 (inc GST). To join please visit or contact Anna Washington on 0409 802 707 or email


Want to view a bigger list of solar and storage industry conferences being staged across the world? Visit

All-Energy 2016

US Solar Market Insight Conference

Melbourne Conference and Exhibition Centre

San Diego, California

Tuesday October 4 to Wednesday October 5

Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 October

Coverage: smart grid, energy efficiency, energy storage, community

Presented by GTM in conjunction with SEIA this conference provides

energy, solar energy, investment, jobs, project development and more.

exclusive access to top industry executives and thought leaders while (see also page 51)

providing actionable insights into the US solar industry

Dubai Solar Show Dubai International Convention and Exhibition centre, UAE Tuesday October 4 to Wednesday October 5 New event organised by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, this is the dedicated platform showcasing the latest solar innovations and the largest solar projects in the region

Semi - PV Taiwan Taipei Nangang Exhibition Centre Taiwan

Energy Storage India Conference and Expo 4th International Conference and Exhibition on Energy Storage and Microgrids, Mumbai, India Thursday 12 to Friday 13 January, 2017 Energy Storage Technologies and Applications, Microgrid, off-grid Solutions and Rural Electrification

10th International PV Power Generation Expo Tokyo, Japan

Wednesday October 12 to Thursday October 13

Wednesday 1 to Friday 3 March, 2017

Anticipated numbers: 120+ exhibitors; 280+ booths; 8600+ visitors

Japan’s largest B2B international show of the PV industry, the latest

Coverage: PV Materials & Silicon Wafers / Ingots Solar Cells / PV Modules /

technologies, materials, manufacturing technologies, and solar cells/

BIPV/PV Power Generator Systems and more, with four dedicated industry

modules will be exhibited from across the globe.

themed pavilions Including Smart Energy & Storage.

Want to reach thousands involved in solar and storage?

GIVE BRETT A CALL Solar & Storage magazine is read by up to 18,000 industry professionals – designers, project managers, installers, technicians, manufacturers and more. Brett’s name will be familiar to many as he has gained more than seven years publishing and events experience within the solar industry. He now brings his skills and expertise to the Australian Solar Council and the Energy Storage Council across the range of publications as well as events including the industry’s leading show, the May Solar Energy Exhibition and Conference and Energy Storage Council Exhibition and Conference. Speaking from an informed viewpoint, Brett says it’s an exciting time for the industry which is making renewables ever more accessible to communities across Australia while re-shaping the future of energy supplies. With a passion for helping companies to build their brand and market share, Brett looks forward to helping Solar Council and Energy Storage Council members boost their revenues.

Contact Brett on 0402 181 250 or

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

Positive Quality™ and performance in the solar industry THE AUSTRALIAN SOLAR COUNCIL’S Positive Quality™ program sets rigorous standards that ensure manufacturers who achieve and maintain high standards are singled out and recognised. Three prominent panel makers: Jinko, Opal Solar and Perlight Solar meet those high standards and proudly display the Positive Quality™ logo, a symbol of manufacturing excellence, which sends a signal of confidence to consumers. Solar Council chief executive John Grimes says the Positive Quality™ program succeeds on all fronts: participating manufacturers are fully recognised, consumers enjoy peace of mind and the industry’s reputation is strengthened. “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,” John Grimes says. The Solar Council developed the program in response to industry dynamics, noting that in a competitive market when manufacturers compete on price there is pressure or temptation to substitute quality components with cheaper ones.

The all-but-identical look of solar panels makes it difficult to distinguish good from bad. Unless of course there is a logo denoting otherwise. A logo built on standards that sift out and hail 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 Solar Council’s specially appointed Positive Quality™ specialists in a three step process: Certification check and compliance with IEC and Australian standards; Factory inspection with 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

Environmental Certificate Traders

1300 894 799

Online lodgement or manual, the choice is yours

3, 10 & 20 day terms for unregistered STCs and VEECs

Bonus and best price options for extended terms

Next day payment terms for registered certificates

No Fees

Great Customer Service

Trade In Green is a registered agent with the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator, we are accredited under the Victorian Energy Efficiency Scheme and the NSW Energy Savings Scheme. We are one of the leading traders across a broad range of environmental certificates. Visit our website and trade with confidence.

Solar Council Corporate Members For full listing of Solar Council Corporate Members see

Diamond Members Greenbank Environmental

Silver Corporate Members

Heart Energy

Gold Corporate Members ABB

Risen Energy (Australia)



LG Electronics Australia

Solargain PV

Enphase Energy

Rheem Australia


Sonepar Pacific

EnviroGroup Solar Depot

All Grid Energy

SolaX Power


Green Energy Trading

Apricus Australia

ASM Money

Solar Freedom Australia

Jim Chisholm Consulting

SSE Australia

Linuo Ritter

Trina Solar (Australia)

SunPower Corporation Australia

HID Europe Trade in Green Solar Juice

EPC Solar

True Value Solar


Power Diverter

SPRING Solar & Storage Advertisers Advertiser


Web address



All Energy


ASM Money


Crystal Solar Energy








LG Chem


One Stop Warehouse




R & J Batteries


Redback Technologies




Schneider Electric


Solar Juice




SolaX Power


SSE Australia




Supply Partners


Trade in Green


Trina Solar


True Value Solar


56 SPRING 2016

/ Perfect Welding / Solar Energy / Perfect Charging


The Fronius Energy Package consisting of the Fronius Symo Hybrid (3, 4 and 5 kW), the Fronius Solar Battery (4.5 - 12.0 kWh) and the Fronius Smart Meter brings a complete storage solution to the market. The result is maximum flexibility and the highest degree of self-consumption thanks to: / Multi Flow Technology: different DC and AC energy flows are possible in parallel. / Modular design: emergency power function and battery can be retrofitted at any time. / Maximum efficiency: DC-coupled system and high-performance lithium technology. / Three-phase design: optimum household supply in the event of power outages thanks to three-phase emergency power function. Find out more at

Solar & Storage Magazine  

The official journal of the Australian Solar Council and the Energy Storage Council.