• Reliability of solar panels matter
    Reliability of solar panels matter
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    I’ve just finished a technical and commercial review of a solar plant in Spain that was suffering from reliability issues. The plant has had a long period of under-performance, reducing investor returns and culminating in replacement of 75% of the panels due to manufacturing defects. Financial difficulties of the original panel supplier retarded prompt replacement…

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  • Energy tariff costs reduced by 15%
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    We’ve been working for a while now with a large agribusiness, who have extensive pumped irrigation operations on a series of properties in northern Victoria. Previously we looked at the viability of solar PV and pumping, but during the analysis we noticed there were several weeks where the pumps were being operated during peak cost tariff hours…

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  • ARENA solar – now what?
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    ARENA’s announcement today of the twelve successful bidders under their $100M solar grant process reveals some interesting information about the state of large-scale solar projects in Australia. An investment of $92M by ARENA to enable over $1B in power generation investment is an outstanding result, and one that is far better than was initially expected….

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  • A solar and battery system for demand cost control
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    While solar photovoltaic power is well-known, there has been a lot of media coverage given to batteries as “the next biggest thing”. But are there any opportunities here and now for them, particularly in commercial operations? We recently worked with a manufacturing client where they DO check out – both technically and financially. The client is located…

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  • Utility scale solar – Uterne Part 2
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    SunPower have released their time-lapse video of the construction of the Uterne II tracking solar PV plant. While at SunPower, I negotiated the sale of the site (including the 969kW T20 plant seen in the background) to Epuron, an Australian solar and wind power developer. I then worked with Epuron to negotiate the EPC agreement…

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  • Solar and irrigation pumping
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    On the face of it, solar photovoltaic (PV) equipment seems a perfect match for irrigation pumping. And it can be. But a recent project in northern Victoria showed some interesting results on the best size of solar to suit their needs. Firstly, for those of you using diesel, then solar will be cheaper. While it’s…

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  • Utility scale solar Alice Springs
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    This is an interesting video produced by Dara Switchboards who conducted electrical installation at the site. Uterne (which means “bright sunny day” in the local language) was originally a 1MW utility scale solar array constructed by SunPower as part of the Alice Springs Solar Cities program. The 1MW was built using the SunPower T20 product, which…

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  • Optimised PV size
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    I’m often asked to help determine whether a proposed PV system really will produce the savings that has been claimed, and whether this is an optimum solution. Too often I see back-of-the-envelope estimates based on monthly or annual electricity bills that don’t give the full picture. To really understand, you need to dig a bit deeper….

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  • How much bigger is better?
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    There are plenty of companies out there who want to install the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) array on your rooftop. But should you let them? One of our clients was recently faced with just this dilemma for their new facility in western Sydney. Although they were a large energy user, their demand profile was very…

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