Tagged With solar

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The southern stretches of the Monaro Highway make for a wholesome pastoral drive, passing fields full of cows and golden grass swaying in soft breezes. The road winds around hills and dams, at one point tipping up and over a crest to reveal an unexpected sight: thousands of solar panels shining in the hard Australian sun.

This is the Royalla Solar Farm — a paddock full of solar photovoltaic modules that together are capable of powering 4500 Canberra homes. And despite living in Australia's smallest territory, Royalla is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ACT's solar accomplishments.

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Last week, Tesla announced Australian pre-orders for its solar roof, with installations starting in 2018. The idea is fantastic — replace your house roof with solar tiles that look good, generate power and are even more durable than existing options. But in the real world, is it worth the price? We crunch the numbers to find out.

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In a recent trial of 'mini grid' technology, a group of eight Melbourne houses were linked to each other to form a self-sustaining, all-renewable grid completely independent of mains electricity. Electricity was drawn instead from combined solar and battery systems on the houses, which could even cover the houses without solar systems installed.

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Winter is fast approaching and many solar panel owners are already anticipating the drop in solar power output that comes in the cooler months. With shorter days, more cloud cover and the sun shining at a different angle, it feels like a foregone conclusion to lose up to a third of your solar system’s usual output. But don’t despair too quickly — there are things that can be done to make sure your panels continue operating as efficiently as possible all through the winter.

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They're flexible, cheap to produce and simple to make – which is why perovskites are the hottest new material in solar cell design. And now, engineers at the University of New South Wales in Sydney have smashed the trendy new compound's world efficiency record.

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Scientists at The Australian National University (ANU) have set a world record for efficiency for a solar thermal dish generating steam that could be used for power stations.

The team designed and built a new receiver for the solar concentrator dish at ANU, halving losses and achieving a 97 per cent conversion of sunlight into steam. The breakthrough could lead to the generation of cheaper base-load electricity from renewable energy and help lower carbon emissions which cause global warming.

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Just 6 per cent of New South Wales is using renewable electricity. By contrast, Tasmania is on 95 per cent (but with good reason) and fellow mainlander South Australia is sitting at 40 per cent.

And with just $1.4m set aside in the budget to foster the renewable energy sector, the New South Wales doesn't seem to be keen to lift its ranking among the states from dead last to anything better.

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Elon Musk is on the brink of acquiring the the next critical component in a solar-electric transportation future. Tesla Motors just made an offer to buy SolarCity, one of the largest solar providers in the US — a company not coincidentally founded by Musk's cousins, which Musk holds a large stake in already.