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This Week in Solar: The Future of Solar

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1. Sydney councils are doubling their solar generation

Blacktown City Council is not here to give dolphins haircuts, the Sydney district is wasting no time meeting its 2040 net zero carbon emissions target by doubling its solar generation in one go. That is, 1,876 solar panels installed across 16 sites, and all by a single installer, Solar Professionals, thought to be an Australian first. 

2. Are virtual power plants the future of solar power?

Brian Innes, who runs solar energy company Plico Energy, said battery storage was a crucial piece of the puzzle.

“If you’ve got a large fleet of dumb solar on roofs, when the cloud hits, the whole grid gets impacted by that one big cloud,” he told 7.30.

“If you’ve got battery and solar coupled, then it doesn’t impact on the grid in the same way.”

Mr Innes said the idea is for houses with similar systems installed to join up to form what is called a virtual power plant.

Earlier this year the Western Australian Government released a five-year plan that includes trialling a virtual power plant in the suburbs of Perth before Christmas.

3. Renewable Colossus at Worlds End  – Neoen delivers Goyder South Development Application

Neoen’s proposed Goyder South Hybrid Renewable Energy project is so vast that analogy does it a disservice. The French developer has commenced the project’s notification period with the submission of its Development Application, giving us the first real opportunity to begin to quantify its sheer enormity. 1200 MW of wind, 600 MW of solar, and 900 MW/1,800 MWh of battery storage.

4. How rooftop solar is eating into Australia’s biggest coal generator

Australia’s biggest coal generator, the 2.88GW Eraring plant in New South Wales, is being forced to radically modify the way it operates due to the growing impact of rooftop solar.

In its latest results presentation, Eraring owner Origin Energy highlights how rooftop solar is affecting big assets such as Eraring, which it intends to keep running until 2032, but may close earlier depending on market conditions and policy settings.

5. DroneDeploy has soared to solar success in the U.S., now it’s Australia’s turn

DroneDeploy has already proved that drones can provide a whole host of services to the solar industry in the U.S., now the company has opened a Sydney office with an eye to do the same Down Under.

DroneDeploy helps solar companies generate accurate 3D maps, ensure panels are working at maximum capacity, and spot potential safety and repair issues in a fraction of the time it would take teams through manual inspections. 

6. Solar panel and battery system recycling targeted in NSW grant round

A $10 million New South Wales government grant scheme has been launched to tackle the problem looming on the other side of Australia’s booming solar uptake – what to do with hundreds of millions of PV panels when they reach the end of their working lives.

7. Queensland announces funding for renewable energy zones

As part of the state’s economic recovery plan, the Palaszczuk Government has committed $145 million for Renewable Energy Zones in north, central and south-west Queensland.

“We commit $145 million for the creation of three Queensland Renewable Energy Zones located in southern, central and northern Queensland,” the Premier said. “With the right support from governments, these zones will help connect new renewable energy to our power network, and attract industries wanting new energy to a series of connected commercial and industrial power hubs across the state.”

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