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News and Events

Check this page regularly for news items and events related to solar technology and other sources of renewable energy.


Solar Homes and Communities Plan

Source: Australian Government Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, 9th June 2009

Unprecedented growth under the Government's Solar Homes and Communities Plan has resulted in early closure of this program and the immediate introduction of Solar Credits.

Official link
Media Release
Frequently asked questions

New net feed-in tariff for Western Australia

Source: Government of Western Australia Sustainable Energy Development Office, June 2009

The Western Australian Government has announced a $13.5 million Household Renewable Energy Scheme to support owners of household renewable energy systems. The scheme, to be implemented over three years, will assist in offsetting the capital cost of the systems.

Under the scheme homeowners who have installed small-scale renewable energy systems between 6 September 2008 and 2 June 2009 will receive three annual lump-sum payments to help recover the cost of their system installation. The payments will be an interim measure to provide assistance to the large number of homeowners who installed renewable energy systems in anticipation of the proposed feed-in tariff. More...

GreenWaste Recovery and SolarCity Complete 1.8 Acre Solar Panel Installation to Power San Jose Material Recovery Facility

Source: MarketWatch, 13th April 2009

GreenWaste Recovery, an industry leader in all aspects of recycling, composting and managing solid waste, and SolarCity(R), a national leader in solar power system design, financing, installation, monitoring and related services, today announced the completion of a dual-array, 1,502-panel solar power system that will provide renewable power to GreenWaste's Material Recovery Facility (MRF) to process and recover residential and commercial recyclable materials, yard trimmings and solid waste. The MRF solar system is one of the largest commercial solar system installations in the city of San Jose. The 300 kilowatt (DC)-rated solar arrays are expected to produce approximately 408,000 kilowatt-hours of zero-emission solar electricity annually, enough to power approximately 40-50 area homes. More...

WA residential Power prices set to rise 26.5% by 1 July 2009

Source: Media Statement by Peter Collier, Minister for Energy, 23rd February 2009

Energy Minister Peter Collier has announced an increase to the State's electricity retail tariffs, following last month's release of the Office of Energy's (OOE) final recommendations.

Householders can expect a 10 per cent rise on April 1, followed by 15 per cent on July 1, which is significantly lower than the OOE recommendation of 52 per cent to bring residential prices up to cost-reflective levels. More...

Power bills should rise by 78 per cent: Energy Office

Source: ABC news, 29th January 2009

Western Australia's Office of Energy has recommended a 78 per cent increase in charges for household electricity over the next 2 years.

It has forecast that a 52 per cent increase is needed in 2009/2010 with a further 26 per cent rise the following year. More...

Means test dropped for rebates on solar panels

Source: The Australian, 18th December 2008

THE Rudd Government will scrap the means test on household solar panels from July as part of its plan to have 20 per centof the nation's electricity supplied from renewable energy sources by 2020.

The Howard government introduced a subsidy for solar installations, but the Rudd Government imposed a means test making households with an income of more than $100,000 a year ineligible for the solar panel rebate of $8000.

From July 1, a "solar credits" policy will be introduced. It will not be means tested and will be available to all households, small businesses and community groups. It will be worth up to $7500 for those who install 1.5kilowatt solar power systems, which cost about $15,000 before the rebate. The rebate for smaller 1kW systems will be about $5000. More...

$25m Solar Farm For Western Australia

Source: Renewable Energy News, 12th December 2008

Two solar farms are to be constructed in Western Australia's Pilbara region in the townships of Marble Bar and Nullagine at a cost of 25 million dollars, reducing the dependency of the communities on fossil fuel for electricity production, namely diesel generators.

The solar electricity production will save the communities 35-40 percent in diesel consumption annually and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1100 tonnes per annum.

Powered by over 2000 high efficiency Sunpower monocrystalline solar panels, the project will have a combined capacity of 500 kilowatts and generate an estimated gigawatt of renewable energy for the local communities each year over the next 2 decades. According to ABS 2006 census data, Marble bar has a population of 194 and Nullagine, around 200. More...

