Solar powered “Melbourne Quarter” precinct wins CEFC backing


By Sophie Voratth


A major new solar powered commercial precinct in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD has won the backing of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, as part of a portfolio of sustainable development projects with property group Lendlease.

The CEFC said last week it would commit up to $100 million in equity to Australian Prime Property Fund Commercial (APPF Commercial) – a leading sustainable commercial property fund managed by Lendlease.

The CEFC said the investment would help ensure developments within the portfolio followed best practice energy efficiency programs – among them, the landmark hybrid commercial and residential development, the Melbourne Quarter (above).

The $4.5 billion project will incorporate what Lendlease claims will be one of Melbourne’s largest solar PV installations (One Step has asked for specifics on this), as well as energy efficient design, a captured storm-water irrigation system, and a car share program.

Lendlease says it is also investigating the feasibility of including electric vehicle charging stations in the build.

The commercial part of the development – it is expected to accommodate around 13,000 workers, once finished – will be built to a 6 Star Green rating, while the residential part, which will house 3,000, will aim for a 5 Green Star rating, the company says.

The investment by the CEFC is one of a string of property-focused plays by the green bank to be rolled out over the past year – although so far, mostly focused on residential development.

Just last month, it committed $90 million in debt finance to the plans of housing developer, Mirvac, which is building more than 300 family homes, each with built-in solar and battery storage.

And in August last year, the CEFC committed $32 million in finance to a 428-bed student accommodation project in Adelaide, as part of an effort to set a new benchmark in energy efficiency building.

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said the CEFC investment in APPF Commercial would help set a new benchmark for the investment fund, which was now aiming for a net zero carbon property portfolio target by 2025 – well ahead of the industry standard.

The investment also expects to deliver the abatement of more than 40,000 tonnes of carbon emissions over the expected lifetime of the assets in the portfolio.

“Buildings account for nearly a quarter of Australia’s carbon emissions,” said CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth in a statement on Thursday.

“Lendlease and other industry leaders recognise the need to move towards net zero carbon buildings and we’re working together to identify ways in which that can be achieved as early as possible,” he said.

“A key focus of this investment is its ability to demonstrate, through the Melbourne Quarter development, how sustainability and design initiatives integrated across an entire precinct can
transform the way we work and live, with zero carbon outcomes.

“This approach delivers emissions savings over and above what could be achieved in a standalone building, by networking and sharing technologies across the buildings and facilities within the
development precinct,” Learmonth said.

“This investment with Lendlease is another strong example of how clean energy can be used across the built environment to deliver long term economic and environmental benefits,” said CEFC property lead Chris Wade.

It provides a model for other precinct-scale developments Australia-wide.

Josh McHutchison, managing director at Lendlease Investment Management said the CEFC’s investment in APPFC formed part of the fund’s most recent equity raise.

“We look forward to working with the team at CEFC to implement innovative solutions to achieve our sustainability aspirations and deliver superior outcomes for our tenant community,” he said.

The first stage of the Melbourne Quarter precinct is on track to be completed in 2018.

Business: Investigating how to go solar?



When you’re ready to discuss how to go solar with photovoltaic (PV) solar system providers, you should also be ready to answer some key questions. Your potential partners in clean energy aren’t trying to be nosey—they’re simply attempting to collect basic information that will help determine the best solar power options to meet your organization’s unique requirements. 

Knowing what they’ll ask in advance gives you the opportunity to prepare thoughtful and comprehensive answers. Your answers might prompt even more questions, but that’s okay. They’ll serve as a great starting point. Here’s what you can expect…

Where will the system be located?

In the not-so-distant past, you may have been asked to supply site photos or drawings. Today, it’s usually sufficient to send your solar provider candidate an address or the GPS coordinates for the proposed project site. With detailed satellite images just a mouse-click away, a lot of valuable information can be obtained simply by entering a specific site address. This can reveal how much space is available, possible physical obstructions that may block optimum sunlight exposure and other geographical considerations. 

Do you own or lease the property?

At a fundamental level, this question helps identify the specific parties who will be involved in the planning and approval phases of your commercial solar installation. The answer to this question can also determine what incentives are available, as well as which financing option works best. Owning the property generally provides a wider range of opportunities, but commercial solar installations on leased property can also benefit both the landlord and tenant (by increasing property value and lowering electricity costs, respectively). 

