This Week in Solar: Australia is back on the radar

Here are some solar news stories you may have missed from this week:

This Week in Solar: Australia is back on the radar

1. What Needs to Happen With My Metering?

Once you get a solar system installed, you’ll probably still have questions. Some of those might be related to what kind of metering changes you’ll see, and whether there’s anything else you need to do in order to make sure your system is working correctly and everything’s set up right. You want to get the maximum value from your investment in solar power.

Read our recent blog post for answers to the most important questions to ask.

2. Australia “back on radar” as global companies switch to wind and solar supplies

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) published its 2H 2020 Corporate Energy Market Outlook: The pandemic edition on Tuesday, diving in on global corporate PPAs signed through July. A total of 8.9GW of new PPAs were signed during the period, 300MW more than was signed during the first half of 2019.

“Australia is back on the radar,” BNEF said, with corporate clean energy PPA activity already up 50% over 2019 as a whole. Multinational companies such as Amazon and Aldi Foods have announced big clean energy PPAs in 2020, “attracted to the flexibility of Australia’s corporate procurement market, which mirrors the US in many ways.”

3. PPA-linked 120 MW solar park goes online in Australia

Electricity network infrastructure owner Spark Infrastructure has announced it has received approvals from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and TransGrid for full commercial operations at its 120 MWDC/100 MWAC Bomen Solar Farm, 10 kilometers northeast of Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. The project was successfully completed and connected to the grid despite challenges arising from the outbreak of COVID-19.

4. CEFC makes first industrial property investment as it seeks to unlock sector’s PV, battery potential

Charter Hall’s $5.5 billion Prime Industrial Fund (CPIF) has landed a $50 million equity investment from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), which will help implement innovative sustainability solutions across the fund’s industrial and logistics assets. The investment announced on Thursday represents the CEFC’s first foray into the industrial property sector that holds great potential for sustainability improvements.

“Australia has about 35 million square metres of industrial roof space – a largely untapped resource for energy efficiency improvements, solar PV and batteries that offers significant potential to provide clean energy as well as grid services,” CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said.

5. New England big battery awarded $12.5 million state government grant

New South Wales have received a big boost with the announcement of a $12.5 million State Government grant. The funding provided through the government’s Emerging Energy Program will be used to support the construction of a 50 MWh battery that will be collocated with stage 1 of the UPC/AC Renewables’ 720 MW New England Solar Farm.

The battery storage system will be built alongside the 400 MW stage 1 solar farm. Construction on the battery is expected to start early next year and will take about 12 months. During peak construction, 40 jobs will be created with three ongoing roles once commissioned. The project details and funding announcement came from Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall on Thursday.

6. Beer unsold during Australia’s coronavirus lockdown has been turned into renewable energy

When Australia’s coronavirus lockdown forced bars and restaurants to shut down in March, breweries were left with huge inventories of unsold, stale beer.

But instead of going to waste, some expired ales and lagers in the state of South Australia have been serving a new purpose: powering a water treatment plant.

At the Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant to the west of the state capital Adelaide, millions of liters of unused beer from local breweries have been converted into renewable energy to power its water treatment process in recent months.

7. Australia’s renewables pipeline continues to grow at record speed led by solar PV

The first half of 2020 was a rollercoaster for the Australian utility-scale renewable energy sector as it faced a global pandemic, a series of massive bushfires during the summer, deflated wholesale prices, and severe delays in finalizing grid connection processes. While this has led to the lowest level of new utility PV and wind construction over any six-month period since 2016, the pipeline of renewable projects in the country continued to grow at record speed, Norwegian consultancy Rystad Energy finds.

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