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This Week in Solar: Solar cell tiles, Solar powered space race, and more

1. Australia’s electricity grid predicted to reach ‘tipping point’

The Australian Energy Market Commission has warned of an upcoming “tipping point” to the electricity grid. This “tipping point” is predicted due to the rapid uptake of household solar. Australia has approximately 2.15 million solar rooftop systems installed nationwide. The existing grid cannot reliably handle inputs from millions of different energy sources.

2. Australia joins solar powered space race

The transmission of orbitally acquired solar energy may sound farfetched, but scientists from the California Institute of Technology developed a lightweight tile structure last year that is “capable of PV solar power capture, conversion to radio frequency power, and transmission through antennas. This modular tile can be repeated over an arbitrary area to form a large aperture which could be placed in orbit to collect sunlight and transmit electricity to any location.”

3. We can make roof tiles with built-in solar cells – now the challenge is to make them cheaper

Despite being such a sun-kissed country, Australia is still lagging behind in the race to embrace solar power. While solar panels adorn hundreds of thousands of rooftops throughout the nation, we have not yet seen the logical next step: buildings with solar photovoltaic cells as an integral part of their structure.

4. South Australia unveils plans for 100% renewable hydrogen economy

South Australia has outlined plans for a 100 per cent renewable hydrogen economy, saying that its enormous wind and solar resources, saying there is nowhere else in the world as well positioned to produce, consume and export 100% green hydrogen.

In Australia, renewable energy is growing at a per capita rate ten times faster than the world average. Between 2018 and 2020, Australia will install more than 16 gigawatts of wind and solar, an average rate of 220 watts per person per year.

6. Small but “smart” Kanowna solar farm comes on line in northern NSW

A small but potentially significant solar farm has been officially launched in northern New South Wales, offering what state agriculture minister Adam Marshall described as a glimpse of the future for rural and remote parts of the state.

7. Another big solar farm nears completion in vulnerable part of Victorian grid

The 106 MW Yatpool Solar Farm is nearing completion. The project is located in north-west Victoria notorious for grid limitations.

8. Big investors say wind, solar projects at risk without change to transmission pricing

Investors who together account for more than $11 billion in renewable energy investments in Australia have warned that billions of dollars of new wind and solar projects are at risk without significant changes to the way transmission pricing is handled in this country.

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