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Beyond the expected

Let a thousand solar farms bloom

By johnboy - 17 May 2011 30

Energy Minister Simon Corbell has proudly unveiled a 30kW solar roof farm in Hume leased by Energy Matters.

He’s hoping other roofs across Canberra can be similarly used:

“There are a number of large buildings and open space across the Territory which could be suitable for a solar installation of this size. It is pleasing to see local businesses making better use of this space by allowing others access to harness renewable energy.

“I applaud both Energy Matters and Ullrich Aluminium, the tenants, for their cooperative approach into achieving this great renewable energy outcome.

The proponents will also have access to the ACT’s Feed-in Tariff scheme.

So much for the economies of large scale production

What’s Your opinion?


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30 Responses to
Let a thousand solar farms bloom
Watson 1:39 pm 18 May 11

grundy said :

What’s with all the solar hate on here!?
The feed-in tariff is a great system in the ACT and any solar power being installed is better than none!

As for large scale production, well the federal budget just cut a bunch of funding for the solar flagship…… but there are still a lot of private companies working on large scale solar projects as we speak. 🙂
Having small systems built in the meantime is NOT a problem; it is a great move toward green energy production.

I subject to me – as a ‘low income’ (read: 1 income) renter – subsidising the well off for their solar installations which will allow them to not only have free electricity but earn money once they’ve earned back their investment. While I – like all renters and lots of lower income property owners – am not in a position to join the initiative and have to deal with ever increasing electricity bills for my badly insulated rental.

I would feel a lot happier to pay extra taxes for a solar farm that benefits all of the electricity users and would at least make me feel like I was doing my bit to reduce my own carbon footprint.

And related to the above, having a PROPER home insulation subsidy would probably have more effect and benefit more people too.

Also, it has long been proven that solar hot water is a way more efficient way to reduce carbon-based electricity usage.

So I object to having to subsidise an ill-thought out strategy with no long-term component to it.

Gungahlin Al 1:29 pm 18 May 11

zig said :

grundy said :

What’s with all the solar hate on here!?
The feed-in tariff is a great system in the ACT and any solar power being installed is better than none!

As for large scale production, well the federal budget just cut a bunch of funding for the solar flagship…… but there are still a lot of private companies working on large scale solar projects as we speak. 🙂
Having small systems built in the meantime is NOT a problem; it is a great move toward green energy production.

I don’t hate small solar PV I just think it’s overvalued in terms of the overly generous tariffs in place.
That and the fact it lumps the rest of electricity users with subsidising other people’s electricity use whether or not the solar PV owners are actually reducing their use.

It only provides energy for a small amount of the day and it doesn’t contribute to the peak loads most often seen at 8am and 8pm.

What has happened in NSW really should be a wake up call to the pollies in ACT government. They need to tighten it up before it gets out of hand really fast.

Besides there’s better ways to generate clean energy that benefit all electricity users.

a) it is not the daily peaks that are causing the big infrastructure costs – it is the heatwave days. It is those days that PV is producing at its most efficient, therefore making it the ideal generation method to defray even more expensive network upgrades.

b) the reason for the “overly generous” subsidies was to stimulate the market and drive the per unit cost down closer to more polluting generation methods. It is achieving that, and the mechanism for reducing the subsidy is built into the scheme. So the $4b scenario you mentioned above could never occur the way the ACT FIT legislation is designed.

c) again you are not comprehending how extensive the expense is to upgrade the network to cope with summer heatwave loads due to the incredibly rapid roll-out of household a/c. I worked in the Brisbane City Council Air and Energy Team in 2004 and the industry was getting freaked about it back then. It has got a whole lot worse now. Exacerbated by the complete intolerance of blackouts we now have.

So the industry finds themselves having to spend billions (yes billions) to cope with VERY infrequent but VERY big peaks. It is somewhat comparable to the ACT Government having to build 16-lane roads out of Civic to cope with the sudden burst of traffic that occurs at 9.20pm following just two fireworks events per year. And it is that unrealistic, yet the industry feels boxed into it by unrelenting media criticism following any blackouts.

