German solar installers go for storage
More than two-thirds of German PV installers are now offering energy storage options to their customers, and British and Italian counterparts are starting to do the same, according to a new report from EuPD Research. PV Tech reports that EuPD found Germany has the biggest uptake, because a percentage of storage system costs are paid as a direct subsidy to consumers. One third of Italian installers and a third of British installers surveyed said that they would begin offering storage this year. French installers did not intend to offer any more storage systems because electricity prices remained relatively low.
PV Tech said solar PV companies including Renesola, Sharp Solar and inverter maker Power One all had already launched storage systems for residential customers or had products being prepared for launch to key markets, such as Germany. Andrew Lee, general manager at Sharp Energy Solution Europe’s solar commercial sales division, told PV Tech that storage makes economic sense “if you look at the figures, depending on your system size and your own usage in other countries where there aren’t incentives.” He said the possibility of enabling self-consumption as a potential strong driver for the storage market.
Morwell MP becomes Victoria energy minister
The Victorian government named Russell Northe – the MP for Morwell, where a fire has been burning in the brown coal mine of the same name for nearly a month now – as its new energy minister. It is, as one NGO described it, an appointment from “ground zero”. The fire at the Hazelwood open cut coal mine created huge amounts of pollution, and evacuations, although it is said to have been brought under control at the weekend, although not yet extinguished.
Cam Walker, of Friends of the Earth, said Victoria’s energy policy has been confused under the conservative state government, which has been encouraging the development of polluting unconventional gas and coal allocations, while scrapping incentives for solar and banning wind farms across the state. “In the wake of the Hazelwood fire, it is clear that the government’s plan to develop a coal export industry is doomed to fail” he said.
The government has also been criticized for its handling of the Morwell fire. “The fire may be contained, but the impact on the ground is like a tsunami — thousands of people have fled Morwell, there is coal ash everywhere, schools and businesses are still closed,” Voices of the Valley president Simon Ellis told the local newspaper.
Energy Action snaps up energy efficiency firm
Listed energy management company, Energy Action says it has paid $4 million for specialist energy efficiency business, Exergy Holdings, which was founded and led by Paul Bannister. The business that focuses on energy efficiency services to its customers, including assessments, retro- commissions and building tuning, environmental performance monitoring, ratings (NABERS, Green Star), lighting design and review, building performance simulation and new building design assistance services.
Exergy employs over 30 staff and has offices in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland. The acquisition comprises an initial cash payment of $2.0 million with additional consideration of $2.0 million based on performance. It represents an EBITDA multiple of 5.4 times.