This question also helps identify the key stakeholders who will decide on whether or how to go solar. (By the way, if you haven’t yet decided whether to go solar, you should do so before contacting a potential provider.)

Can you provide your last 12 monthly energy bills?

This data will show day-to-day and cyclical electricity needs for any existing facilities, including peak periods of energy use. It can also help determine if a commercial battery storage system might be able to save you more than just solar alone.

You can also share your energy bill information by sending copies (digital or old-school printouts), working with your utility company to grant a solar provider access to your account. Or, in some instances, you can use a new and potentially time-saving tool called UtilityAPI. However, if you’re still in the construction phase, you might need to get more creative. In this case, analyzing historical usage rates for similar types of facilities—along with load justification—can often give you a clearer idea of how much energy you’ll require.

Why are you thinking about going solar? 

The decision to go solar is very much a case-by-case situation. But clearly communicating the reason(s) you’re considering solar will help potential providers more fully understand the objectives behind your efforts. This can lead to better solutions tailored to your specific needs, or potentially uncover opportunities you never even knew existed. 

For example, if your primary motivation is to save as much money as possible over the lifetime of your system, your solar equipment supplier may offer a specific solution to best meet that goal. If you’re looking for the fastest available path to commercial solar installations (to meet sustainability objectives or cash-flow restrictions), an entirely different set of actions may be necessary. Some organizations are even looking for solar as a way to generate profits—a situation that typically depends on the amount of available space you have as well as the regulatory and market conditions in your area.

By understanding why you're considering solar, potential providers will be better prepared to present a solution that comes as close as possible to meeting all of your requirements.

How much time have you put into investigating solar energy options?

There’s no right or wrong answer here. Your response will help a potential provider discuss solar at the most appropriate level—whether it’s explaining the basics or having more detailed conversations about specific solar options. (And, if you previously considered a specific solar option, they will want to know what stopped you from proceeding in the past.)

If you’re still early in your commercial solar journey, you’re probably looking for a rough quote for future budgetary considerations. If this isn’t your first solar rodeo, you may be after a firm quote to make a purchase decision. While each discussion may take a different path, the destination is the same—finding the best solar solution to meet your particular needs.

Do you have a budget? Do you know what financing method you plan to use?

Okay, those are actually two questions, but they’re closely related. Knowing your budget upfront can help the provider streamline the conversation and significantly narrow the list of best possible options on how to afford solar. Knowing whether you’re looking to buy, lease or enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA) will help your potential solar provider design a solution that maximizes all available incentive programs you may or may not have calculated into your decision. It can also help ensure the financing choice you pursue is aligned with your overall project goals.

Is there anything unique about your situation?

This is an open-ended question that can potentially lead to many interesting discussions. For example, do you have any specific time requirements for completing the solar installation? Perhaps you need to tap funds now because they may not be available in next year’s budget, or because a new solar system is planned to be part of a current or future construction project. 

If new construction is already underway, your provider will probably want to know if there’s anything atypical in regard to the typical “BANT” considerations: budget, authority, need and timeline. What may seem unique to you might not be out of the ordinary for an experienced solar company. And that’s a good thing. Note that you don’t even necessarily need to have the upfront money, because many solar providers offer a variety of financing options—such as a lease or PPA. 

If your organization is looking to save money with a do-it-yourself approach, you should tell your solar equipment provider beforehand. Many solar equipment manufacturers don’t sell directly unless the planned installation is quite large (e.g., a multi-site project for a national retail chain). 

Instead, they sell their products and solutions through approved dealers—an approach that can have its advantages. These dealers can be more attentive to individual needs and be more knowledgeable when it comes to regional issues—like weather patterns and locally-available incentives.

Another approach to answering this question is to ask yourself: “What else do they need to know?” The more they understand your plans, the more helpful potential providers can be.

Solar boom: New schemes may help renters get solar panels on their roof

By Anna Salleh

Source: ABC Science

Sunny Australia sure is the lucky country for many of us cashing in on the financial benefits of putting solar panels on their roof — but what can renters do if they want to save money and reduce their greenhouse emissions? 

Skyrocketing grid electricity prices and the falling cost of solar technology saw a record number of Australian dwellings put solar photovoltaic (PV) cells on their roof in 2017, taking the total to 1.8 million.