Next to this, the FIT cost impact is minor but the benefits are manifest and multifaceted.

troll-sniffer 11:01 am 18 May 11

grundy said :

What’s with all the solar hate on here!?
The feed-in tariff is a great system in the ACT and any solar power being installed is better than none!

As for large scale production, well the federal budget just cut a bunch of funding for the solar flagship…… but there are still a lot of private companies working on large scale solar projects as we speak. 🙂
Having small systems built in the meantime is NOT a problem; it is a great move toward green energy production.

I don’t think it’s as simple as just put power in to the grid save the equivalent generating power/cost etc. For solar to replace generating power it has to reach a level that contributes in a way that actually cuts the peak power demands of the generators, not just the average. I can’t see that happening at the moment as the generators have to be run to cope with the fluctuating output of the solar inputs. The feed in returns seem to have been based on some wild premise that all the power that is generated and fed into the grid automatically results in the same power being deducted from the generating plant, rather than going into a power dump with the rest of the unused reserves that the grid has to retain.

zig 10:20 am 18 May 11

grundy said :

What’s with all the solar hate on here!?
The feed-in tariff is a great system in the ACT and any solar power being installed is better than none!

As for large scale production, well the federal budget just cut a bunch of funding for the solar flagship…… but there are still a lot of private companies working on large scale solar projects as we speak. 🙂
Having small systems built in the meantime is NOT a problem; it is a great move toward green energy production.

I don’t hate small solar PV I just think it’s overvalued in terms of the overly generous tariffs in place.
That and the fact it lumps the rest of electricity users with subsidising other people’s electricity use whether or not the solar PV owners are actually reducing their use.

It only provides energy for a small amount of the day and it doesn’t contribute to the peak loads most often seen at 8am and 8pm.

What has happened in NSW really should be a wake up call to the pollies in ACT government. They need to tighten it up before it gets out of hand really fast.

Besides there’s better ways to generate clean energy that benefit all electricity users.

shadow boxer 10:03 am 18 May 11

grundy said :

What’s with all the solar hate on here!?
The feed-in tariff is a great system in the ACT and any solar power being installed is better than none!

As for large scale production, well the federal budget just cut a bunch of funding for the solar flagship…… but there are still a lot of private companies working on large scale solar projects as we speak. 🙂
Having small systems built in the meantime is NOT a problem; it is a great move toward green energy production.

Well did you read the posts, the problem is those of us that can’t afford solar or don’t own a house are subsidising your electricity bill.

grundy 9:39 am 18 May 11

What’s with all the solar hate on here!?
The feed-in tariff is a great system in the ACT and any solar power being installed is better than none!

As for large scale production, well the federal budget just cut a bunch of funding for the solar flagship…… but there are still a lot of private companies working on large scale solar projects as we speak. 🙂
Having small systems built in the meantime is NOT a problem; it is a great move toward green energy production.

facet 9:16 am 18 May 11

Very disappointed, I thought there would be at least one MacArthur or Jerrabomberra resident whinging about how their residential nirvana was being destroyed.

chewy14 9:05 am 18 May 11

Whichever way you look at it, this is simply poorer people and renters paying house owners and now commercial operators cash to have these inefficient and expensive systems on their roofs.
How anyone can think that is fair is beyond me.

zig 10:51 pm 17 May 11

Gungahlin Al said :

The primary reason you are paying more for electricity is because the network infrastructure was never built to handle the incredible peak loads caused by the boom in cheap and inefficient air conditioning systems all kicking in at the same time on hot days in summer. This is the case across the entire country. Feed-in Tariffs are merely the convenient ‘whipping boy.’

Fail…..in the case of the failed solar scheme trainwreck in NSW:

“The review found that the scheme has been extremely successful in driving increased small-scale renewable
energy generation in New South Wales. Modelling forecasts installed capacity under the scheme will grow to around 960 megawatts by the end of the scheme, if it remains unchanged. Total scheme payments under this scenario reach around $4 billion. Under the National Electricity Rules, these payments will be passed on to customers in the form of higher electricity network charges.”

I’d be a little concerned if I had ACT solar PV with what has happened in NSW.

EvanJames 5:32 pm 17 May 11

eyeLikeCarrots said :

What all seems to smell like crap is the wankers with thier I dont have to pay for power ACTEW bills and thier shit eating grins.

