Rooftop solar installation records tumble again in November, as NSW leads the way

Rooftop solar installation records tumble again in November, as NSW leads the way

One Step Off The Grid Sophie Vorrath 3 December 2020 – Australia’s rooftop solar market just keeps on punching, delivering “incredible” growth of more than 10 per cent from October to November and setting a new record to round out a pretty horrendous year. The latest data from PV market analysts SunWiz shows Australian households and businesses installed another 277MW of solar across the country for the month of November, topping the 252MW of new capacity installed in October. On top of the new national record for November, New South Wales, Western Australia and the ACT all set their own records for total installations over the month, while Victoria, now almost completely back to “Covid-normal” also noticed a significant rise. New South Wales led the pack with a record 87MW of new rooftop solar capacity installed for the month, while Western Australia added a new high for that state of 32MW, and ACT a more modest record of 5MW. Victoria, meanwhile, is almost back to its pre-lockdown levels of installations, with a total of 56MW installed for the month. “After a good rise in the capacity installed nationally, we remain 38% ahead of the same time last year,” said SunWiz managing director Warwick Johnston. Sunwiz data shows that people are installing more panels on their roofs, with the average solar system size increasing to 8.2kW – another new record for November. “Most of the system sizes increased in November compared to October, noticeably seen in 6.3kW to 8kW system size,” said Johnston. The commercial market remained steady for the month, with further growth in the 10-15kW segment, which has been growing steadily since May, according to SunWiz. In New South Wales and Victoria, the 15-30kW commercial solar segment saw some growth, while others remained steady, the report...

Read More

https://reneweconomy.com.au/agl-sets-new-storage-benchmark-with-1000mwh-big-battery-in-south-australia-30655/

https://reneweconomy.com.au/agl-sets-new-storage-benchmark-with-1000mwh-big-battery-in-south-australia-30655/

Renew Economy Giles Parkinson 14 ovember 2020 – AGL, the country’s biggest coal generator and biggest polluter, on Saturday a announced that it is to build a massive 250MW big battery in South Australia, with four hours of storage, making it the longest duration big battery to be built in Australia. Importantly, the 250MW, 1000MWh battery will be built at the site of the ageing Torrens Island gas generator, which is to due to close within a few years once a new transmission link in built from South Australia to NSW, and as more renewables and grid-scale batteries displace gas generation in the supply of bulk energy and key grid services. The significance of this battery is the four hours of storage, the first in Australia, which suggests that AGL now sees batteries as competitive with gas generators to meet peak demand periods, and to operate primarily to shift the supply of wind and solar to when it is needed most. Other batteries – such as the original Tesla big battery at Hornsdale, and the newly unveiled Victorian big battery near Geelong – have focused on providing grid services, so only require a short duration in storage. The big battery at Torrens Island is just the latest in a series of important big battery announcements around the country, including the bigger (but shorter duration) 300MW/450MW Victorian big battery, two new batteries in Canberra, and NSW government support for four new big batteries in that state. The Northern Territory has also started the tender for the Darwin big battery, which will also displace gas generation. AGL plans to roll out 850MW of energy storage across the National Electricity Market by 2023/24, which includes its previously announced 200MW of big battery installations with two hours storage with Maoneng, a 100MW/150MWh battery at Wandoan in Queensland, and a big battery – possibly as big as 500MW – at the soon to be closed Liddell coal fired power station “With more renewable generation than any other state, South Australia has been a leading contributor to Australia’s low-emissions future,” AGL chief executive Brett Redman said in a statement. (South Australia leads the world with 57 per cent contribution from wind and solar in the last 12 months, and the state Liberal government has a target of net 100 per cent renewables by 2030, which the state is likely to reach well before then). “Wind generation is a major source of energy in South Australia and to ensure its reliability AGL is committed to delivering more firming capacity, last year opening the AGL Barker Inlet Power Station (a fast start generator featuring multiple small units also located at Torrens Island, about 18kms from the Adelaide CBD). “This battery is another step in the state’s energy transition while...

Read More

Victoria fast-tracks rooftop solar and battery rollout, part of $800m energy savings package

Victoria fast-tracks rooftop solar and battery rollout, part of $800m energy savings package

Renew Economy Sophie Vorath 17 November 2020 – The Victorian government has unveiled a massive nearly $800 million home energy saving package that will incentivise smart appliances and heating systems, boost the energy efficiency standards of new and existing homes, and expand the state’s solar and battery rebate scheme. The significant new policy suite was announced on Tuesday, ahead of next week’s delivery of the state’s “Covid” budget that will lay the groundwork for the state’s economic recovery from a months-long shut down in response to the Coronavirus. Energy minister for the Andrews Labor government, Lily D’Ambrosio, said in a statement that an investment of $797 million would help Victorians cover the cost of their “working-from-home” affected power bills while laying the foundations to make homes more energy efficient in the future. In immediate terms, the package offers a one-off $250 “direct bill relief” payment towards energy costs for eligible concession card holders, including anyone receiving JobSeeker, youth allowance or pension payments. More impressive, however, are the long-term measures the Andrews government is putting in place to drive down energy consumption across Australian households and to ensure comfortable and healthy living conditions for all, rather than just those who can afford it. To this end, the package includes a $14 million expansion of the state’s existing Victorian Energy Upgrades program, to allow “every single Victorian household” to access rebates for more energy efficient appliances. Another $335 million will fund the replacement of old wood, electric or gas-fired heaters with new energy-efficient systems for low-income earners – an initiative that D’Ambrosio says will save 250,000 households between $300 to $900 a year on their energy bills. And a further $112 million allocation will go towards sealing windows and doors, and upgrading heating, cooling and hot water in 35,000 social housing properties. Funding will also be used to introduce minimum efficiency standards for rental properties – identified as some of the most thermally inefficient housing stock in the state – and to put Victoria on track for a minimum 7-star efficiency standards for all new homes. Also on the agenda is a $191 million expansion of the government’s Solar Homes program, which will see a further 42,000 rebates offered in the popular scheme, meaning a total of 140,000 households will be able to install solar panels on their roof at no upfront cost over next two years. The state’s discounted solar offering is also being opened up to small businesses for the first time, with a total of 15,000 solar rebates being put up for grabs. And finally the government appears to have opened the state’s home battery rebate to “Victorians in every corner of the state” – it has previously...