Key points

  • Cheaper solar and more expensive grid electricity mean it's more affordable to finance rooftop solar
  • Schemes are emerging that help renters get access to rooftop solar
  • Experts warn renters need to weigh costs as well as benefits to decide if it's worth it

But ever-more-elusive home ownership means there is a growing number of renters (now over 30 per cent of us) who tend to be the "solar have-nots".

"It's a bit of a risk of the country dividing into the solar energy haves and have-nots," Andrew Reddaway, an energy analyst from the Alternative Technology Association (ATA), said.

And it's not only renters' hip pockets that are at stake here. Mr Reddaway estimates that by 2037, Australia could save as much as 5.6 million tonnes of greenhouse gas thanks to solar energy generated on the roofs of rental properties — equivalent to around a million or so cars off the road.

So what's stopping us?

Solutions to the 'split incentive'

The main barrier to landlords installing solar panels is what's called the "split incentive", Mr Reddaway said.

"It'll be the tenant who sees the benefit on the electricity bill, whereas the person who pays for the solar system is generally the landlord. So the main question is: What's in it for the landlord?"

But according to the ATA, there are options starting to become available to get past this problem — and they mainly involve splitting the costs and the benefits of a rooftop system between the tenant and landlord.

If you're not lucky enough to move into a place that already has solar on the roof, the first step could be to ask the landlord if they are willing to install a system in return for an increase in the rent to help cover the cost.

But this can be hard to negotiate, not least because it requires the landlord to fork out some thousands of dollars up front.

Luckily, the falling cost of solar has seen an increase in affordable finance options, not only in the private sector but also among not-for-profit groups.

One "climate conscious" community group in regional NSW called Z-Net Uralla recently teamed up with the not-for-profit CORENA fund (Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia) to give landlords interest-free loans to install solar on their rental properties. CORENA also helps broker a fair rent increase to help cover the cost of repayments.

"We are hoping that the partnership can be a model for communities elsewhere to copy," Margaret Hender of CORENA said. 

"We make sure that any rent increase is no more than half the savings that the tenant will get from having solar installed."

Councils take the lead

There's also a move among local councils to offer landlords interest-free loans that can be paid off via rate instalments. 

Under the "solar savers" scheme pioneered by Darebin City Council in Melbourne, landlords can even transfer their loan to the new owner when the property is sold. Darebin is now targeting landlords, which means renters will be able to negotiate a rent increase to help cover the loan repayment. The City of Adelaide is another council that has followed this lead.

There are also a number of commercial schemes that offer to help manage a landlord-tenant agreement. A few of these are described in a recent article in the ATA's ReNew magazine, along with some options for apartment dwellers, who face their own unique challenges installing rooftop solar.

But there are also solutions that don't require the landlord to be out of pocket at all, ATA Policy & Research Manager Damien Moyse said.

This can involve a company installing rooftop solar — with permission from the landlord — and then charging the tenant, either for the electricity they use, or a fixed lease repayment, Mr Moyse said.

But, he said, no matter what a tenant does it's important they weigh the costs and benefits before proceeding.

"A lot of finance products do not lead to the tenant being better off for the contract term because the cost of the finance is higher than the benefits that they get in bill reductions," Mr Moyse said.

"You need to get some independent advice," he said. "You can't do the maths in your head."

The non-profit ATA charges for a service that does this, and according to CORENA's Margaret Hender, local non-profit groups that are members of the Coalition for Community Energy may also be able to help.


Independent advice could also help landlords, who will want to make sure they're not dealing with "solar cowboys", Ms Hender said.

Whether solar benefits outweigh the cost of finance, and by how much, depends on your individual case. This includes your pattern of energy use and what electricity tariff you are on.

"The most economic solar project is when you have medium to high daytime electricity use," Mr Moyse said.

He said in some cases tenants may be better off making their homes more energy efficient by doing such things as using energy efficient light bulbs, sealing windows and doors to keep out draughts, and choosing energy-efficient appliances.

What's fair?

Getting rooftop solar might make tenants feel better about doing their bit to reduce emissions while pocketing some savings.

But having to help pay for it means tenants won't get the full financial benefit that an owner occupier would get.

According to the NSW Tenants' Union, it's fair enough to ask why tenants should have to contribute at all just to have access to solar electricity.

After all, putting rooftop solar on a rental property increases the value of the property, the union's Leo Patterson Ross said.

But, he said, shouldering some, or all, of the cost may be the best available option for tenants until there are stronger policies to encourage rooftop solar installation on rental properties.

