What is it with solar?

The sky over Geelong is covered with dark clouds, but in the radio studio at 94.7 The Pulse during this hour it is going to be sunny – talking solar power, megawatts and feed-in tarifs up and down the walls. Because: What is it with solar and harnessing the sun, really? What’s the costs? Is it expensive? Is it worth the investment? Is it already too late to get in? Is it better than wind turbines?

Christian Pritchett from City to Surf Solar Plus, Doug Rolfe from the Alternative Technology Association, and Goshen Watts from Transition South Barwon deliver some answers.

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Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 15:


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Audio excerpt from the programme

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Audio excerpt:
Graeme Stockton, Surf Coast Energy Group


» To open or download the mp3-file, right-click here and use dropdown menu to download.

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Surf Coast Energy Group organised an a series of presentation about renewable energy on 4 March 2014 – an evening about how a community can create their own energy. The photo above shows the participants of the event.

» Home page of Surf Coast Energy Group: www.sceg.org.au


» Facebook page of Surf Coast Energy Group: www.facebook.com/SurfCoastEnergyGroup


Mentioned in the programme

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Here’s the links to some of the various topics we talked about:

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City to Surf Solar Plus

City to Surf Solar Plus’ most popular page is the one which explains about independent off-grid systems:
www.citytosurfsolar.com.au

» City to Surf Solar Plus home page: www.citytosurfsolar.com.au

» City to Surf Solar Plus Facebook-page: www.facebook.com

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Towns and new estates could unplug from the grid

Regional towns and new housing estates could function viably and economically off the electricity grid, a new report reveals.

‘What Happens When We Un-Plug: Exploring the Consumer and Market Implications of Viable Off-Grid Energy Supply’ found many Victorians could unplug from the grid by 2020 and use renewable energy systems with battery storage.

The detailed report on the viability of stand-alone power solutions has been produced by the clean energy social enterprise Energy for the People and the not-for-profit Alternative Technology Association, funded by the Consumer Advocacy Panel.

Energy for the People wrote:

“Australia’s energy market is in a profound state of transition – from a centrally planned and controlled market, to one where individuals and communities have an increasing say in their energy choices, including the possibility of total energy self-sufficiency.

How fast this transition occurs is open to debate. However, our research suggests that, for many customers across Australia, cost will no longer be a barrier to achieving independence from the centralised energy grid by 2020.

We have dared to imagine an energy company that puts customers’ interests first. A company that helps customers to retrofit their homes cost-effectively, and choose efficient appliances, while providing incentives for people to practice energy conservation. We welcome your feedback on the detailed report.”

» Download case study: ‘What Happens When We Unplug?’


Read more:

» Alternative Technology Association’s home page: www.ata.org.au

» Energy for The People’s home page: www.energyforthepeople.com.au



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» Tesla motors’ ‘Supercharger’ solar EV charging network across the US (for free):
www.teslamotors.com/supercharger


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Embark Australia

Embark Australia is acting now to eliminate the barriers holding back the growth of a powerful, community renewable energy sector in Australia. Whether those barriers are a lack of project funding, specialist information and advice, reflexive opposition or the impact of poor policy settings, Embark’s mission is to help erode them all.

» Home page: www.embark.com.au

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Renewable energy target

The Renewable Energy Target scheme encourages investment in renewable energy by requiring electricity retail companies to purchase a certain amount of renewable energy each year. By the year 2020, at least 20% of electricity must come from renewable resources.

The Australian government has taken the target up for review and has appointed Dick Warburton, allegedly a ‘climate change denier’, to head the review panel. Panel member Shirley In’t Veld is a former Managing Director of Verve Energy who are primarily a fossil fuel generating business – 98.3 percent of their generation assets are from fossil fuels and just 1.3 per cent from renewables.

Yes2Renewables has stated that Victoria is at risk of losing solar jobs if the government cuts the Renewable Energy Target following a review of the policy.

A national survey undertaken by the Australian Solar Council found 81 percent of its member businesses would be forced to sack staff if the Renewable Energy Target is wound back or axed. On the other hand, if the Abbott government leaves the popular policy alone, 60 percent of the solar companies surveyed would hire more staff.

Analysis conducted by the REC Agents Association (RAA) found 12,600 solar jobs could go over the next four years if the Renewable Energy Target was axed.

» Source: www.yes2renewables.org.

» Friends of the Earth’s response to the review is available here: www.yes2renewables.org

» The Guardian – 17 February 2014:
Climate skeptic leading review into Renewable Energy Target

» Yes2Renewables.org – 5 December 2013:
Taylor hints RET review will kill Australian wind sector

» Federal politics – voting intention: www.essentialvision.com.au



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Utilities fear losing their monopoly

“From California to Colorado to North Carolina and other states, many generators of centralized fossil fuel energy are trying to prevent individual Americans from producing clean, renewable solar energy on their own roof tops. They would deny us the opportunity to participate in the greater goal of shifting away from polluting, climate-altering fossil fuels. There is a simple reason for the utilities’ action: They fear losing their monopoly hold on revenue from power production.”
Earthjustice.org


» Read more on: www.earthjustice.org



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Music

Music played in the Sustainable Hour on 5 March 2014:

SolarEdge: ‘Solar Gangnam Style’

Published on youtube.com on 17 December 2012.




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You can listen to all of the radio shows in full length as well as in excerpts. Use the links below. You will also find links to more information about the topics and sites that have been mentioned during the hour.

| Social streamHour no 15No 14No 13No 12No 11No 10No 9No 8No 7No 6No 5No 4No 3No 2No 1 |




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94.7 The Pulse

» 947thepulse.comGeelong’s Premier Community Radio Station



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