Read More

NSW renewable energy plan seals death warrant for six gigawatts of coal

NSW renewable energy plan seals death warrant for six gigawatts of coal

Renew Economy David Leitch & Ben Willacy 15 November 2020  The NSW Liberal government’s announcement for its renewable energy growth plans seals the death warrant for about 6 gigawatts of coal capacity, and is very bad news for the owners of the same. By 2030, we expect around 6GW of currently operating coal generation will be surplus to requirements. Exactly which generators will close and how soon will depend on competition. In ITK’s main model we have, in previous runs, constrained NSW coal generation to a minimum of 2GW up to 2030. That seemed academic a couple of years ago, but is a live issue now. In short, if we continue to constrain NSW to have minimum coal generation then all the brown coal generators in Victoria will be in deep trouble. On our numbers all three would be faced with unachievable ramp issues by 2030, which perhaps a battery could help with in theory, but capex likely not justifiable. In that scenario we think it very likely Yallourn will close around 2025. If, alternatively, we dispatch entirely on merit order, that is lowest variable cost to highest, then it’s the higher cost black coal generators in NSW that bear the pain. In practice, the reality is that neither AGL or Origin will allow Bayswater or Eraring to run down towards zero every day. They will most likely see that by taking short-term losses they can force Yallourn out of the market. Caveat: Its also important to note that we have not considered inertia, frequency, voltage and system stability in this analysis. To the extent that AEMO, and the AEMC still don’t have processes in place to ensure those system services can be provided by 21st century technology (read batteries and virtual synchronous machines) then it may be that AEMO will constrain wind and solar off if leaving it on makes coal generation likely to close.  We know the answers to this problem but the NSW announcement ups the ante again for rulemakers. State Governments wouldn’t be doing all this stuff if the Federal Government had made policy and if the AEMC had been more forward looking. Nature abhors a vacuum. Flat load prices $15/MWH lower by 2030 compared to prior estimates We expect prices to fall around $15/MWh compared to our prior forecast as a result of the NSW announcement although mostly towards the end of the decade. We do expect volatility around the coal generation closures and offer a ray of hope in that the low prices may be enough to keep things like aluminium smelters running. Thumbs down to AGL, CLP and ORG as investments Nevertheless what we are left with is the losers. They are...

Read More

AGL sets new storage benchmark with 1,000MWh big battery in South Australia

AGL sets new storage benchmark with 1,000MWh big battery in South Australia

Renew Economy Giles Parkinson 14 November 2020 – AGL, the country’s biggest coal generator and biggest polluter, on Saturday a announced that it is to build a massive 250MW big battery in South Australia, with four hours of storage, making it the longest duration big battery to be built in Australia. Importantly, the 250MW, 1000MWh battery will be built at the site of the ageing Torrens Island gas generator, which is to due to close within a few years once a new transmission link in built from South Australia to NSW, and as more renewables and grid-scale batteries displace gas generation in the supply of bulk energy and key grid services. The significance of this battery is the four hours of storage, the first in Australia, which suggests that AGL now sees batteries as competitive with gas generators to meet peak demand periods, and to operate primarily to shift the supply of wind and solar to when it is needed most. Other batteries – such as the original Tesla big battery at Hornsdale, and the newly unveiled Victorian big battery near Geelong – have focused on providing grid services, so only require a short duration in storage. The big battery at Torrens Island is just the latest in a series of important big battery announcements around the country, including the bigger (but shorter duration) 300MW/450MW Victorian big battery, two new batteries in Canberra, and NSW government support for four new big batteries in that state. The Northern Territory has also started the tender for the Darwin big battery, which will also displace gas generation. AGL plans to roll out 850MW of energy storage across the National Electricity Market by 2023/24, which includes its previously announced 200MW of big battery installations with two hours storage with Maoneng, a 100MW/150MWh battery at Wandoan in Queensland, and a big battery – possibly as big as 500MW – at the soon to be closed Liddell coal fired power station “With more renewable generation than any other state, South Australia has been a leading contributor to Australia’s low-emissions future,” AGL chief executive Brett Redman said in a statement. (South Australia leads the world with 57 per cent contribution from wind and solar in the last 12 months, and the state Liberal government has a target of net 100 per cent renewables by 2030, which the state is likely to reach well before then). “Wind generation is a major source of energy in South Australia and to ensure its reliability AGL is committed to delivering more firming capacity, last year opening the AGL Barker Inlet Power Station (a fast start generator featuring multiple small units also located at Torrens Island, about 18kms from the Adelaide CBD). “This battery is another step in the state’s energy transition while...

Read More

NSW renewables plan marks a major new moment for climate action in Australia

NSW renewables plan marks a major new moment for climate action in Australia

Renew Economy Ketan Joshi 10 November 2020 – That the states of Australia are stepping well ahead of the federal government on climate action is no mystery. As the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the federal energy and “emissions reductions” minister Angus Taylor stall, distract and obfuscate, the problems get deeper. Yesterday, federal MP Craig Kelly issued an anxious pre-emptive strike to the federal leadership, presumably after seeing China, South Korea, Japan and (probably) the US get on track to net zero by 2050. “Net zero would cause a lot of pain to a lot of people in a lot of electorates,” Kelly told Guardian Australia, definitely referring to very specific people in very specific electorates. As this unending, self-repeating and utterly exhausting federal pantomime continues, every single state in the country has established a 2050 net zero emissions reduction target, and to varying degrees, each have begun the actual policy and practical steps to create this change on a scale that gets the country where it needs to be in the next few decades. The most fascinating element of this state-level climate action that has spread across the country is the political diversity. The conservative Liberal party leads New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania. The centre-left Labor party holds the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia. And, fascinatingly, we do not see a political divide among these states when it comes to hard decisions on climate action. The weird quad-partisan world of state climate politics Yesterday, New South Wales’ state government released a detailed and relatively beefy ‘roadmap‘ for new energy infrastructure over the coming decades. There is plenty to dig into, but it’s important first to note how weird this moment was. This was essentially a climate policy for guiding investment in clean energy that was supported by: – The NSW Liberal party (centre-right) – The NSW Nationals party (hard right) (“The stimulus the Renewable Energy Zones will provide to regional communities will unlock over 9,000 new jobs and will be a huge boost to farmers and land owners”) – The NSW Greens (“This is BIG! 🙌🏽”) Support and interest came from a very wide range of the big climate groups and people in Australia, like the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Climate Council, WWF Australia, The Australia Institute, the Smart Energy Council, Atlassian CEO and renewable investor Mike Cannon-Brookes, Environment Victoria, GetUp!, the Clean Energy Council, Beyond Zero Emissions and quite a few others. It’s a big, endless list. The sole exception to this was One Nation NSW, whose NSW MLC Mark Latham, who said the policy was a “massive scandal of rent seekers, perverted markets and Liberal factional politics”, though One Nation’s recent collapse in QLD polls...

