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Australian solar developments and global technological advances

In an Australian-first, a floating solar farm is being developed for a South Australian water treatment facility.

Infratech Industries has designed a floating solar farm that will be constructed over a South Australian wastewater treatment facility. This is an exciting development as the panels will be more efficient due to a reduced temperature from the water contact, do not use additional land space and can help prevent algal blooms due to the blocking of sunlight. It is also important progress in the sector internationally, as it uses technology that is more updated than the trial models created in France and South Korea.

This is also a great boost for the Australian solar industry, as the solar farm is being created using Australian engineering, materials and a supply chain that will contribute to future national and overseas projects. Another exciting Australian solar development this week has been the announcement by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) that they will provide funding to an off-grid hybrid power plant for Flinders Island. $5.5 million will be provided to combine the use of solar, diesel generation, wind, flywheel and battery energy storage.

These technologies will be developed into portable energy units that are expected to reduce the island’s dependence on fuel by 60% and will also be used to further develop technologies that could be used in disaster relief efforts. This project is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. Solar power has also been tipped by the German think-tank, Agora Energiewende, to become the cheapest form of energy in the next decade. Research findings have concluded that the prices of photovoltaics will continue to decline globally as the technology further develops in efficiency and mass production.

This is positive news for the Australian solar sector as falling prices are expected to encourage the broader uptake of solar power in Australian homes and businesses. This uptake is also likely to be encouraged by the current research being conducted by Tesla into the use of house batteries to store energy generated by a personal renewable power source. Production is expected to begin on this product within 6 months. These developments are encouraging signs for the Australian solar industry, with large scale solar farms and technology advancements occurring throughout Australia and the world.

 

Source: Doran, M, 5 March 2015, “Australian-first floating solar farm due to begin construction in SA”, available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-05/australian-first-floating-solar-farm-for-sa/6281374, accessed 5 March 2015.

Energy Matters, 5 March 2015, “Off-Grid Hybrid Power Project for Flinders Island”, available at: http://www.energymatters.com.au/renewable-news/flinders-island-power-em4713/, accessed 5 March 2015.

Master, W, 3 March 2015, “New Tesla battery could take your home off the grid”, available at: http://www.tindosolar.com.au/2015/03/new-tesla-battery-take-home-grid/, accessed 5 March 2015.

White, A, 25 February 2015, “Solar power set to become cheapest source of energy over next decade, German think tank says”, available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-24/solar-track-becoming-cheapest-energy-source-agora-energiewende/6251322, accessed 5 March 2015.

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The Author

Cassandra House

Cassandra has recently graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Environmental Science and Conservation Biology. She is interested in the development of the Australian renewable energy sector as a means of sustaining the environment for the future; and is passionate about educating the public and small business owners on their options. Other interests include reading, gardening and playing piano and guitar. She is passionate about caring for Australia’s wildlife and has volunteered in wildlife rescue and many other community groups. Currently she is learning about small business management whilst assisting with the administration duties of her partner’s business.

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