Articles on Solar power

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Renewable energy developers choose sunny locations, which can be near protected lands. jsmoorman/flickr

Can we expand solar power dramatically without damaging protected lands?

Study shows that many of the utility-scale solar power plants in California have been placed near protected and environmentally sensitive lands.
Australia has 1.4 million solar rooftops. But it is with the addition of battery storage that energy grids will really be revolutionised. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Malcolm Turnbull wants to embrace ‘disruptive technology’ – he can start with solar power storage

New prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has stressed the importance of embracing 'disruptive' technologies that shake up existing business models. Solar power and battery storage is one of the most enticing options.
To no one’s surprise, a US study found that solar panel cells produce infrasound and low frequency noise which is way below audibility. AAP/Dean Lewins

Infrasound phobia spreads … to solar energy cells! What’s next?

Internoise is the world’s premier research conference for acousticians. The 2015 meeting is being held right now in San Francisco. Buried among the hundreds of papers is one that you could easily take…
Will alternate solar technologies get a boost if solar overall grows? Walmartcorporate/flickr

Do we need a solar power technology breakthrough?

Hillary Clinton's renewable energy plan is ambitious but, on a technical level, doable. Would it foster more solar technology innovation?
Townsville’s roads (pictured) may have their busy periods but is it the best place to start a solar charged ‘electric super highway’? Flickr/John Skewes

Where to put the first electric car charge station in the Sunshine State

If you want to kick-start the "electric superhighway" in Queensland then it makes sense to start in a populated area with the busiest traffic.
California has realised that investing in renewables is smart economic policy. Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons

50% renewable energy would put Australia in line with leading nations

Ramping up investment in renewable energy would put Australia on a footing with competitors such as China, Germany and California, which are set to reap the economic benefits of this emerging sector.
Solar thermal technology is still an outside bet - and not the kind of investment the CEFC was set up to make. WorleyParsons/AAP Image

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is meant to back winners, not minnows

Environment minister Greg Hunt wants the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to focus on new technologies, not wind and solar. But that's not what it was set up to do, and Australia already has an agency for that.
Packing heat: concentrating sunlight into a reactor to split H2O and CO2 – a step toward making liquid fuels. Courtesy of Professor David Hahn, University of Florida

Solar fuels: how planes and cars could be powered by the sun

Rooftop solar power is exploding in the US but some scientists are pursuing a radically different route in renewable energy: storing solar energy as a liquid fuel.
South Australia’s wind farms have coped without baseload power before - they can do it again. Fairv8/Wikimedia Commons

Coal closures give South Australia the chance to go 100% renewable

Coal closures announced this week in South Australia will cause employment pain, but could also help pave the way for the state to go 100% renewable - something that modelling suggests is eminently possible.
A new Grattan Institute report suggests solar panels in Australia might be more trouble than they are worth. Duncan Rowalinson/Flickr

Given the value of emissions cuts, solar subsidies are worth it

The Grattan Institute has reported that the costs of solar panels have outweighed the benefits by almost A$10 billion in Australia. But the real benefits of cutting greenhouse emissions are much larger.
Countries should make pledges to fund low-carbon research - such as developing solar technology - and development as part of global climate talks. University of Salford Press Office/Flickr

What’s missing from our climate pledges? Low-carbon R&D

Countries will take emissions reduction pledges to international climate talks in Paris at the end of this year. Those pledges should also include funds for low-carbon R&D.
Investment in technologies beyond the existing wind and solar could stagnate in the face of the government’s reduced Renewable Energy Target. Rolandg/Wikimedia Commons

How will the reduced Renewable Energy Target affect investment?

After months of deadlock, a deal has finally been reached to reduce the Renewable Energy Target, ending the uncertainty for industry but also risking an already sparse pipeline of future projects.
Batteries to store excess solar power will be a game-changer. But energy-efficient appliances will mean you can use a smaller battery. AAP Image/Raoul Wegat,file

Energy storage is crucial, but it’s not the only piece in the puzzle

The unveiling of Tesla's Powerwall home battery has been hailed as a huge moment in renewable energy. But don't forget the other innovations that can help you use that stored power more efficiently.

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