Read More

A look back at last year’s Solar Games — and what to expect in 2021

A look back at last year’s Solar Games — and what to expect in 2021

p v magazine Tim  Sylvia 10 November 2020 – If you attended Intersolar North America 2020, you likely spent a good bit of time checking out one of the show’s main attractions, the Solar Games, a three round competition where teams were tasked with building a solar-plus-storage system on a mock residential roof and were judged based on speed, quality and overall project execution. The competition was such a hit that, not only is it coming back in 2021, but Intersolar hosted a webinar to go over how the industry’s first installer competition began, what it was like to compete on the roofs and where the competition is headed in 2021 and beyond. The webinar featured 2020 champion Sol-Up’s Joseph Folken, technical advisor Johan Alfsen, judge Rudy Saporite, and lead coordinator Emily Nelson. The competition According to Saporite, all the contestants were expert installers working in a controlled environment — they didn’t have to worry about dealing with the elements, the roof was essentially at ground level and all of the mounts were installed prior to the start of the competition. Because of the ease provided by those factors, Saporite shared that the judges had to find a way to be detail-oriented without nitpicking. He also shared that the only struggles he saw among the contestants came from adjusting to the components that they were provided. According to Saporite, one of the main focuses for the 2021 iteration of the solar games will be to expand the scoring system, in order to allow for more separation between competitors. From an installer’s perspective, Folken said that his biggest adjustment came from the pressure of installing in front of judges and the crowd. It wasn’t his first time installing in front of a crowd, sharing that neighbors of customers have been known to bring chars and congregate around installations before, but never to the same degree as the bleachers at the Solar Games. After the initial nerves, Folken shares that he and his team were able to re-focus and concentrate on the installation, eventually setting into the groove that helped them win the competition. When asked if Sol-Up would be competing again in 2021, Folken said that they are and that they’re looking to defend their title. More to come Alongside developing more expansive scoring parameters, Nelson shared that one of the main focuses of the 2021 competition will be getting more teams involved and expanding the scope of the competition. The organizers are also planning a greater prize for the winning team, as well as greater supplemental prizes for some of the runner-ups. Potentially the most interesting development came when Nelson was asked if Diversified Communications had considered adding a ground-mount...

Read More

Wind, solar and storage “price guarantee” key to lower costs for developers and consumers

Wind, solar and storage “price guarantee” key to lower costs for developers and consumers

Renew Economy Michael Meazengarb 9 November 2020 – New wind, solar, and storage projects in New South Wales may be offered electricity price guarantees, including minimum energy prices, under a new investment strategy that the NSW government says is key to delivering lower overall energy prices for consumers. Underpinning the NSW government’s Electricity Infrastructure Strategy, launched on Monday, is the offer of an ‘investment safeguard’ from the government, which will see price guarantees offered to new clean energy projects that are consistent with the strategy, including up to 3 gigawatts of pumped hydro energy storage capacity. The NSW government will establish ‘development pathways’ for new generation and storage projects, designed to deliver low-cost and reliable supplies of power. The NSW government will establish a new Consumer Trustee which will oversee competitive rounds for the selection of projects in line with the wider strategy to which will be offered Long Term Energy Services Agreements. The Long Term Energy Services Agreements will include financial incentives for completing projects on time and could guarantee a minimum price for the electricity they produce, shielding the projects from low electricity prices and lowering the cost of capital, crucial for projects that require significant upfront capital payments. Projects that fail to come online in a timely manner would at risk of having their agreement terminated. A new cost-recovery mechanism will be established to manage any potential payments to projects under the price guarantees, which will be recovered through network charges paid by consumers. Crucially, the NSW government says the price floors will be key to de-risking new projects, which will reduce the cost of financing new projects by reducing the risk profile for investors and will ultimately leave NSW consumers better off through overall lower electricity prices. “As designed, the Infrastructure Safeguard will provide long term certainty for investors and lower the cost of capital. An optimised portfolio of capital-intensive infrastructure with zero fuel costs and low operating costs (e.g. solar, wind and pumped hydro) will further reduce the cost of capital,” the NSW Electricity Infrastructure Strategy says. “The electricity price investors need to invest in 2023 is expected to be around 20 per cent lower if they have a Long Term Energy Services Agreement. The Infrastructure Safeguard will allow important factors such as location and community support to be factored into the decision criteria, thus contributing to the NSW Government’s wider policy goals.” The NSW government commissioned analysis from NAB on the financial impacts of the investment safeguard, finding that the lower cost of finance for projects would substantially reduce the levelised cost of energy for wind, solar and storage projects, compared to projects operating on a merchant basis. Source: NSW Government The NSW government...

Read More

More wind and solar means early closure of coal plants is more likely

More wind and solar means early closure of coal plants is more likely

Renew Economy David Leitch 7 November 2020 – ITK has updated its price and new supply estimates as we do each quarter, and the results are not good news for the incumbent coal generators. The main conclusions are that, rather than slowing down, there has actually been about 3.5GW of utility-scale wind and solar projects getting the final go-ahead so far in 2020. These projects have been driven by the Queensland government, the ACT government, Snowy Hydro and also by large PPAs, typically with US-based technology companies such as Amazon. Secondly, in total we estimate there is still over 6GW and probably close to 7GW of wind and solar projects that are either in the commissioning, construction or have received go-ahead phases. On top of that, there will be around 6GW of rooftop solar built over the next four years at a capacity factor of, say, 15%, for another 6TWh. Thirdly, ITK’s forecasts allow for even more projects to be announced and come into operation by 2025. This bit of ITK’s forecast is entirely speculative and was originally based on nothing more than an assumption that the NEM (National Electricity Market) would reach 50% renewable by 2030 and then back-solving to get to the annual new capacity additions for that target. That number comes to 1.3GW per year, and over 10 years it adds up to 13GW. But so far we are running well ahead of that target. ITK now estimates that the NEM will be around 45% renewable as early as 2025. Even if you don’t believe any new projects will be announced, and why would you believe that, we still estimate 40% (33% wind + solar and 7% hydro). In summary: In ITK’s view it is important to go beyond handing out gold stars for fast progress and look at what it means for prices, thermal generation output and other issues. As we see it, even after closing Liddell, output from the remaining thermal generators is going to fall around 26TWh. Or if, unbelievably, no new wind and solar projects are announced, thermal output will still fall by 15TWh. If you are a thermal generator these should be scary numbers. Yallourn’s output is about 9TWh and Vales Point about 7-8TWh. The biggest generator in the NEM, Eraring, has around 15TWh. ITK’s modelling suggests that even if Yallourn and Vales Point both close there would still be a loss of market share for the rest. This is not 2030, this is in 2025, and if done formally would require announcements around 2022. Readers should note that these are aggregate numbers, and the situation varies widely from state to state, but it’s crystal clear to us that if transmission capacity isn’t increased the...

