Posts Tagged ‘Aussie’

14 June

Aussie Couple Living Soulfully Off The Grid


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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I’ve been busy with some projects recently. Now that I have returned to Sun Is The Future, let’s resume by easing into several lay-back topics. Namely, did  you know that there’s been a Tiny House Movement in recent years? It’s a perfect outcome for our new age of 4R’s (Recycle-Reuse-Repair-Reduce). Above is a video of an Aussie couple (Mr. & Mrs. Paul Chambers….sorry, don’t know wife’s name) who had begun building a home out of two shipping containers as a project. But when Mrs. Chambers got tired of suburbia and utility bills, they put their four-bedroom home on the market and his project became the couple’s full-time home. Check out Paul’s ebook:

Chambers’ choice of shipping container was motivated by the fact that they did not own any land and need for easy mobility. His background as an engineer-teacher-adventurer enabled him to take on this project without having had any background in formal building training. His forte is in the fact that he believes that any one can do anything that he/she puts his/her mind into it. He’s picked up the skill of welding, building, etc. along the way. Without an initial fixed design, Paul simply started with a concept and learned and adapt along the way. The Chambers have built an off-grid mobile home with 2 shipping containers using 12-250 watt solar panels and 2 storage battery packs normally used in golf carts. They are able to run normal household appliances (such as refrigerator, chest freezer, washer (with both hot and cold water), bread machine, 3 computers. The main difference is that they use electricity during the day time when electricity is being created. Careful monitoring and back-up generator brings greater assurance even on rainy or cloudy days. Australian sunshine produces some very high temperature days. There is more than enough sunshine to help power the air conditioning needed for a pleasant environment. However the couple’s preferred cooling method is better ventilation through opened windows and cargo door. Couple of 12 v car outlets are placed in their container home to charge cell phones and to power their modem for internet. To increase the strength of the signal for their modem, they’ve installed an external area on the roof for directional antenna to increase the signal strength. Their sunroof has multiple functions: protecting the couple from radiant heat, harvesting for electricity from solar panels, and harvesting water from the rain via pipe into a collection tank at the side of the house, side of the firewood shed, and added catchment by the kitchen. Their water is then filtered through a 20 micron sediment filter for washing and showering, and additional filtrations for drinking water (down to 0.5 microns, removing germs, pathogens, and heavy metals). Living with natural water from the rain is much more pleasant than the town water with much chlorine in it. There are also detailed description on composting for growing plants.

Fundamentally, the Chambers use the electrical energy generated from the Australian sunshine, using it when the sun is shining and not at night. “It is ridiculously easy,” Paul commented. Batteries are fully charged between 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. By 4:00 pm, they’d stop using the non-essential items to avoid draining the batteries. By 6:00 pm, they’d only be using their computers (which takes up very little power). They’ve gotten to the point that they no longer need to worry about power while others in the area have been experiencing power cut and are having a difficult time.

I invite you to view what this couple have done to live naturally in the Australian Bush country, with wild life of abundance around them. I hope you will enjoy this video as much as I had.

~have a bright and sunny day~

Any comments, suggestions, concerns regarding this post will be welcomed at

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker
Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:


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20 March

Australian Federal Solar Incentives


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers, (Please click on red links below),

Sun Above Brisbane, Australia (credit: sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

As I’ve promised in our previous post on “Aussie’s Transition Into Renewable Energy Age“, let’s have a closer look at Australian incentive policies designed to encourage the uptake of solar and other types of renewable energy. In essence, there are two types of financial incentive schemes, the Federal Solar Incentives and the State Incentives. In today’s post, I’d like to concentrate on the Federal Solar Incentives.

Firstly, I want to clarify that MRET (Mandatory Renewable Energy Target) and RET (Renewable Energy Target) are not exactly the same policy, even though both MRET and RET are under the category of Federal Incentives.

The MRET of Commonwealth Government began on April 1, 2001, by means of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 (the Act), targeting the generation of 9,500 GWh (gigawatt hour) of extra renewable electricity per year by 2010. In 2009, the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Bill 2009 amended the Act and replaced the MRET with the RET. This altered the target from 9,500 GWh per year by 2010 to 45,000  GWh by 2020 and introduced the Solar Credits scheme. Definitely, RET has much more ambitious goals.

The Renewable Energy Target (RET) requires that 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity be produced from renewable energy sources by 2020. To achieve this, the Government has set annual targets for each year of the scheme and requires Australian electricity retailers and large wholesale purchasers of electricity to demonstrate that they meet these targets. Compliance is demonstrated by surrendering renewable energy certificates (RECs), where one REC is equivalent to one additional megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity generated from renewable energy sources (above a 1997 benchmark). Failure to surrender adequate RECs would lead to a penalty charge of $65 per MWh. Electricity retailers and wholesale buyers can choose to either generate the electricity from renewable energy sources themselves or purchase the RECs from others that have done so. This creates a market for RECs.

RECs come in 2 forms: Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) for renewable energy generators up to 100 kilowatts (kW), and Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGCs) for systems whose capacity is greater than 100kW.

The most recent review of the RET has recommended that the size of renewable energy generators eligible for STCs be decreased to 10kW in 2013.

Shortly after the passage of the 2009 legislation, REC prices fell sharply.  This may had been caused by the intricacies and practicalities of the new RET, as well as its interaction with some State-level policy. This price crash created uncertainty in the market and threatened to deter potential investment in large-scale renewable energy projects. So the Australian Government announced a series of reviews and ultimately amended the legislation to create the LRET and SRES.

  • The Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) has a target of 41,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) by 2020 and only large-scale renewable energy projects are eligible.
  • The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) targets a theoretical 4,000 GWh annually and is eligible only to small-scale or household installations.

