Solar power

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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.
Amid the fanfare over the launch of the Powerwall, has Tesla’s Elon Musk struck a decisive blow for renewable energy? YouTube/Tesla Motors

The Tesla battery heralds the beginning of the end for fossil fuels

Tesla's new home battery could help halve the costs of electricity for typical American households - all using existing technology. The fossil fuel industry is right to be worried.
If Tesla Energy has its way, these big batteries will soon help power businesses and utility companies across the country. Reuters

Is climate policy compatible with Tesla’s battery-fueled dreams?

Many of the targeted behavioral responses to climate change involve reducing energy consumption. This makes sense as the majority of energy consumed (pretty much throughout all history) has involved burning…
Use your solar photovoltaic panels to heat your water too, and you could cut the amount of excess electricity you give away cheaply to the grid. zstock/

Get more out of your solar power system by using water as a battery

Most solar power households feed excess electricity back into the grid, for very little financial reward. A hot water heat pump could put that power to better use, by heating water for evening use.
Renewables or oil? The former means betting each-way on energy storage. The latter means hoping to pull off a trifecta on carbon storage. Hans Engbers/

Only a mug punter would bet on carbon storage over renewables

The question of whether the future will be powered by coal and oil or by renewable energy is crucially important, both to the medium-term future of the Australian economy and to the long-term future of…
Increasing Chinese investment in renewables is driving costs down. The Danish Wind Industry Association / Vindmølleindustrien/Flickr

Chile’s mines set hot pace on renewables — Australia take note

Mining is the fourth-largest energy consumer in Australia, using roughly 10% of Australia’s total. Some of this comes from the electricity grid — but much is supplied offgrid in the form of diesel and…
It’ll come down to politics in the end. jeedlove

Here comes the sun: explosion in solar power beckons

Is solar power the technology of the future? It is certainly the fastest-growing energy generation technology in the UK. By the early 2020s, according to a new report, it will be cost-competitive with…
Roof-top solar panels are just one part of the micropower revolution. Presidency Maldives

Move over big power – the micropower revolution is here

There is no shortage of shouting and dire warnings about the state of the climate and our need to phase out fossil fuels. But there is a more silent revolution happening too — in micropower. Small-scale…

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