Read More

Queensland utility teams with BoM to boost solar and wind forecasting

Queensland utility teams with BoM to boost solar and wind forecasting

Renew Economy Sophie Vorath 5 November 2020 – Queensland government-owned utility Powerlink has announced a “strategic partnership” with Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, in a bid to better inform the planning and decision-making of the transmission network service provider (TNSP) with an increasingly solar and wind based grid. Powerlink CEO Paul Simshauser said on Wednesday that the “industry-first” partnership would see the TNSP work with the Bureau over the next three years to access specialised knowledge and data, and deliver targeted research, particularly around solar forecasts. “This partnership will give Powerlink insights into weather data, models and forecast trends that help us plan the future transmission network,” he said. Simshauser said the formalisation of the partnership followed up on Powerlink’s current research project with the BoM, which involved developing “near real-time” solar irradiance information. That project, which kicked off in June, aims to build Powerlink’s understanding of current and potential impacts from both residential solar and large-scale renewables across the Powerlink network, which extends 1700km from north of Cairns to the New South Wales border. Queensland has a huge amount of solar on its network, having passed the 4GW milestone more than a year ago and taken total installed PV capacity to more than twice the capacity of the state’s biggest power station, the Gladstone coal generator. “Energy demand and our ability to deliver safe, reliable and cost effective electricity supply to close to five million Queenslanders is closely linked to weather conditions and impacts,” Simshauser said. “We look forward to exploring other potential research opportunities with the Bureau, particularly around the impacts of severe weather events such as cyclones, fires, floods and drought on our network.” The partnership between Powerlink and BoM comes roughly two years after the announcement of establishment of a formal collaboration between the federal government’s weather agency and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), in November of 2018. The partnership between those two organisations followed the early 2017 revelation that the AEMO had been relying on private weather forecasters, leaving it under-prepared for weather-related blackouts that hit South Australia in February of that year. As RenewEconomy reported at the time, AEMO completely botched its forecasts for the afternoon of February 8, expecting lower temperatures and more wind when the opposite happened. By the time it realised its mistake, it was too late to call on the country’s most efficient gas-fired generator, Pelican Point, to fire up its idle second unit. With BoM now working directly with AEMO, RenewEconomy asked Powerlink why a separate collaboration with the forecaster was required. A spokesperson for Powerlink replied in an emailed statement that while BoM may have partnerships with other bodies, the Queensland the utility was the first TNSP in Australia to...

Read More

It’s Scott Morrison versus the world about his gas-fired fantasy

It’s Scott Morrison versus the world about his gas-fired fantasy

Rendew Economy Ketan Joshi 6 November 2020 – The electoral turmoil within the world’s second highest emitter of greenhouse gases (number one for oil and gas, by a decent margin) is going to last a few weeks even after a winner is declared, so it’s worth taking a moment to pause and thinking about how Australia’s climate future is closely interlinked with the fate of the United States. For the most part, this centres around one of the trifecta fossil fuels driving dangerous climate change: gas. Gas recently overtook coal in terms of absolute emissions within the US. Either seeking to expand or seeking to transition the oil and gas industries in that country have been a major differentiator for the two candidates in the 2020 presidential election. Hours ago, the US exited the Paris climate agreement. The shifts are constant and they’re going to keep on coming last this year and well into the next, as the country is buffeted by political and economic change. The US is inarguably a big player in climate geopolitics, but a collection of even-bigger players have together recently announced major shifts in their climate ambitions. China, South Korea and Japan have all announced net zero targets, joining a global coalition of countries that are declaring a form of climate action independence from the US. If Trump wins the election (less likely at the time of writing, but still a decent possibility), he will be fighting  against a global tide of decarbonisation that is rapidly gaining momentum. The French government has already put imports of US gas ‘on ice’, as reported by the Rocky Mountain Institute. “The delay was driven in large part by concerns over the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of US gas production, particularly from the Permian Basin”, writes RMI, highlighting the fact that Trump’s wildly anti-regulation agenda over the past few years may have locked in permanent sabotage for the country’s gas export industry. The over-arching trend across the geopolitical climate landscape is bad news for Australia’s various fossil fuel industries, no matter the outcome of the US quasi-election. As coal burning begins to enter a similar structural decline to those seen in the US, the UK and Germany, those companies extracting and selling gas in Australia are scrambling to figure out how to maximise their snaffling up of the gap left by coal’s absence, in the coming decades. When it comes to power, the heart of this trick lies in intentionally muddying the difference between supplying large amounts of energy, and supplying a ‘backup’ grid stability role. Both Australia’s major parties have partaken in this conflation in recent months, among this rising intensity of geopolitical climate drama. “According to reports, Fitzgibbon has now succeeded in forcing the Labor Party to openly support the...

Read More

Australian states and utilities go bananas over big battery storage

Australian states and utilities go bananas over big battery storage

Renew Economy Giles Parkinson 6 November 2020 – One day, some time soon, you would expect Australia prime minister Scott Morrison to come out and say something really positive about battery storage, if only to demonstrate that his understanding of energy technology has entered the same century as his tenure in Kirribilli House. Morrison’s grip on energy, climate science, and the role that electricity grids can and should play in emission reductions is tenuous at best, given that he has brandished a lump of coal in parliament (“don’t be afraid”), argued for a transition to gas (“you’re either for or against us”), and rubbished the Tesla big battery at Hornsdale as being about as useful as the Big Banana, a tourism gimmick in Coffs Harbour. But just about everyone else in Australia – beyond the PM’s office and the government-owned Snowy Hydro – is taking battery storage very seriously, and that includes nearly all the state and territory governments, the Australian Energy Market Operator, the network companies, key institutions like ARENA and the CEFC, wind and solar developers, energy retailers, homeowners and businesses, and of course the battery storage providers themselves. On Thursday, the biggest big battery in Australia, the largest in the southern hemisphere was unveiled by the  Victoria government, Tesla and developer Neoen. The Victorian Big Battery will lift the capacity of the main link between Victoria and NSW and contract most of its capacity to AEMO’s grid protection scheme, using its rapid and flexible response. At 300MW and 450MWh, the Victorian Big Battery will be more than double the size of the recently expanded Tesla big battery at Hornsdale, also owned and operated by Neoen, and it will be one of the biggest in the world. But more importantly, it is just the latest of more than a dozen big battery projects to be formally announced in the last few months, with many more in the pipeline. An artist’s impression of the Victoria big battery. Let’s look at what has been announced in recent times. This week the Northern Territory Labor government opened the formal tender process for its 35MW Darwin big battery (with about half an hour storage) that will displace significant amounts of gas generation and allow for more rooftop and utility scale solar. The South Australia government this week signed a 10 year electricity supply deal with Zen Energy that will see the 100MW and 100MWh Playford big battery built near Port Augusta , along with the 280MW Cultana solar farm at Whyalla. Last week, Transgrid announced it would build a 50MW and 75MWh big battery at Wallgrove in western Sydney, which will provide synthetic inertia and other important grid services, and will be operated by Infigen Energy and which will also serve...

