Australia’s number one energy resource is solar energy
Since the industrial revolution humans have been having a negative impact on the environment by burning fossil fuels for energy, releasing CO2 into the atmosphere causing climate change. Our planet will survive; the question is will we as humans survive and thrive, in the long term.
Economically, fossil fuels are finite and will eventually run out, before that time they will become scarce and therefore more expensive.
If we use renewable sources of energy we can extend our tenure, it’s common sense to do so.
In energy terms Australia has a plentiful supply of natural resources, by far the biggest resource is the energy received daily from the sun.
In half a day, Australia receives enough sunshine to
power the entire world… if only we captured it.
A 138km x 138km solar farm in the middle of Australia (but connected to the grid) would be sufficient to provide all of the electricity needs of the entire country.
So… if it’s so obvious why are we not doing it now?? Burning coal and gas is cheaper because the coal and gas fueled power stations don’t pay for their pollutionthey just stick it into the atmosphere like commercial printers in the past used to put their polluted water into the rivers before those down stream got sick.
BUT individuals, corporations and regional governments are beginning to make a stand and buy their energy from clean, green, renewable sources like solar farms so that they don’t add to the environmental pollution.
If every individual chose to use clean renewable sources of energy the problem would be solved.
Australian Solar Group (ASG) was formed in 2010 to research how best to reduce the capital cost of large scale solar farms (solar power stations) and to find innovative ways to both kickstart and accelerate the uptake of solar.
ASG took a detailed look at the quantity of materials used for a solar farm and the build schedule (21,000MW of utility-scale solar has been built worldwide, but only 12MW in Australia so far) and focused on two key areas that could be improved
1) The mounting system uses substantially more material (usually steel and concrete)
than necessary and much of the preparation work is done on site.
2) The labour cost is much higher in Australia than most countries in the world.
ASG has designed and patented the application of proven, off the shelf components for use with utility-scale solar. By mounting the solar panels on high tensile steel cables, rather than traditional heavy, rigid and more expensive steel frames. The cable mounting system is anchored to the ground using ASG patented screw pile technology, which not only eliminates the need for concrete foundations, (reducing materials and costs), but also means the screw piles can successfully be removed from the ground after the life of the solar farm, effectively returning the land to a green field site.
This solution reduces material costs, labour quantity (costs tend to be higher in Australia than other countries), and construction time (which reduces the financing costs). As well as increasing deployment efficiency, the pioneering cable mounting system minimizes ground disturbance and is much stronger, with the design engineered to withstand a category C cyclone. The technology reduces deployment time and mounting costs by up to 50%, and is certified to the Australian Building Code.
The solar farm design is modular in 2MW blocks (SGU - Standard Generating Unit) that can be independently commissioned, then repeated until the site is completed. Incrementally commissioning the project has the potential to reduce the level of construction finance.
ASG has in development a Screwpile Automation Machine (S.A.M.) capable of autonomously deploying an array of screwpiles, automatically locating the correct position within a tolerance of 25mm and ensuring the screwpile goes in completely vertical and to the correct height and then tests (and logs) the compression and tension strength of every screw pile. SAM has a ‘cartridge’ of screwpiles and is designed to be capable of collecting a replacement cartridge when required.
The use of Autonomous vehicles for key tasks ensures on-time delivery and a high degree of accuracy and predictability
The application of screwpiles is one of the first install processes to be done and being able to ensure it is done quickly and accurately is essential to the build process as it ensure all the additional components can be positioned quickly without any issues.
5 additional patent pending innovations are also in the pipeline to improve the economics of the deployment process.
An innovative approach to structuring power purchase agreements helps to accelerate project deployment
ASG has an in house team focused on site selection, permitting, grid connection, system design, grants, PPA and EPC contracting, and financing. ASG is manufacturer agnostic and partners with prominent tier one suppliers for industry leading solar panels and inverters.
ASG has a pipeline of over 150MWp of solar projects under development. These projects are at various stages of development with all having considered site selection and power off taker.
ASG's priority is developing a 60MWp solar project in North West Victoria, which has:
- Site with planning approval
- Grid connection well progressed
- Engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) partner selected
- PPA terms being finalised with a bankable off taker
- Grant application to ARENA through initial review and currently being developed for board approval
Who we are
– Founder and CEO
Adrian is an experienced technology entrepreneur and investor who has started and built several extremely successful companies including ActiveHotels.com (which became Booking.com) Europe’s largest online hotel booking website, sold in 2004 after four years, delivering a 16 fold return to investors. Adrian was then founder of AlertMe.com in 2006, a home energy monitoring system and leading technology innovator in cloud based Smart Home Services. He sold to Centrica PLC in 2009 on moving to Australia.
Adrian has angel investments in 12 technology companies and is currently a shareholder and board member of ASX listed Eastern Iron Limited and is encouraging them to use clean energy for both the future mine site and transport needs.
In 2010 Adrian co-founded Australian Solar Group to help drive the expansion of large- scale solar projects in Australia.
– Co Founder
Dave is an experienced CEO and company director with more than 30 years in technology and energy fields working with small and large corporations. Dave has provided business strategy and governance consulting as well as strategic advice and lobbying services to companies wanting to do business or communicate with governments. Over the last decade Dave has secured more than $150 million in government grants for solar projects and R&D projects, and assisted in securing major funding (> $100M) for proposed projects in the renewable energy sector, particularly solar and geothermal.
Dave has spent the last 10 years focused on growing the renewable energy sector in Australia and overseas. He was managing director of Solar Systems, spent several years as deputy chairman of industry peak body Renewable Energy Generators Australia (REGA) and is currently on the advisory board of the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Energy Technology.
Stuart Gordon – Head of Design
Glasgow-born designer Stuart Gordon is Australian Solar Group’s Head of Design. From the company’s beginnings he has been responsible for delivering a world beating mounting solution which breaks new ground in reduced use of materials, reduced deployment costs, faster installation and a lower environmental footprint. Stuart’s 20+ years as an industrial designer, working across many diverse industries and markets both locally and internationally, have given him the breadth of vision to ensure all aspects of the ASG patented technology are innovative and uniquely practical.
James Larratt – Commercial
James brings over 14 years experience in the planning, procurement and funding of infrastructure, predominately in energy and transport. James has strong analytical skills, having began his career as an econometric modeler with a tier41 consulting firm, Sinclair Knight Merz; before moving to investment banking at Babcock & Brown, where he worked with one of Australia’s most successful infrastructure teams; He then moved to Ernest and Young’s commercial advisory practice in Melbourne before establishing his own practice, Aten Advisory. James has held leadership roles on billion dollar transactions for both the public and private sectors; where he managed multi-disciplinary teams; managed engagement with equity investors and debt financiers; and developed the investment case.
With over 5 years experience in solar, which has included advising government on large utility solar developments and supporting one of Australia’s largest solar companies become leaders in the commercial and industrial solar market.