Mr Patterson Ross said it's important to have a combination of "carrot and stick" to encourage landlords to install rooftop solar on their rental properties.

This can include bonuses to landlords who install solar, and a scheme that rates how green a rented home is from an energy point of view.

But, Mr Patterson Ross said, without mandatory requirements for rented properties to meet minimum energy standards, landlords are unlikely to bother installing solar at the low end of the rental market.

Another elephant in the room is the problem of tenure.

"A major barrier to roof PVs is really the insecurity of tenure that tenants have," he said.

As home ownership falls and people rent further into their lifespan, a growing number of tenants can actually afford the upfront cost to put solar on their roof. 

But Mr Patterson Ross said it's hardly worth it when they don't know if they'll be around to reap the benefits.

The average tenure in Germany, for example, is about 10 years. But in Australia it is more like 18 months to two years. 

This makes rooftop solar payback times of three to eight years just a bit hard to stomach.

Battery break-through which could replace lithium ion!

Researchers from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia have demonstrated for the first time a working rechargeable "proton battery" that could re-wire how we power our homes, vehicles and devices.

The rechargeable battery is environmentally friendly, and has the potential, with further development, to store more energy than currently-available lithium ion batteries.

Potential applications for the proton battery include household storage of electricity from solar photovoltaic panels, as done currently by the Tesla 'Power wall' using lithium ion batteries.

With some modifications and scaling up, proton battery technology may also be used for medium-scale storage on electricity grids -- -- like the giant lithium battery in South Australia -- as well as powering electric vehicles.

The working prototype proton battery uses a carbon electrode as a hydrogen store, coupled with a reversible fuel cell to produce electricity.

It's the carbon electrode plus protons from water that give the proton battery it's environmental, energy and potential economic edge, says lead researcher Professor John Andrews.

"Our latest advance is a crucial step towards cheap, sustainable proton batteries that can help meet our future energy needs without further damaging our already fragile environment," Andrews said.

"As the world moves towards inherently-variable renewable energy to reduce greenhouse emissions and tackle climate change, requirements for electrical energy storage will be gargantuan.

"The proton battery is one among many potential contributors towards meeting this enormous demand for energy storage. Powering batteries with protons has the potential to be more economical than using lithium ions, which are made from scare resources.

"Carbon, which is the primary resource used in our proton battery, is abundant and cheap compared to both metal hydrogen-storage alloys, and the lithium needed for rechargeable lithium ion batteries."

During charging, the carbon in the electrode bonds with protons generated by splitting water with the help of electrons from the power supply. The protons are released again and pass back through the reversible fuel cell to form water with oxygen from air to generate power. Unlike fossil fuels, the carbon does not burn or cause emissions in the process.

The researchers' experiments showed that their small proton battery, with an active inside surface area of only 5.5 square centimetres (smaller than a 20 cent coin), was already able to store as much energy per unit mass as commercially-available lithium ion batteries. This was before the battery had been optimised.

"Future work will now focus on further improving performance and energy density through use of atomically-thin layered carbon-based materials such as graphene, with the target of a proton battery that is truly competitive with lithium ion batteries firmly in sight," Andrews said.

RMIT's research on the proton battery has been partly funded by the Australian Defence Science and Technology Group and the US Office of Naval Research Global.

How the proton battery works

The working prototype proton battery combines the best aspects of hydrogen fuel cells and battery-based electrical power.

The latest version combines a carbon electrode for solid-state storage of hydrogen with a reversible fuel cell to provide an integrated rechargeable unit.

The successful use of an electrode made from activated carbon in a proton battery is a significant step forward and is reported in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy.

During charging, protons produced by water splitting in a reversible fuel cell are conducted through the cell membrane and directly bond with the storage material with the aid of electrons supplied by the applied voltage, without forming hydrogen gas.

In electricity supply mode this process is reversed; hydrogen atoms are released from the storage and lose an electron to become protons once again. These protons then pass back through the cell membrane where they combine with oxygen and electrons from the external circuit to re-form water.

A major potential advantage of the proton battery is much higher energy efficiency than conventional hydrogen systems, making it comparable to lithium ion batteries. The losses associated with hydrogen gas evolution and splitting back into protons are eliminated.