Read More

Australia’s biggest carbon customers plan their escape from fossil fuels, but Morrison isn’t listening

Australia’s biggest carbon customers plan their escape from fossil fuels, but Morrison isn’t listening

Renew Economuy Ketan Joshi 27 October 2020 – Japan announced on Monday it had committed to a new ‘carbon neutrality’ target by the year 2050. Like China’s recent ‘net zero by 2060’ announcement, there are plenty of details that are yet to be forthcoming – details that will truly tell us whether these ambitions will have immediate changes, or whether they’re hollow promises. Will the target cover just carbon, or all greenhouse gases? Will there be accountability for short-term goals, like 2025 and 2030? What mix of zero carbon energy sources will meet Japan’s demand, once coal winds down? The country is very heavy on coal and gas (the former having increased post the shutdown of nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster in 2011) – so this is a big deal, on a global scale, no matter how the details pan out. Here’s something extremely important: this is a big deal on a local scale, too. Australia is one of the world’s biggest global fossil fuel dealers, extracting coal and gas on an incredible (and increasing) scale. Hundreds of coal and gas projects are planned to be built in the coming years, too. A large proportion of Australia’s total export revenue comes from the sale of fossil fuels. Coal is 15% of Australia’s export revenue, and fossil gas is 8% (and growing fast Here’s something significant: Japan and China – the two major global climate players ramping up their fossil fuel escape plans – also make up the largest fractions of Australia’s customer base for the sale of greenhouse gas emitting substances. Curious about the scale of this, I checked out the data. Specifically, the September 2020 Resources Energy Quarterly, published by the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. And yes – these two carbon titans have just announced their intention to stop buying one of Australia’s major exportsIt is early days, and there isn’t much detail on the rate of change for China and Japan’s climate ambitions; nor is there any detail from the countries about whether they’ll be leaning on fossil gas in their power systems as a much-touted but widely debunked ‘bridge fuel’. All signs point to renewables and other zero carbon sources doing the lions share of decarbonisation, with fossil gas, in the best case scenarios for those that sell it, serving a backup role blended with lower-carbon fuel types such as methane captured from biomass or dairy farms. The recently-released International Agency World Energy Outlook report highlights, several times, the fact that coal-to-renewable switching, or gas-to-renewables switching, will be the main game. That same report, in its appendix, digs specifically into Japan. It details two scenarios. STEPS (stated policies) is a direct line from today if we go with the currently announced policies,...

Read More

CEP and Marubeni unveil plans for 1GW battery and 1.5GW of solar in Australia

CEP and Marubeni unveil plans for 1GW battery and 1.5GW of solar in Australia

Renew Economy Sophie Vorrath 21 October 2020 – A sizeable new renewables fund chaired by former NSW Premier Morris Iemma and numbering executives from Macquarie, AEMO and Tesla, has revealed billion-dollar plans to install 1.5GW of solar and a gigawatt of battery storage across commercial and industrial sites around Australia over five years. CEP.Energy said this week that the first phase of the rollout would start relatively soon, on the assets of industrial developer and property owner Pelligra Group, which has a portfolio of several hundred properties, including the former Ford manufacturing sites in Victoria. An agreement with Pelligra will see CEP.Energy lease a portion of the company’s millions of square metres of roof space and build and operate solar and storage systems, starting with a 400MW “virtual power plant.” The Pelligra solar and battery VPP – presumably using Tesla batteries, if the appointment of ex-Tesla energy storage man Jan Muller is any hint (RE is awaiting confirmation on this) – will be managed and operated through a separate deal with retailer SmartestEnergy, a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Marubeni. CEP.Energy says SmartestEnergy will manage the assets, optimise the value of the solar energy produced, and sell it back to Pelligra’s retail and commercial customers at a roughly 20 per cent discount on grid prices. CEP.Energy has also entered into negotiations with several large companies for long-term corporate power purchase agreements, a statement says. To fund all of this, CEP.Energy has launched a $1 billion capital raising, which it expects will attract the interest of institutional investors that are currently “light on renewables,” and who want to green up their portfolios. According to the company’s CEO, ex-Macquarie Bank executive director Peter Wright, the capital raising is progressing well, putting CEP.Energy on track to get to work in Victoria as the state progresses out of lockdown – which should mean within the next two weeks. “We’ve had a strong market response driven by the fact that many institutional investors are underweight in commercial clean energy investments,” Wright said. Of SmartestEnergy, which AER records show was granted authorisation as an electricity retailer in May of this year, Wright said the company had a proven track record in the commercial and industrial energy space in the UK. “They will use their experience and battery and solar technology to offer electricity at a materially lower cost,’’ Wright said. SmartestEnergy CEO Robert Owens said the company was strongly committed to a future energy market focused on decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitisation. “We share a vision with CEP.Energy of an intelligent system maximising the opportunities of solar and battery VPPs to the benefit of consumers and the wider market,” he said. “We look forward to growing the...

Read More

AEMO leads global push for $10 trillion of investment in next 10 years to slash emissions

AEMO leads global push for $10 trillion of investment in next 10 years to slash emissions

Renew Economy Ketan Joshi 21 October 2020 – Between various energy forecasts of the coming decades, one consistent trend emerges: in power systems around the world, renewables – wind and solar – will grow far faster than has been previously predicted. The economics have changed at breakneck pace over the past decade, meaning these technologies are now the default replacement for existing coal and gas-fired power stations. That means more effort is needed to ensure grids are upgraded and updated to suit new forms of energy technology. Late Tuesday, the Global Power System Consortium (G-PST) was officially launched by the head of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), Audrey Zibelman at London’s Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit.  As revealed exclusively in RenewEconomy’s Energy Insiders podcast last week, where Zibelman was the guest, six of the world’s largest system operators directly engaging with high volumes of renewable growth lead the consortium. See: AEMO takes lead role in global consortium seeking rapid energy transition They are the Australia Energy Market Operator (AEMO),  the National Grid Electricity System Operator UK, California Independent System Operator (CAISO), the-Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), Ireland’s System Operator (EirGrid), and Denmark’s System Operator (Energinet). And the ambition is significant. They are seeking to unlock $10 trillion of investment in wind, solar and enabling technologies over the next decade to achieve a 50 per cent cut in emissions. It’s an ambition that goes well beyond the stated policies of the national governments, but they insist it can and should be done. These countries and regions have already seen significant shifts in the mix of power output in recent years. The latest half-year report from Ember Climate shows the scale of recent changes in these countries: The United States’ Energy Information Administration shows the transitions in Texas and California with more detail: In each of these countries and regions, renewables – particularly wind and solar – have grown at rates far faster than the rest of the world, and have provided valuable insight into the advantages and challenges of growing these new technologies on grids designed for old technologies. In addition to these leading operators, 25 other system operators from around the world will participate in G-PST. Several large research institutions will take part in the technical work, including Australia’s CSIRO, the Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence for Integrated Energy Systems, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the Danish Technical University (DTU), and ASEAN Center for Energy (ACE). “Countries around the world are looking to pursue a path to modern, low-emissions energy systems, but face significant challenges in acquiring and applying the technical knowledge needed to operate and plan rapidly transforming power systems”,...

