Tag Archives: solar power

Solar Cities: A Vision Taking Shape

Solar cities is a term describing carbon neutral or sustainable cities such as Masdar, Abu Dhabi, a city of 7 sq.km. which has been designed to house 50,000 people.

Using the sun’s energy to source power for solar cities is an idea growing in popularity on a daily basis. In order to harness the energy of the sun, photovoltaic (‘PV’) technology is used. There is a plethora of benefits from using PV, starting with costs and finishing with health benefits.

Powering Solar Cities

The main benefits of solar energy are environmental and cost savings. Using rooftop solar pv panels to supply homes, offices, factories and entire regions with power, at a fraction of the cost of fossil-fuel based electricity is the way to produce solar cities. When sufficiently large arrays of solar panels are installed for a city, the demand for grid-based power is vastly reduced or almost eliminated.

At householder levels, solar panels commonly used for a solar water heater have a lifespan of up to 25 years and at a rate of US$4.30 or even less for 1 Watt of output, for a 50 watts panel costs are as low as $220. Of course as technologies improve, prices will reduce rapidly.

Moving Away From Reliance on the Grid

The main source of electricity in the world today is fossil fuel based, which means that countries need to spend a lot of money on buying non-renewable resources. Running huge electric grids and power plants is costly, and these costs are passed on to the consumer.

As solar cities use renewable solar power as their main source of electricity there is no need for huge power plants, no need for fossil fuel and definitely no need for transporting oil, coal and gas. The savings to the consumer and governments can be appropriated for other important projects, such as healthcare, technology and education.

Solar cities are currently in development and when time has shown how effective they are, more nations will be inclined to follow their path.

Third World Benefits

In third world countries many accidents happen due to the spilling of kerosene lamps. Using open fires for cooking also creates serious respiratory and burn problems.

Breathe Easier

Solar cities which rely on solar energy rather than fossil fuels will have cleaner air. Burning fossil fuels produces toxic fumes and allergens which accounts for many people’s respiratory problems.

In comparison to kerosene, which produces fumes equivalent to inhaling the equivalent of 2 packs of cigarettes per day, solar energy has practically zero emissions and it doesn’t also have any impact on the greenhouse effect.

Solar Cities for the Future

Cities in USA and around the world are introducing solar panels to generate energy to their built environment. This has a positive effect on our world by slowing the greenhouse gas effect. Solar cities reduce the pollution created by the use of fossil fuel and they present a cost-effective and health-effective way of providing power to the population. I have previously written on the idea of a solar empire which envisages a growing number of nations creating solar cities.

Guest author: Living Quarters, India


AuSES leads Feed In Tarriff Crisis Rally

The efforts by AuSES of being involved and in fact co leading a protest to highlight the hypocrisy and silliness of the NSW Government of feed in tariff policy in NSW and also to heighten awareness of Federal politicians is admirable in this case.

However, a word of caution is appropriate here.  AuSES has the high ground as far as serving the public interest and credibility in dealing with governments over the last 50 years.  That is not to say that they always listen.  On the contrary they often don’t – but they do not see us as the enemy.  Protesting all the time is a bit like ‘crying wolf ‘ in the perceptual mentality of politicians.

To retain this status of getting a respected hearing with governments it should not be a habit that the Society is continually involved in this sort of activity.  There are organizations that have protest as their mode of operation, Green Peace for example.  There is a hazard for the society to become too closely associated with this function, as it will undermine the privileged position AuSES has at the high ground level with governments of the day.

I believe that AuSES needs to retain the intellectual high ground as its prime function of promoting Solar Energy in all its forms in this 21st Century.

From my experience the treachery of governments in the past has been unbearable and although the Society has always made its point, we could have taken to the streets on numerous occasions.  We did not.   This has kept us out of the ‘hate’ limelight shone on detractors of government policy, by politicians.  Staying apolitical and be open for professional quality consultation is most of the time if asked by government, is the best long term strategy in my opinion.  Discretion is the key.

This time well done John Grimes, because ”never say never”!

Garry Baverstock AM

[Current President of AuSES Western Australia]

Director : solar-e.com.

Read the story of the rally:    AuSES Solar Crisis Rally a Success

REDP Funding Finally Announced for Two Big Solar Projects

11 May 2010

John Grimes, CEO
Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES)
Website: www.auses.org.au
Email: CEO@auses.org.au

The Australian Government has awarded $92 million to two large-scale solar energy demonstration projects.

The two projects are:

1) 23 megawatt solar boost to coal-fired turbines at Kogan Creek, near Chinchilla in western Queensland ($32 million), using Ausra (now Areva) Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector technology

2) 40 megawatt concentrated solar thermal demonstration plant at Whyalla, South Australia, using Australia’s own “Big Dish” technology ($60 million).

Combined with investment from the successful applicants, the two projects will deliver about $320 million in solar energy investment in Australia and more than 60 megawatts equivalent of solar peak load generation capacity, within the next four years. These projects will save almost 100,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

Additional details of the projects follows:

• CS Energy Pty Ltd – $31.8 million
The CS Energy project at Kogan Creek in Queensland will demonstrate the Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) solar array technology developed in Australia by Ausra Pty Ltd. This technology is now being marketed world-wide by the Areva Group. The project will be attached to the existing Kogan Creek A Power Station to provide a 23 megawatt equivalent superheated steam solar boost to the coal-fired turbines. This will allow an increase in energy output as well as saving around 35,600 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. CS Energy is a Queensland Government-owned corporation.

• N.P. Power Pty Ltd (Whyalla Solar Oasis Consortium) – $60.0 million
The Whyalla Solar Oasis Consortium will demonstrate Wizard Power’s ‘Big Dish’ concentrated solar thermal power generation technology developed at the Australian 2 National University in 1994. The 40 megawatt demonstration plant at Whyalla will utilise 300 ‘Big Dish’ solar thermal concentrators that will be built on site using Wizard Power Pty Ltd’s proprietary factory-in-the-field concept. The technology is easily scalable and a successful demonstration of the ‘Big Dish’ technology will open the way for further deployment of the technology, both within Australia and overseas. The project will generate power for about 9,500 average households and save about 60,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. The Whyalla Solar Oasis Consortium consists of N.P. Power Pty Ltd, Sustainable Power Partners Pty Ltd and Wizard Power Pty Ltd.

AuSES welcomes this funding announcement, and congratulates the two projects selected. We look forward to seeing the emergence of large scale solar as a result of this announcement.

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Australian Solar Institute Funding Announced

11 May 2010

John Grimes, CEO
Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES)
Website: www.auses.org.au
Email: CEO@auses.org.au

The latest Australian Solar Institute (ASI) funding for solar energy has announced five projects that will receive grants worth a total of $18.5 million.

The latest grants are:

• $5.0 million for a $24.1 million project run by the University of New South Wales in collaboration with Silex Solar and Suntech Power to improve the performance of screen printed solar PV cells
• $2.25 million for a $5.4 million project run by BT Imaging Pty Ltd to improve the performance of photovoltaic manufacturing
• $2.25 million for a $15.6 million project run by Sapphicon Semiconductor Pty Ltd to develop a high-efficiency solar module on a wafer based thin film
• $4.0 million for a $9.0 million project run by CSIRO and the Australian National University to develop advanced solar thermal energy storage technologies
• $4.95 million for an Australian National University led $13.4 million applied research project in collaboration with industry partner, Transform Solar (an Origin Energy JV) to help develop the next generation of solar cells.

AuSES would like to congratulate all of the successful projects, and restate our support for the Australian Solar Institute.

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