Labor pledges to pay householders for solar power

Source: ABC News, 25th August 2008

Labor says it will pay West Australians to generate solar power if it wins the election.

Under the plan, people who buy rooftop solar panels will be paid 60 cents per kilowatt hour for the electricity they generate, or about $1,000 a year, until their solar system is paid off. More...

Solar rebate is too popular

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 21st August 2008

REBATES for solar panels will continue to be paid to householders by the Federal Government even though the original allocation for this year is likely to be exhausted next month.

The decision to drop the eligible income level for the $8000 rebate has not had the desired effect. Instead of slowing the number of applications, the rate has increased to up to 700 a week. If the present rate continues, the cap of 6000 will be reached next month.

Rather than take away an attractive incentive for households to install the rooftop systems, the Government has decided to keep paying the rebate, potentially blowing out the cost of the program, which was given $25.6 million for this year. More...

Big guns turn their sights on solar

Source: The Australian, Business, 13th August 2008

RIO's Tom Albanese, BHP Billiton's Marius Kloppers, Fortescue's Andrew Forrest and Wesfarmers' Richard Goyder don't always back the same horse, but as clients of John Grill at Worley Parsons they have agreed to fund a plan to build a massive solar power plant in Australia.

The mere concept of Albanese, Kloppers and Forrest at the same table may seem incongruous in view of some things they have said about each other, but on the potential for solar power they seem prepared to give it a try.

Grill's Worley colleague Peter Meurs, the person behind the EcoNomics project, is the mastermind behind the venture, which at this stage is in the midst of pre-feasibility work on the concept of a massive 250-megawatt solar powered electricity generator in Australia. More...

Garrett accused of solar gag

Source: NEWS.com.au, 25th July 2008

FEDERAL Environment Minister Peter Garrett is under fire for preventing government officials appearing at an inquiry into means testing of the solar panel rebate.

The Rudd Government angered the solar industry in the May Budget by imposing a means test threshold of $100,000 on each household seeking the $8000 rebate to offset the cost of installing solar panels. The solar industry warned the decision would cost jobs and shut down companies, while environmental groups said it sent the wrong message about the need to reduce carbon emissions.

A Senate committee was today due to question Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts officials in Canberra, but they failed to show up. It emerged Mr Garrett had instructed them not to appear, with his office saying he wanted to review the information the officials intended to present. More...

First zero-carbon city to rise out of the desert

Source: NewScientist News Service, 06th May 2008

One of the world's largest oil producers has begun construction on the first zero-carbon city, powered entirely by renewable energy.

Officials from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, touted plans for a $22 billion development known as the Masdar Initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in Cambridge, US, on 5 May.

"This is going to create huge business and research opportunities to get beyond where we are today," says Khaled Awad, of the government-owned Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company.

UAE is the third-largest oil exporting country in the world and sits on 10% of the planet's known oil reserves. Awad, however, sees the city, which will house an alternative energy research institute, as an investment in alternative energies that will eventually replace oil. More...

Calls for national solar feed-in tariff

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, 28th April 2008

The federal opposition has called for a national solar payment to encourage more home owners to generate solar power.

The Queensland and South Australian governments have approved such tariffs, which pay households above the retail rate for electricity generated by solar panels.

Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt on Monday said a draft plan should be prepared for a national tariff which has a guaranteed rate of pay for solar electricity feedback into the grid. More...

Price hikes to see cost of power skyrocket

Source: The West Australian, 4th April 2008

Ten years from now WA residents could be paying two and a half times what they currently pay for electricity.

The State Government today announced plans to increase electricity costs by 10 per cent in 2009-10, with similar annual increases to be phased in over the following six to eight years. More...