Read More

Solar fuels South Australia’s total energy demand in Australian-first

Solar fuels South Australia’s total energy demand in Australian-first

EnergyMagazine.com 19 October 2020 – South Australia has recorded an Australian-first solar energy milestone, with the state’s energy needs being 100 per cent solar powered for one hour, between 12pm-1pm, on Sunday 11 October. Mild temperatures and cloudless skies contributed to ideal generation conditions in South Australia, with solar power from the state’s 288,000 rooftop systems providing 992MW and large-scale solar 313MW to power the state. Rooftop solar is installed on one-in-three homes in South Australia, with 2,500 systems installed monthly in 2020 alone. AEMO Managing Director and CEO, Audrey Zibelman, said that this milestone affirms the world-leading scale and pace of transition underway in Australia’s power system. “The domination and successful integration of rooftop solar in South Australia foreshadows the rebuilding of jurisdictional power systems in Australia,” Ms Zibelman said. “Never before has a jurisdiction the size of South Australia been completely run by solar power, with consumers’ rooftop solar systems contributing 77 per cent.” The new record follows the previous milestone of 89 per cent of state demand set on 13 September 2020, when rooftop solar output reached 900MW for the first time. To achieve this level of renewable penetration, AEMO has worked closely with transmission and distribution network service providers throughout the National Electricity Market, including ElectraNet and SA Power Networks in South Australia, to ensure the power system remains secure and reliable. “AEMO is also working hard to identify technical solutions to replace power system services, such as inertia, system strength and voltage control, traditionally provided by conventional thermal generation in Australia to reach higher penetrations of renewable generation,” Ms Zibelman said. AEMO’s Integrated System Plan (ISP) forecasts that by 2040, 63 percent of coal generation will need to be replaced with grid-scale renewable energy (26GW) and dispatchable resources (6 to 19GW). Distributed energy sources, such as rooftop solar PV and residential batteries, are also expected to double or triple in capacity by 2040. “South Australia is experiencing a surge in rooftop solar installations. AEMO is forecasting an additional 36,000 new rooftop solar systems in the next 14 months, which will mean that South Australia’s grid will see zero demand as rooftop solar alone will be capable of meeting 100 per cent of demand,” Ms Zibelman said. “This is truly a phenomenon in the global energy...

Read More

Government trial will see cheaper solar energy provided to public housing families

Government trial will see cheaper solar energy provided to public housing families

Nine News 9 July 2018 – Low-income Logan families living in public housing will be able to buy cheaper solar power under a Queensland government program to cut household electricity bills. Under the trial, tenants will be able to buy solar power for a discounted per kilowatt hour rate from a local energy provider in an attempt to cut energy costs. The state government is calling for energy providers to get on board. Environment Minister Cameron Dick spoke this morning about the energy plans. Image: AAP (AAP) “One aspect we will look at is whether the successful tenderer will employ local tradies, including electricians and suppliers,” State Development Minister Cameron Dick said this morning. “Logan households will then be invited to participate in the program.” The solar panels will be installed on selected state-owned homes in the Waterford, Coomera, Woodridge, Logan, Algester and Springwood electorates. Trials in Cairns and Rockhampton resulted in more than 800 solar panel systems installed, with expected annual savings of up to $250 per household, Energy Minister Anthony Lynham...

Read More

Enova joins Australia’s biggest “solar garden” as community retailer

Enova joins Australia’s biggest “solar garden” as community retailer

One Step Off The Grid Michael Mazengarb 15 October 2020 – The Haystacks Solar Garden community solar project has received a boost, securing a partnership with electricity retailer Enova Energy to help deliver the benefits of a co-operatively owned solar farm for households. The Haystacks project has been established as a joint initiative between Pingala, Community Power Agency and Komo Energy, and is being supported by the NSW government under the Regional Community Energy Program. The project will see a 1MW solar farm built in Grong Grong in the Riverina of NSW, and Enova Energy has now joined the project as a partner, and will facilitate the payment of ‘solar credits’ to participants in the form of a credit on their electricity bills. “To create the change we want to see in the energy industry in Australia and to bring control of energy back into the hands of communities, we must collaborate and synthesise the solutions,” Enova Energy CEO Felicity Stening said. “Haystacks is a perfect example of the right organisations, people and resources coming together to build a new solution whose time has come in this country.” “For Enova this project demonstrates our commitment to community energy and to solar for all. It also shows the crucial role of an electricity retailer in enabling distributed energy initiatives to come to life.” Stening added that the community energy project would open up the ability for more households, previously locked out of the market for rooftop solar, to benefit from cheaper power. “For everyone who wants solar on their roof but can’t because they’re a renter, live in an apartment or don’t have an appropriate sunny roof – this project provides a solution,” Stening said. The Haystacks Solar Garden project is offering the opportunity for participants to effectively secure a 3kW ‘plot’ in the larger project, with the cost of plots expected to range between $4,000 – $4,200. Participants will be required to become customers of Enova Energy, which will allow the participants to receive ‘solar credits’ against their electricity costs, drawn from revenues generated by the community solar farm. The ownership model has been based on a range of research into how ‘solar gardens’ can be established, that allow more people to join together and benefit from solar power, when renting, or living in buildings that cannot have rooftop solar installed directly. “After years of research and development in the solar garden space, we’re over the moon to now be accepting membership applications for Australia’s first large-scale solar garden!” Haystacks project manager, Kim Mallee, from the Community Power Agency said. “For this first of its kind project we have 333 solar garden plots available for residents of NSW. We’ve already had over 100 membership...

