Australian Made Solar Inverters

We are currently assessing the viability of a new range of 5 kilowatt solar inverters designed for use with residential and industrial solar systems. The local market is dominated by manufacturers like SMA and there is a niche market for locally designed and supported inverters. With the advent of solar battery storage technology – pioneered by Panasonic (in part), and the government acknowledgement that grid intermitency is likely to be an ongoing problem, we are looking to design battery storage connectivity into any inverter designs.

Solar Inverter Specifications

Our initial design concepts are built around the following requirements and specifications:

  1. Greater than 97 percent efficiency
  2. Connectivity that includes RS 232 and USB ports
  3. Wide input voltage operating range
  4. Minimum IP65 rating (possibly greater, given Australian summer temperatures)
  5. Both field and remote upgrade options available
  6. Minimum 10 year full warranty with Australian service and support
  7. 100 percent transformerless design
  8. Use of low RDs on mosfet ouput switching (PWM)

In house design in partnership with John Grainger, a long term advocate for solar technology in South Australia.

Market Outlook For Solar Power In Australia

We are confident that the long term future for residential p.v. systems in Australia remains strong. With fewer than 12 percent of homes already having solar panels installed, the outlook for energy prices to continue to increase in years to come and government incentives likely to remain in the near term, the outlook for the market is positive.

Locally Produced Inverters

Manufacturing locally designed electronics in Australia remains viable. Whilst the outflow of manufacturing in the electronics sector from Australia to China was witnessed between 1990 and 2010, there has been a steady reversal of this trend in the last 5 years. With local contract manufacturers investing in surface mount ‘pick and place’ technology, the cost of electronic assembly in Australia is now estimated to be only 10 to 15 percent above that of China based manufacturing. Manufacturing locally means greater market ‘agility’ and the ability to be able to change designs and manufacture in a matter of days rather than weeks.

We will update readers on this new project over the coming weeks.

C Gammy – October 2017

I can be contacted here

 

 

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Base Load Solar and Wind Power Coupling Idea Related To Electric Vehicles

Amory Lovins et al. as part of their work on the hypercar (lightweight hybrid vehicle) came up with the interesting idea of using the battery capacity of these cars to provide a swing energy capacity to balance the flow of energy from wind turbines and solar electricity sources. This could mean that renewable energy could be used to provide baseload power.  (ie. renewable electricity sources are used to charge car batteries and then these batteries are drawn on to provide power to the grid, when cars are parked, to fill any holes in the generation profile of the renewable sources.)

 
Tony Maine, from South Australia, has developed this idea based on the idea of developing fleets of pure (non hybrid) electric cars.
 
What is the feasibility of applying this idea to the existing car fleet?  Every car in the fleet has a battery.  If all cars were retrofitted so that they could plug into the grid these batteries could be charged up using wind power etc. rather than by running the petrol driven engine a bit harder and then the standing mass of batteries could be used as a store of renewable electricity.  Would the ‘spare’ battery capacity of the current car fleet be large enough to balance a significant addition of wind power to the grid?  Is the existing battery capacity of the total car fleet enough to make it worthwhile to pursue this idea?  How good would the economics of this idea be?
 
If all homes (and car parks) were fitted with the electronics for a 2 way flow of electricity this would enable the cars to plug in and would also enable people to add rooftop solar installations to the grid too thus spreading the cost over additional uses. Would this make much useful difference to the economics?

 

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My Personal Philosophy On Climate Change and Renewable Energy

My Personal Philosophy On Climate Change and Renewable Energy

As M.D. of an engineering consultacy working in the power, solar and technology fields for over 26 years i have developed an affinity for renewable energy and alternatives to the carbon based energy production systems currently in place. I wrote this article for GGA,  Green Group Australia , in May this year – it captures some of my thoughts on the subject:

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When the climate situation is getting worse, and the politics is going pear shaped in Australia, what should we do?


This is the conundrum that I’ve been grappling with – trying to work out what we can do as a movement and what I should do personally.

Over the last 12 months I’ve been doing strategy work to figure out how we can take the climate emergency agenda forward despite Tony Abbott being the new PM.

Three key action ideas emerged, and one key unresolved problem.  The three key strategic action ideas are:
  • It’s time we worked even-handedly across the political spectrum ( right / left) to mobilise ‘realists’  people who take their cues from the state of the real world rather than from what they would like to believe.
    • Delivering a safe climate restructuring at emergency speed is not a “single issue” task.  Our best chance for early implementation is in localities where climate awareness is highest, creating a powerful demonstration effect.
    • Local government is the level of government where the first implementation successes can be possible – even in difficult times.
    The unresolved issue was the deficit of climate emergency leadership.
    One suggestion was to encourage more public intellectuals to contribute opinion pieces in the media.
 

But more was needed.

Then two months ago a new strategy was put to me.  Adrian Whitehead, the co-founder of Beyond Zero Emissions, asked me to join a newly forming political party that he is setting up – Green the Planet.

At first I was very hesitant.  Not because I was worried about upsetting Martin Ferguson, but because I wasn’t sure that forming a new party was the way to go.

I had a lot of discussions with Adrian about how Save the Planet could operate.  It was agreed that:
  • it would s focus on the climate emergency (restoring a safe climate at emergency speed);
  • it would not get involved in policy issues that did not relate directly to climate;
  • it would be a campaigning party, campaigning for climate emergency action, rather than for party recognition, in both election and non-election periods;
  • it would cooperate with candidates and MPs/Councillors from any party, or none (across the left – right spectrum) that were prepared to provide strong leadership on climate, preferably climate emergency leadership;
  • it would not position itself as being on the left or the right.

After a lot of agonising and weighing up the pros and cons, I finally decided it was worth a try.

The deciding factors for me were that:
  • we need an organised presence that will provide climate emergency leadership directly and publicly, rather only being able to urge others to provide leadership.
  • the preferential and proportional representation systems in Australia mean that the existence of the Save the Planet party would not damage other parties that are active on climate (eg. the Greens).

The experience of working with Save the Planet has confirmed my hunch that there would be something powerful about working for a group that is tightly focused on providing climate emergency leadership ‘in the real world’.  The work is highly practically focused but there is no watering down of the goals.

So where are things up to now?

We have already launched our core campaign – pressing decision-makers to prepare (and then implement) an emergency plan, for their jurisdiction, for the restoration of a safe climate.  See the online petition that is still collecting signatures at:

And Save the Planet has 200 members already.

To register as a political party for the coming Federal election, and therefore be able to have the party name on the ballot papers, we need a little over 300 more members.

You could help us achieve this goal by passing this email on to friends and family and others in your contact networks.
And one more thing.  Would you be prepared to join Save the Planet yourself?  Today, or some time over the next 7 days.


This is the moment in time when ‘one more member’ will make the most difference to the world and to Save the Planet. 
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