See also related articles:
Power charges to surge, ABC News

ADDING MULTIMEDIA Southern California Edison Launches Nation's Largest Solar Panel Installation

Source: Portfolio.com, 27th March 2008

Southern California Edison (SCE) today launched the nation's largest solar cell installation, a project that will place 250 megawatts of advanced photovoltaic generating technology on 65 million square feet of roofs of Southern California commercial buildings - enough power to serve approximately 162,000 homes.

"These are the kinds of big ideas we need to meet California's long-term energy and climate change goals," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "I urge others to follow in their footsteps. If commercial buildings statewide partnered with utilities to put this solar technology on their rooftops, it would set off a huge wave of renewable energy growth." More...

Window by day, light at night

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 28th March 2008

AS THE world prepares to switch off for Earth Hour tomorrow, the work of a young Sydney designer may make the light switch redundant forever.

Damien Savio, 23, has developed a window which stores energy from the sun during the day and then becomes a light at night. Just four hours of direct sunlight can produce a 60 watt-strength light which will last six hours.

His invention, which he calls the Lightway, has the potential to cut household energy use by 22 per cent. More...

Wind power breaks records in Spain

Source: Yahoo! Finance, 26th March 2008

MADRID (AFP) - Wind power is breaking new records in Spain, accounting for just over 40 percent of all electricity consumed during a brief period last weekend, the country's wind power association said Tuesday.

As heavy winds lashed Spain on Saturday evening wind parks generated 9,862 megawatts of power which translated to 40.8 percent of total consumption due to low demand during the Easter holiday weekend, AEE said. More...


Ideal Home Show incorporating Smart Home Technology Show 2009

27th of February - 2nd of March 2009
Perth Convention Exhibition Centre
Website: www.idealhomeshow.com.au

With almost three hundred exhibitors featuring over two thousand major brands, this is Western Australia's largest and most comprehensive home show ever and is the ideal event for anyone planning to build, renovate, add on, update, redesign, refurnish or refinance their home or apartment.

You'll find the absolute latest in home technology, construction materials, design ideas, colour schemes, furniture and furnishings and solutions for every aspect of your home, inside and out and it's all under one giant roof.

11th WA Environment Festival - Winds of Change

28th of March 2009
Naragebup Rockingham Regional Environment Centre
Website: www.naragebup.org.au

In 2009 the 11th WA Environment Festival - Winds of Change will take place on a weekend late in March. This remarkable achievement, ten years of providing environment information, learning and understanding to the WA community deserves to be celebrated.

There will be a wide range of activities, performances, eco-educational displays and events. With lots of stall holders and performing groups to entertain throughout the weekend this vibrant event provides excitement and stimulation, whilst presenting quality of life options.

Perth Sun Fair

5th of April 2009
University of Western Australia
Website: http://www.perthsunfair.com.au/

Renewable Energy and Sustainability Fair

The Sun Fair is aimed at introducing the people of Perth to sustainable living concepts, technology and lifestyles. Major themes of the fair include renewable energy, energy efficiency, environment conservation and natural living.

On Sunday 5th April 2009 people from all walks of life will come together on the Oak Lawn at the University of Western Australia to share information and experiences so they can return to their homes with a knowledge that they can make a difference to the future of the welfare of this planet and all its living systems.

The fair demonstrates that sustainable lifestyles are environmentally sound and cost effective and are very much an attainable reality.

Environmental change is a challenge facing all of us and will only be addressed when government, business and individuals act together to achieve a common goal of sustainable living.

Austral Bricks HIA Home Show 2009

23rd - 25th of October 2009
Perth Convention Exhibition Centre
Website: www.springhomeshow.com.au

The Austral Bricks HIA Home Show is the event for anyone considering the purchase of a new or existing home or undertaking a major renovation. The event's major focus is on new season and renewal themes and features swimming pools, spas, the outdoors and related products and services, garden design and fencing ideas, pergolas, paving and barbecues, indoor and outdoor furniture, interior design advice, furnishings, window treatments, lighting, floors, bedrooms, kitchens, laundries, electrical appliances, air conditioning, security and endless free advice.

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