Read More

Old king coal has surrendered to solar, says global power report

Old king coal has surrendered to solar, says global power report

Sydney Morning Hearld Nick O’Malley 13 October 2020 – Solar power has been declared “the new king of electricity” by the International Energy Agency in its annual energy outlook report, which finds it is already cheaper than power generated by new coal and gas developments in most countries and is providing, “some of the lowest-cost electricity ever seen”. For the first time since the industrial revolution, coal-fired power will constitute less than 20 per cent of the world’s energy by 2040, according to one scenario in the report, which found the end of the coal era has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The report has major implications for the Australian government, with Tim Buckley of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis saying it was hugely significant that the IEA was now predicting that coal was in structural decline in all of its modelled scenarios, as in previous years in some scenarios it predicted that coal demand would have continued growth at lower rates. “It deprives Australian state and federal governments of a crutch. They have relied on the IEA modelling in the past to say there was evidence of continued growth, so has the industry,” he said. Moree solar farm in NSW. This year global greenhouse gas emissions will fall by 7 per cent to 33.4 gigatonnes according to the 2020 World Energy Outlook, but the agency warns that the economic slump cannot be viewed as a solution to climate change. Unless nations adopt green economic recovery policies emissions will quickly rise in the recovery, it says. “The economic downturn has temporarily suppressed emissions, but low economic growth is not a low-emissions strategy – it is a strategy that would only serve to further impoverish the world’s most vulnerable populations,” said IEA chief Dr Fatih Birol. Instead, governments should adopt policies to drive down emissions. The report models four possible scenarios of recovery and energy use, ranging from one in which governments adopt policies to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 to one in which governments respond with their already stated policies. In this scenario greenhouse gas emissions bounce back to pre-COVID levels by 2023. All the scenarios predict that coal’s peak use has already passed and cast renewables as taking “starring roles”. “I see solar becoming the new king of the world’s electricity markets. Based on today’s policy settings, it is on track to set new records for deployment every year after 2022,” said Dr Birol. “If governments and investors step up their clean energy efforts in line with our sustainable development scenario, the growth of both solar and wind would be even more spectacular – and hugely encouraging for overcoming the world’s climate challenge.” The...

Read More

Solar power is now “cheapest electricity in history”, says IEA

Solar power is now “cheapest electricity in history”, says IEA

Renew Economy Giles Parkinson 13 October 2020 – The International Energy Agency has often been mocked for its poor assessment of the potential of solar power, both in terms of deployment and cost reductions, and it is still is. But now, even the IEA has conceded that solar power is low cost, in fact it is now “the cheapest electricity in history.” This extraordinary admission was included in the 2020 version of its annual reference tome, the World Energy Outlook – a must read for energy wonks and the energy industry, even if its interpretation of industry trends, and its promotion of “business as usual” over climate targets frustrates many. The WEO2020 includes, for the first time, a scenario that is broadly consistent with what might be needed to try and cap average global warming to a maximum 1.5°C, rather than the second prize of 2.0°C previously modelled under its Sustainable Development Scenarios. This requires reaching net zero emissions by 2050, rather than 2070, and includes significant emissions reductions over the next decade, driven mostly by a vast increase in wind and solar production, a shift to electric vehicles, and “behavioural changes” that could reduce demand. The IEA appears ready to embrace this because it has discovered that solar is much cheaper than it thought – in fact, up to 50 per cent cheaper than its estimates of just two years ago, in WEO2018. And it’s not the market that’s changed, so much as IEA’s interpretation of the facts. The key to the IEA’s re-assessment is the cost of capital of wind and solar, which it now admits is as low as 2.6 per cent in Europe and the US, and far below its previously assumed range of 7-8 per cent. That means that solar can now be produced “at or below” $US20 a megawatt hour, as has been delivered in auctions in Portugal ($US13/MWh) and the Middle East. It is now so cheap that the IEA says:  “For projects with low-cost financing that tap high-quality resources, solar PV is now the cheapest source of electricity in history.” Even on the IEA’s modified “value adjusted levellised cost of electricity” (VALCOE), which includes the simulated value of three system services: energy, flexibility and capacity, solar still beats coal and gas in all continents, and is beaten only by onshore wind in Europe. Renewables, and particularly solar, form a large part of the changes required to meet whatever scenario that the IEA is contemplating, although the graph above shows a more modest additions, and barely any capacity removal in its central stated policies (STEPS) scenario. With that STEPS in mind, it is interesting to note that the IEA has upgraded its forecast...

Read More

Energy Renaissance names Hunter region for Australia’s first battery “gigafactory”

Energy Renaissance names Hunter region for Australia’s first battery “gigafactory”

Renew Economy Sophie Vorrath 13 October 2020 – The New South Wales Hunter region has been named as the preferred location for what is likely to be Australia’s first gigawatt-scale lithium-ion battery manufacturing operation, right in the middle of the state’s coal and gas heartland. Energy Renaissance said on Tuesday that it would start building the $28 million, solar powered Renaissance One battery plant within weeks in the semi-industrial suburb of Tomago, where it expects to begin producing Australian-made batteries by mid-2021, and which is also the site of the country’s aluminium smelters. The company’s director, Mark Chilcote, said that the 4,000 square metre purpose-built facility would be built by local property developer ATB Morton and have an initial battery production capacity of 66MWh per annum, with plans to scale to 5.3GWh a year within 10 years. Chilcote said that the company had landed on Tomago as the site for the factory due to its easy access to the Port of Newcastle, for the company’s future export plans, and its proximity to highly-skilled talent from CSIRO’s Energy Centre and graduates from the University of Newcastle. The region also has a skilled energy industry workforce that will be looking to transition from the declining coal power sector and could be fairly easily “re-skilled,” Chilcote says, and transitioned to battery production. “Over 1,700 direct jobs will be created during the construction and operational phase and another 6,500 indirect jobs will be generated for the benefit of the Hunter,” he said on Tuesday.
 More than 1200 full-time equivalent workers will be required to operate the plant once it is running at full scale. “The Hunter region has all the right skills, natural resources, expertise and an abundance in solar energy for us to develop a successful battery manufacturing business in Australia,” Chilcote said. As RenewEconomy has reported, Energy Renaissance has been working on plans to build a battery “gigafactory” in Australia since 2017, when it looked like a deal had been struck with the Northern Territory government to establish a starter factory in Darwin. That deal ultimately fell through when an agreement couldn’t be reached that satisfied both parties. But the plans got back on track in July, when Energy Renaissance won a co-funded grant from the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC), including matched financial contributions of $246,625 towards a project goal of making batteries for Australia and export to Asia. The grant is also being used to design an automated production line using robotics and automated quality control systems to increase efficiencies across Energy Renaissance’s planned manufacturing facility. Energy Renaissance says the “hot climate” batteries it will be manufacturing at the Tomago plant will primarily be for stationary storage, with an initial...

