Time to tap solar power

A solar power park in Charanka village in India’s western state of Gujarat. — PHOTO: ST FILE

With the price of oil tumbling to new lows, some are rejoicing that falling consumer prices and low inflation will finally bring the happy days that Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised during his campaign.

For the sake of a healthier India and a safer world, however, rather than ramp up spending on cheaper fossil fuels, this may instead be the moment for a more responsible correction. Governments all over the world should seize the moment to scale back fuel subsidies that cause budgetary distortions and swell deficits. If they are clever, they may even redirect the sums earmarked for subsidy payments to promote investments in wind, solar and biomass energy.

As someone who has long argued for proactive steps to wean the country off its fossil fuel addiction, I was encouraged by the Modi government’s recent moves.

– See more at:


Small-scale solar power industry holds its own as clouds gather

Solar panel capacity held up in 2014 despite headwinds.Solar panel capacity held up in 2014 despite headwinds. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Australia’s small-scale solar energy industry held steady in 2014 although uncertainty about the Abbott government’s support for renewable energy and rising costs for imported panels as the dollar wilts are casting a cloud over the sector.

The country added about 800 megawatts of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity last year, slightly above the 795 megawatts installed in 2013, according to Ric Brazzale, managing director of Green Energy Trading.

The number of new systems fell almost 10 per cent to 182,000 from 200,000, with average units increasing in size as the share of commercial buyers rather than homes increases.

Running average installations by state.Running average installations by state. Photo: Green Energy Trading

“We have seen an increase in the number of larger commercial-sized PV systems (greater than 10 kilowatts) as businesses respond to rising power prices,” Mr Brazzale told Fairfax Media. “Commercial or ‘non household’ systems currently account for about 15 per cent of the market compared with less than 5 per cent back in 2012.”

Read more here:

Could the World Be 100 Percent Solar? [INFOGRAPHIC]

What is the global potential of solar energy? –

solar energy and limitations of usePerhaps the only thing more unrealistic than the idea of a modern world powered 100 percent on solar energy is the idea that extracting every last bit of fossil energy is sustainable, good for the long-term economy or a habitable planet.

Building a new energy economy is fraught with many challenges. Many of them are technical – but these challenges can be overcome. With each passing year solar energy gets cheaper. more efficient and more widespread.  perhaps the most difficult challenge to overcome is not technical, but envisioning a new world.

I can’t say if a modern, energy-intensive society could run 100 percent on solar (it doesn’t have to anyway, other forms of renewable energy are available and growing as well).

What I can say is that a continued and accelerating reliance on fossil fuels and the determination to extract every last bit of it from the earth to power that world is how we can make 100 percent sure that one day it will end forever.

The following infographic outlines some key facts and figures about solar energy vs fossil fuel.

See the infographic here: