Property developers in Victoria may be prevented from building high-rises that block sunlight from hitting solar panels on buildings in central Melbourne, under new rules being considered by the state government, The Age reports. The newspaper says the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure is reviewing planning and building provisions that affect solar panel placement and overshadowing.
The Age said the move comes as a new study shows that just 20 per cent of Melbourne’s inner-city rooftops could host the equivalent of 100 large solar parks. Councillor and sustainable business expert Arron Wood said the figure would be much higher if they had also audited high-rise towers and business and apartment buildings in the central city. But concerns about the sun being blocked by new construction in the CBD led the council to limit its scoping study. For this reason there needed to be stronger government policy on the shadowing of solar panels.
Winaico looks to off-grid in top-end
WINAICO Australia, a subsidiary of Taiwan’s largest PV module manufacturer, Win Win Precision Technology, has plans to sign a memorandum of understanding with Ogden Electrical this week in Melbourne. The MOU will be for the co-development of high quality, reliable energy solutions eventually designed to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels in Australia, particularly in the Northern Territory.
Ogden Power provides solar power to remote parts of Australia, and is currently based in Alice Springs. Ogden’s Director, Rede Ogden, said there is a growing commercial ‘off-the-grid’ market that will reduce dependence on fossil fuels and in the long term reduce the overall cost of electricity. Ogden and WINAICO will be working on both conventional and renewable hybrid systems in remote regions. WINAICO brings expertise in solar panels and semi-conductor development.
NZ pilot scheme sees hydrogen produced from wind energy
A New Zealand pilot scheme has produced hydrogen from excess energy from wind turbines and solar farms. The New Zealand Herald reports that Callaghan Innovation was deployed last November, consisting of a small hydrogen production system on a wildlife reserve in Wellington Harbour. The system was designed to capitalise on surplus energy generated from wind and solar system from the area and although they had only used the system intermittently, it has, to date produced enough energy to power the water heating and cooking requirements of a typical energy efficient home.
Speaking with the NZ Hearald, Alister Gardiner from Callaghan Innovation, was surprised that even though they were “operating the equipment less than half the time, it has produced 800 kilowatt hours of hydrogen”. Gardiner touted the technology as cost-effective and “scalable and could quite easily be used as the sole source of water heating and cooking for small communities such as those in outback Australia and on islands in New Zealand and throughout the South Pacific”.
New group to push renewables in NSW
A new organisation has been created to bring together stakeholders in renewable energy development in 16 local government areas in south-eastern New South Wales and the AXT. SERREE – the South East Region of Renewable Energy Excellence – combines private groups and government agencies looking to exploit the region’s solar, hydro, wind, bioenergy and wave power possibilities. SERREE project officer Craig Hanicek hopes these “renewable energy initiatives will both strengthen and diversify local economies”