Read More

Net zero targets change the game as IEA hails renewables as new “king” of electricity

Net zero targets change the game as IEA hails renewables as new “king” of electricity

Renew Economy Ketan Joshi 13 October 2020 – You’re going to hear a range of yelping and squealing noises from we energy nerds over the next few days. Love it or loathe it, the release of the International Energy Agency’s IEA) World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2020 is totemic calendar event for policy wonks, power geeks and climate policy watchers around the globe. Despite the neutral-sounding name, the IEA’s history is specifically skewed towards fossil fuels. “The IEA was created in 1974 to help co-ordinate a collective response to major disruptions in the supply of oil. While oil security this remains a key aspect of our work, the IEA has evolved and expanded significantly since its foundation”, they write on their website. It’s easy still to see hallmarks of this history. As an example, the only two Australians that peer-reviewed the report are AEMO’s Drew Clarke and…..Peter Morris, a senior member of the Minerals Council of Australia. No Clean Energy Council, no Beyond Zero Emissions, no Climate Council. No university bodies, like the University of Melbourne Sustainability Institute. Most fossil fuel majors, such as BHP, Shell, Saudi Aramco, ExxonMobil, are heavily represented. It’s problematic, to say the least. The organisation has unmatched access to energy and climate data from around the world, and the WEO is their compression of that trove into a single, ultra-big report. It’s worth keeping this history in mind when engaging with this report. The numbers it’s based on, particularly the historical data, are relatively objective. The future scenarios reflect What it says The WEO 2020 is all about COVID19 – quantifying its current and future impacts on the world’s energy systems and how it links into efforts to reduce emissions. “Our assessment is that global energy demand is set to drop by 5% in 2020, energy related CO2 emissions by 7% and energy investment by 8%”, the write. Oil, coal and gas fall by 8%, 7% and 3% respectively. The pandemic has spawned two new scenarios, in addition to their current visions of the future: ‘Stated Policies Scenario’ (STEPS) – today’s announced policies continue without change Delayed recovery scenario (DRS) – the pandemic causes major economic damage and slows recovery Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS) – Hitting the Paris agreement on time (net zero by 2070, ish) Net zero by 2050  (NZE2050) – The same as SDS, but with a net zero by 2050 target, 20 years earlier DRS and NZE2050 are both new visions of the future. They’re a welcome addition to the report, which has previously been criticised for not considering ambitious climate action as a possibility. Also, presumably in response to prior criticisms, predictions of renewable growth are bullish, with the report claiming...

Read More

US residential solar set for a record-breaking year — despite, and because of, 2020

US residential solar set for a record-breaking year — despite, and because of, 2020

P Magazine Eric Wesoff 9 October 2020 – With folks housebound by Covid-19 restrictions and more conscious of their home energy needs, April proved a banner month for companies generating digital leads through their own accelerated transition to a new way of working. Over the course of this strange year, American residential solar companies such as Sunrun, Vivint, Sunpower and Tesla claimed they could weather the Covid-19 storm with remote selling and new online strategies. It turns out they were right. BloombergNEF is forecasting that Americans will install a record 3 GW of solar on the roofs of their homes, although those figures might not match expectations from simpler times, in late 2019. Source: BloombergNEF, note: 2020 and 2021 are forecasts BNEF forecasts another 3.6 GW to be installed in 2021. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, capital is still pouring into solar. U.S. solar manufacturer Sunpower recently announced a $1 billion partnership with Silicon Valley credit union Tech CU that will give the former access to capital for its loan program. The partnership provides financing opportunities for potential U.S. residential solar and energy storage customers. Tech CU is one of the 20 largest credit unions in California. The combination of online sales strategies and a new set of homebound, energy-curious customers has enabled the market to grow in a cataclysmic year. “The push for renewables is really strong,” said Tara Narayanan, an analyst quoted in the Bloomberg Green piece. “It’s allowed the sector to shake off the worst of the plague and some natural disasters.” Resiliency As we’ve reported, Covid-19’s sudden arrival put resiliency at the forefront of people’s minds and accelerated adoption of digital sales practices. “We’re seeing a lot of success in the conversion to digital sales,” said Sunrun CEO Lynn Jurich in a quarterly earnings call. “We’ve taken how the industry would have evolved – probably in two years – and we’ve done it in a month. I’m very encouraged by this transition and what it can mean for acquisition costs.” During Q1 earnings calls, Vivint and Sunrun’s CEOs both said that April was a banner month in terms of digital leads. Enphase Energy also noted that it was seeing an increase in digital leads and in traffic to its online store. “Early indications are that even if the country enters a prolonged economic downturn with poor consumer confidence, people will still want solar,” Jurich said during Sunrun’s earnings...

Read More

EnergySage reports on storage for the first time ever, Tesla dominates

EnergySage reports on storage for the first time ever, Tesla dominates

PV Magazine Tim Sylvia 9 October 2020 – In the newest edition of EnergySage’s Solar Marketplace Intel Report, data about energy storage solutions being quoted to homeowners through the platform has been included for the first time — with more than half of the quotes for Tesla’s Powerwall As difficult as it can be to get a grasp of the U.S. residential solar market at large, that’s what EnergySage sets out to do in its Solar Marketplace Intel Report, a report looking at trends of products that are offered and sold through the company’s online solar marketplace. In the most recent edition of the report, released today, EnergySage includes data about the energy storage solutions being quoted to homeowners through the platform for the first time. What this new data shows is that, Tesla’s Powerwall 2 is dominating the energy storage market, at least from a quoting perspective. Over half of energy storage quotes on EnergySage included the Tesla Powerwall, making it the most quoted storage option and brand. Part of this popularity can be attributed to the system’s price, as, on a cost per-kilowatt-hour stored basis, the Powerwall 2 is the least expensive storage option quoted in the Marketplace. Behind the Powerwall 2 came LG Chem and Enphase’s storage offerings, with Panasonic, sonnen, Eguana and Generac’s storage solutions all featuring lesser representation. Not only does the report track what storage brands consumers are gravitating towards, it also tracks trends in adoption. Nearly two-thirds of consumers who indicate a preference for storage on EnergySage say that they’re interested in storage for emergency backup power, while nearly half of all consumers that want storage are interested because of financial savings. How solar stacks up On the solar side, the report focuses mostly on slowing price drops and the effect that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on residential solar purchasing trends. The company worked with Qualtrics to field a survey to over 500 consumers nationwide in early April, in order to assess how solar sentiment and shopping behavior has shifted due to Covid-19. What the two found was that responding consumers were more interested in solar now than they were pre-Covid, with a third saying their timeline for going solar has actually accelerated and very few moving out their timeline by a year or more. The survey is backed by concrete data, as EnergySage’s website traffic and solar shopper registrations dipped in March and April before rebounding in May and June to levels significantly above where they were during the same period in 2019. EnergySage attributes part of this renewed interest to the forced acceleration of digital solar sales. Another survey of consumers found that two-thirds are more likely to shop for solar...

Read More