As part of the SRES, a program known as the Solar Credits scheme allows households, businesses or community groups to generate more than just one SREC for each megawatt hour generated. In fact, depending on the set ‘multiplier’, they have been able to generate up to five SRECs per megawatt hour of electricity that they produce. The scheme is based on the capacity of the solar energy system, and on the likely amount it will generate over a given period. The Solar Credits scheme applies only to the first 1.5 kW of installed renewable energy capacity of an eligible small generation unit. For units bigger than this, each megawatt hour generated from the extra capacity is eligible for only the standard 1 to 1 rate of SREC creation. The SREC ‘multiplier’ is set at five until 2011, and then declines to three on July 1, 2011, and then decline by one for each year after 2011 until the Solar Credits scheme ends in 2013.

While the LRET target is certain and capped, target of the SRES is not; it is only notional. As the LRET is capped, the prices of LRECs fluctuate on the market and can vary daily with any number of external and internal factors up to the level of the penalty charge. The price of SRECs, however, is fixed by the Government (initially at $40). The actual amount of electricity generated under the SRES may or may not exceed the 4,000 GWh estimate.

Australian electricity retailers and large wholesale purchasers of electricity are therefore required to surrender a fixed proportion of LRECs annually, but an uncertain and changing proportion of SRECs (since this depends on the total number of SRECs generated each year).

Related sites/links:

Small Generation Unit STCs Calculator

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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18 March

Aussie’s Transition Into Renewable Energy Age


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers, (Please click on red links below),

Adelaide Airport, where solar PVs are installed on the roof, resulting from solar feed-in-tariff introduced by Premier Mike Rann (credit: sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

Due to our previous post on Darwin’s Blackout, let’s take a look at some of the recent developments of Renewable Energy policies in Australia.

Back in 2006, about 9,500 GWh (gigawatt-hours) of Australian electricity came from renewable sources, representing less than 4% of  nationally generated electricity. By 2011, that number moved up to approximately 29,302 GWh and to 29,678 GWh by 2012, representing 13.14% of the total production in Australia.

Similar to many other countries, government policy in response to concern for climate change, energy independence, and economic stimulus has been the driving force behind encouraging the development of renewable energy. A key policy that has been in place since 2001 to encourage large-scale renewable energy development is a mandatory renewable energy target (MRET), which in 2010 was increased to 41,000 GWh of renewable generation from power stations. There is also the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme, an uncapped scheme to support rooftop solar power and solar hot water and several State schemes providing feed-in tariffs to encourage photovoltaics. In 2012, these policies have been supplemented by a carbon price and a 10 billion-dollar fund to finance renewable energy projects.

Based on a survey result indicated in Angus Reid Global Monitor (June 25, 2007), there is/was considerable public support for the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency in Australia.

It has also been suggested that with sufficient public and private sector investment and government policy certainty, Australia could switch entirely to renewable energy within a decade by building additional large-scale solar and wind power developments, upgrading to transmission infrastructure and introduction of appropriate energy efficiency measures.

The amount of installed PV capacity in Australia has increased 10-fold between 2009 and 2011. Feed-in-tariffs and mandatory renewable energy targets specifically designed to assist renewable energy commercialization in Australia have largely been responsible for the rapid increase.  In South Australia, Premier Mike Rann introduced a solar feed in tariff for households and an educational program that involved installing photovoltaics on the roofs of major public buildings such as the Adelaide Airport, State Parliament, Museum, Art Gallery and several hundred public schools. In 2008 Premier Rann announced funding for $8 million worth of solar panels on the roof of the new Goyder Pavilion at the Royal Adelaide Showgrounds, the largest roof top solar installation in Australia, qualifying it for official “power station” status. South Australia has the highest per capita take up of household solar power in Australia. The first commercial-scale PV power plant was opened in 2011, the Uterne Solar Power Station, a 1MW capacity grid-connected solar photovoltaic system located 5 km south of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. The second opened in 2012 at Greenough River Solar Farm with a capacity of 10 MW. The price of photovoltaics has been decreasing, and in January of 2013, was less than half the cost of using grid electricity in Australia.

A closer look at some of the incentive policies mentioned above will be presented in the following posts.

Related article/site below:

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any of your comments/suggestions/questions will be welcomed at

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5 October

Cruiser Stella Will Start @ 8:15 am & Aussie Team Arrow Will Start @8:30 am For World Solar Challenge 2013


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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Please show your support for Renewable Energy by visiting-signing-sharing Renewable-FIT For Sunshine State!

Allow me share this recent release from the World Solar Challenge 2013, below:
Aussie team takes pole, as grid positions decided…

Australia’s solar car ‘Arrow 1’

Team Arrow (Australia) qualification (credit: Bart van Overbeeke Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2013)

from the sunshine state of Queensland has claimed pole position in the Elite Challenger Class for tomorrow’s start of the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.

Team Eindhoven from the Netherlands and their world’s first family four-seater car ‘Stella’

Stella, the world's first family four-seater solar car, also posted the fastest Cruiser Class time and the second fastest overall in today's qualifying trials at Hidden Valley Motorsports Complex at Darwin, Australia

posted the fastest Cruiser Class time and the second fastest time overall in today’s qualifying trials at Hidden Valley Motorsports Complex, Darwin.

Start line details: 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge

Where: State Square Darwin – steps of Parliament House


From 6 am: cars arriving

8.15 am: Chief Minister flags off Cruiser Class

8.30 am Chief Minister flags off Challenger Class

Adventure Class to follow…

For a closer look at many of the solar cars participating at World Solar Challenge 2013, please feel free to click-> Sunisthefuture Photo Gallery.

More development will be brought forward as the challenge progresses. Keep checking back for more !

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on World Solar Challenge 2013 and solar energy topics:

~have a bright and sunny day~

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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