Mixed Greens: PV deployment slows as economies of scale set in

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Australia’s rooftop solar deployment slowed in August, but on track for 2,200MW for year. Plus a hydrogen-fuelled Boeing; biofuels news; and a NZ cleantech winner.

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The pace of deployment of rooftop solar PV appears to have slowed down slightly in the month of August, but it is still on track to match last year’s total of 800MW, and lift total installation to 2,200MW by the end of the year.

According to the most recent data compiled by Warwick Johnston of SunWiz, there was 100MW of PV registered across Australia, a slowdown from the peak of June/July, when 110MW were installed. He said the accumulated total for the country was 540MW for the first eight months of the year.

He also noted that recent analysis of pricing by Solar Choice suggested that economies of scale are becoming increasingly apparent, with the per-watt price of a 1.5kW system being 25 per cent higher than that of a 3kW system.

In other news…

Boeing has unveiled a prototype plane it hopes could lead a new age of hydrogen-powered air travel and help carriers achieve carbon neutral flight by the middle of the century. BusinessGreen reports that the next-generation 737-800 ecoDemonstrator aircraft is fitted with various fuel efficiency and noise reduction technologies – including a regenerative fuel cell that uses the surplus energy produced when the aircraft is climbing or cruising to break down ionized water into oxygen and hydrogen, which can then be stored and used to power airplane systems at times of low supply – that Boeing has been testing now for 45 days.

Joule Biotechnologies has announced a strategic (and exclusive) partnership with German car maker Audi to accelerate the commercialisation of its biologically derived, sustainable fuels, Sunflow-E and Sunflow-D, for the global ethanol and diesel markets. The Boston Herald reports that the partnership is expected to spur testing and validation, and life-cycle analysis and support for its SunSprings demonstration facility located in New Mexico, which began operations this month.

New Zealand “carbon-refining” start-up CarbonScape has won a spot among three finalists in the international Postcode Lottery Green Challenge – an achievement that has thus far earned the company $NZ156,600. CarbonScape’s patented continuous-flow microwave technology is an energy self-sufficient process to convert wood and other waste into high-value Graphite, Activated Carbon, and Metallurgical Coke and, in the case of both Graphite and Coke, can replace fossil fuels in the steel industry. The winner of the competition, to be announced in New York on Sunday, will receive €500,000.

Energy consultancy AECOM has appointed Frank Mohen as the new leader for its Australia/NZ environment business. Mohen, a civil engineering graduate who previously led AECOM’s NSW/ACT environment team, says mining and resources will continue to be a major focus for the business, as it  grows its services in areas like greenfields and upstream and downstream services in oil and gas. During Clean Energy Week in late July, AECOM declared its support of the government’s Renewable Energy Target and warned that relying on natural gas for domestic electricity production could see consumer electricity prices soar, even more than they already have.

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