Several years ago the RMIT team showed that a proton battery with a metal alloy electrode for storing hydrogen could work, but its reversibility and rechargeability was too low. Also the alloy employed contained rare-earth elements, and was thus heavy and costly.

The latest experimental results showed that a porous activated-carbon electrode made from phenolic resin was able to store around 1 wt% hydrogen in the electrode. This is an energy per unit mass already comparable with commercially-available lithium ion batteries, even though the proton battery is far from being optimised. The maximum cell voltage was 1.2 volt.

Source: RMIT University

Rebates and Feed-In Tariffs.

There are two main types of rebates that customers with solar power can be eligible for:

Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs)

STCs are electronic certificates created when eligible solar power systems or solar water heaters are installed. 

Feed-in tariffs

A feed-in tariff is a credit customers are paid for any unused electricity that their solar power system sends back to the power grid. It is usually a set rate per kilowatt hour and paid as a credit on electricity bills.

Australian state governments used to fund feed-in tariff schemes, but they are now closed for new customers. Retailers do still provide some feed-in tariffs, depending on what state you’re in and the size of your system. 

The Super-Kamiokande Experiment


Scientists have built a tank which contains 50,000 tons of ultra pure water and with about 13,000 photomultiplier tubes. The Super-Kamiokande detector is located one kilometre underground, in the depths of a Japanese mine.   

The purpose is to detect neutrinos, a mysterious particle released by super-energetic events named supernovas which are rare and only happen three or four times in our galaxy every century.

The investigation of neutrino properties enable the understanding of how matter was created in the early universe.

Visa Commits to 100% Renewables by 2019

Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, has committed to using 100 percent renewable energy for its global operations by 2019. The company has a reliable and secure payment network which is capable of handling more than 65,000 transactions a second.

They currently utilise about 35 percent renewables for its operations across a range of different sources such as solar, wind and hydropower. "We are proud to play a role in driving the adoption of renewable energy," Al Kelly, Visa's CEO, said in a statement Wednesday. "For Visa, this announcement is an example of our longstanding commitment to operate as a responsible, ethical and sustainable company, while fostering economic growth."


By Jonathan Porter, University of Melbourne

In 2004, Professor Andrew Holmes, now in the University of Melbourne’s School of Chemistry, decided to up stakes in Cambridge and head home to Australia.

The pioneering organic chemistry legend and recipient of the Royal Medal had been looking into the qualities of organic light emitting diodes and decided to consider the question from the other direction: if you put electricity in and get light out, why can’t you do the reverse - shine on light and harvest electricity?

Australia was a place with plenty of sunlight and a tradition of working in solar technology and it seemed the obvious choice to set up shop.

At the same time, Imperial College post-doctoral chemist David Jones, also now in the University of Melbourne’s School of Chemistry, wanted to head home as well. Dr Jones was then the leader of a team working in the exotic field of catalyst discovery for petroleum giant BP but his mother was ill.

“I had been away from my family for too long,” Dr Jones says now. “It was time to go home and my boss said: ‘Have you heard Andrew is heading to Australia and is looking to put a team together?’”

The flexible cells may replace the rigid variety pictured above.

Thus began a partnership between physics and chemistry, industry and academia, pure science and applied research, which has the potential to provide cheap, almost limitless energy – through printed solar cells.

Professor Holmes and Dr Jones, who also both work in the University of Melbourne’s Bio21 Institute, have since contributed to two major developments in solar technology. These include the discovery of new kinds of light-harvesting crystals and a technique to print the largest plastic solar cells in Australia on A3-sized sheets.

The revolutionary light-harvesting liquid crystals can be printed cheaply on plastic, creating flexible, moldable, semi-transparent solar cells that can be used pretty much anywhere.

These new flexible solar cells could soon cover roofs, windows, clothing, phones and cars, capturing the power of the sun wherever it falls, providing an advantage over silicon-based solar panels which are effective but limited by their size, rigidity and cost.

The work was done as part of a collaboration between research (with Monash University and CSIRO Manufacturing Flagship) and industry partners called the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium (VICOSC).

While earlier 10 sq cm cells produce energy around two per cent efficiency, too meagre at this stage to be commercially viable, the team has taken the performance of organic solar cells from around 8 per cent efficiency to 9.3 per cent.

This is finally approaching the international benchmark of 10 per cent – and they have achieved up to nearly 18 per cent efficiency in the laboratory with hybrid cells.

The final product could be produced for less than $10 a metre.