Time to organise a few raiding parties with ladders and cans of spray paint.

As for air conditioners, it needs to be mandated that if you have air con, you run it with a solar array. Makes sense, you need it on very sunny days.

wotsinaname 5:15 pm 17 May 11

MERC600 said :

Oh charming….

I’m going to be paying even more for me leccy to subsidise it. …

Gungahlin Al said :

The primary reason you are paying more for electricity is because the network infrastructure was never built to handle the incredible peak loads caused by the boom in cheap and inefficient air conditioning systems all kicking in at the same time on hot days in summer. This is the case across the entire country. Feed-in Tariffs are merely the convenient ‘whipping boy.’

An alleged “boom in cheap and inefficient air conditioning systems” is just another convenient ‘whipping boy.’

Our nonsensical energy marketing policies and regulations are more to blame, along with politicians being carried along with the solar money generator craze and the great carbon tax distraction.

If any government in Australia built a public hospital or school with a plan to keep it empty for 11 months every year, there would be a justified outcry over such a waste of money.

AGL announced last week a $1.5 billion gas power station, adding that it would be idle for months at a time!! (Canberra Times, page 15, 7 May 2011)

Electricity consumers will be paying far more for electricity because of this extravagant waste of money. The $1.5 billion needed to finance it will bring hefty interest charges that WILL be passed on to electricity consumers.

Happily for AGL, but not so happily for electricity consumers, the pricing regulators follow policies to pass on these costs: AGL is guaranteed a profit from this investment that plainly defies commonsense.

Gungahlin Al 4:35 pm 17 May 11

MERC600 said :

Oh charming….

I’m going to be paying even more for me leccy to subsidise it. And I read where Parly House are looking at solar leccy installations as well.. Hell it won’t be that long that the power charges are up there with the water..

The primary reason you are paying more for electricity is because the network infrastructure was never built to handle the incredible peak loads caused by the boom in cheap and inefficient air conditioning systems all kicking in at the same time on hot days in summer. This is the case across the entire country. Feed-in Tariffs are merely the convenient ‘whipping boy.’

eyeLikeCarrots 4:24 pm 17 May 11

There is also apparently a viable tidal energy solution prototype (heard about it on Radio National).

Going the way we are, shouldn’t we be investing in developing energy sources that don’t require buring stuff thats all a bit messy (although cheapish).

What all seems to smell like crap is the wankers with thier I dont have to pay for power ACTEW bills and thier shit eating grins.

wotsinaname 3:17 pm 17 May 11

A friend put a solar money generator on his roof, and now receives quarterly ActewAGL “credit notices” showing how much more he is owed. Luckily, he can use 4x more coal-fired power than the solar money generator makes and still break even. By the time every second home in Canberra has one of these solar money generators installed, Canberrans living in the other half will be paying double for electricity – for their own electricity plus all the coal-fired power their neighbours use.

It is a pity Canberra politicians are swept up in the solar money generator craze, when Australian-developed technology is so much better:

For background, have a look at “Why You Need to Pay Attention To Bio Natural Gas (“BNG”)” – http://t.co/3Mavw81 – on how to fast-track replacement of fossil energy with renewable.

This week the Australian-developed BlueGen high efficiency and low emission gas-to-electricity fuel cell generator won the 2010-11 CEO Award for innovation and the Design for a Sustainable Future award- http://goo.gl/5Ctt6 .
This technology, and the Honda micro-Combined Heat and Power gas-to-electricity freeWatt generator, can dramatically reduce CO2 emissions when fueled with natural gas. These benefits are even greater when BNG becomes available.

Unlike solar PV panels, BNG has embedded solar energy stored, so electricity can be generated 24×7 – rain, hail or shine.

Imagine using lawn clippings and leaves to produce BNG. Canberra’s lawns can be a large solar energy collector. Plants have evolved to capture solar energy. Unlike solar PV panels, grass grows all by itself.

MERC600 1:55 pm 17 May 11

Oh charming…. I’m going to be paying even more for me leccy to subsidise it. And I read where Parly House are looking at solar leccy installations as well.. Hell it won’t be that long that the power charges are up there with the water..

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