Dr David Jones (left), Professor Andrew Holmes and the CSIRO’s Dr Scott Watkins with a new plastic solar cell.

Professor Holmes and Dr Jones attribute their success with these A3-sized organic photovoltaic cells to collaboration between the two faculties and partners including Monash and CSIRO.

“There was an open, swinging doors policy between all labs,” Professor Holmes says.

Dr Jones agrees: “The CSIRO had the right equipment and printing equipment bought by the VICOSC was located at Clayton, so some of our people worked in their labs. We had open access to their labs. There was no distinction.”

Bi-weekly meetings of team leaders also helped.

“Key people knew what was going on in all aspects of the project,” Dr Jones says. 

There were a lot of people working on disparate parts of the problem and to have them coming together was absolutely essential.

The collaboration went deeper. Industry partner Bluescope wanted to incorporate printed solar panels on their Colorbond roofs. Innovia Security (the makers of the Australia’s plastic notes) had expertise in printing on plastic, and Innovia Films, (another arm of the firm) were manufacturing the polymer.

Printed solar cells may provide an environmentally-friendly solution to our energy needs.

The breakthrough in improved efficiencies came with the development of “nematic” liquid crystals that have improved charge transport, which can now lead to vastly improved organic solar cell performance.

The nematic liquid crystal solar cells are also easier to manufacture.

Professor Holmes sums up the benefits of the collaborative process: “The most important issue in science today is that you must be competent in your core skills and across boundaries.

If you are going to do something disruptive you need to build on breakthroughs. The opportunities need to be there and you need to take them.

“You have to be able to work at the interface of two or three disciplines. You need to be working at the coal face of two or three overlapping areas.”

Professor Holmes is no stranger to collaborative breakthroughs. In the late 1970s he recognised the importance of a compound derived from Hawaiian kelp that one of his PhD students showed him.

The organic LEDs that were eventually developed out of that episode are available to run the screen you are reading this article on.

So what does the future hold in this case? Professor Holmes says the next main project is collaboration with partners in the US.

“We need the next push to be from either an industrial investor or a venture capitalist, so we can push the boat out into manufacturing,’’ he says, noting that venture capital in Australia has tended to be very conservative.

Moving to manufacturing here will be a smart move, not just to generate energy but to create jobs in the future.

The risk is that the team, which was brought together at such cost and effort, will drift apart if momentum is not kept up.

“If you let good people go, they will get snapped up abroad in this very fast-moving field.

“We need that next level of push to see it through until it starts to make money. That is what we hope will happen.

“I am hoping the sentiments expressed by the new resident of the Lodge (new Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull) will fire up the community’s enthusiasm to help see this through.”


**Original Article**

Battery Storage Basics

The type of battery storage technology which is now being used to store solar energy is a fairly new development, the last couple of years in fact. The batteries use a chemical process which allows for the storage of electrical energy which can then be used at a later time. 

The main reason for considering a battery system for your premise is that despite the abundance of the Sun’s irradiance, photovoltaic solar panels rely on direct sunlight in order to produce electricity. So when there is little or no sunlight there will be a decrease in energy production and the consumer would therefore have to revert to the grid as an energy provider.

Battery storage fosters self-sufficiency when it comes to energy production and consumption, its very easy to mitigate the risks of rising energy costs, avoid power outages and decrease the reliance on environmentally harmful fossil based fuels. 

Specific benefits for investing in battery technology will vary depending on the system size and design which will be taking into account the specific needs and requirement of each project but there is a lot to gain by investing into the great energy storage technologies available today.

How do solar panels work?

Solar energy is radiant light and heat from the Sun that is harnessed using a range of ever-evolving technologies such as solar heating, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, solar architecture, molten salt power plants and artificial photosynthesis.

Our Sun produces energy in the form of radiant light and heat which is termed solar energy. The light particles are captured by solar cells which convert this energy into electricity.

The direct current of electricity from the solar panels is sent to an inverter which coverts it to an alternating current, this type of current is utilised by our homes, businesses and electric appliances.

We are now in the situation of producing power from the Sun rather than drawing electricity from the grid, this type of energy is termed ‘renewable’ because over a human timescale the Sun will continue to naturally replenish its energy resources. 

Because solar energy relies on direct sunlight in order to produce power we can utilise battery storage technologies which store the excess energy from the sun so that it can be used at time when their is less solar irradiance.