Tag Archives: Garry Baverstock AM

Bound for South Australia – the Sun seems to Shine brighter?

Garry Baverstock AM, former President of the WA branch of the ISES and ANZSES, founder of solar-e.com.

The State of Western Australia has many attractions and in many ways provides a great lifestyle, though a little dull at times due mainly to a lack of population, business action and strategic placement of higher density living. 


It is changing for the better slowly in most cases, but in the non-mining sector many industries have gone to the wall, closed down or moved overseas. My father was a lead confectioner with Plaistowe and Co, a WA company which was renowned for their sugared almonds, chocolates and licorice products, many supplied to the East Coast as well as overseas. It didn’t survive the wage hikes of the 1970s and closed down in 1983 or so. Many other healthy WA industries in all fields seemed to have died on the vine since, due to wage costs, globalization, or a lack of WA government support for innovation.

WA Solar History

In the 1940s -1960s solar industry entrepreneurs such as Ron Brown of Sola-Ray, and Clarry Small of ‘Smalls Solaheeta’ were leaders establishing the industry concurrently with and eventual domination by Solahart, Edwards hot water systems. I was involved with copper systems for 2010 to 2012 an evolution of the Smalls systems. I started by investigating Sola-Kleen in detail and eventually involved as a joint owner before closing it down due to a lack of viability. It was an attempt to save the industry and keep solar water heaters being made in WA. Since then most WA based manufacturing for solar water heating has disappeared.

Federal Government Rebate Scheme

Thanks to the brilliant and very effective Commonwealth Tax rebate scheme we were able to reinvent the product for application to the PV industry. This was seen as the only way to keep the industry alive.  It meant greatly improving the performance and reducing manufacturing costs. While at this process we as a team invented a new solar air conditioning system that also runs on PV.

Due to a lack of interest in WA which I put down to an overly and unhealthy emphasis on mining innovation, I have had not been able to easily attract capital, nor any innovation grants for IP registration etc. Also there has been no obvious interest for manufacturing interest here. 


My colleague Em Prof Wasim Saman, head of R&D at the School of Engineering at UniSA saw merit in the inventions in built form and backed by physics, engineering calculations and data collected. In 2017 we contracted the university to do independent testing. Since then further improvements have followed. Since 2014 three peer reviewed papers were produced that analyzed the state of solar water heater industry in Australia. This information assisted with not only infirming the whole industry but help our R&D program with useful feedback on the state of the industry and consumer sentiment towards it.

Colleagues in SA including Prof Wasim Saman of UniSA centre, former world Solar energy Society President Monica Oliphant, plus Rick Carter of the Space centre and high ranking EPA officer Roscoe Shelton in May 2019 discussing Climate Change and solar energy

Patent Process

With Patent Cooperation Treaty approval for novelty, inventiveness and industrial applicability we have proceeded with registering our patents globally.

In January we will be meeting the UniSA again to progress with the commercialization phase for both products as well as meeting potential JV manufacturing partners in Adelaide and in Melbourne.

The use of thermal inertia storage is the key to both technologies and will avoid the current high costs of battery storage added to PV which will eventually come down to 15c/kWh once the long life Li – ion batteries come on stream and will be equal to of peak grid supply costs. Thermal inertia storage will be below 2 c/kWh so it will always be a precursor for determining when to use battery storage, even at the lowest life cycle cost as presented in my WREN Conference paper in 2016.

Turning Point for the Solar Industry

2020 looks like being a turning point or solar becoming more mainstream and more importantly much smarter.  There are issues such us quality which need to be addressed. But solar energy and wind has an unhindered path to be supplying 25 – 50% of global electrical energy.

We predict that the next generation of householders will finally adopt passive solar design principles for their houses and retrofitting existing plus use smart technologies such as ‘SolaTank’ hot water systems and ‘MassLinc’ air conditioning. This will save about 25% emissions in the total building sector by the end of the century, preferably sooner.  With adoption of solar powered cars and heavy transport it looks like another 15% could be added to possible emissions savings.

Climate Change Consequences

Prof. Ross Garnaut (in Australia) predicted 90% savings were needed by the end of this century, but the impacts of Climate Change is hitting harder and earlier than thought. Therefore we need to move much faster now. Achieving 40% savings for the total built environment is highly possible and easy actually (say by 2050). Of course so many other measures for farming, population growth, regenerating natural environments including the oceans should make the end of century target possible but much earlier.

Don’t blame the solar industries. We are the heavy hitters providing a clean energy future for the next generations. With entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk taking over it is time for old fogies, including, laggards, luddites, and Climate Action deniers to get out of the way and let smart industries take control and save life (including humanity) as we know it on planet earth. The Solar Council has a big job from hereon.

JV Vision

In 2020 a JV for manufacturing between WA and South Australia or Victoria is our goal. As they say 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing. I am happy to be able to contribute 25% of the global solution using our technologies.

Baverstock to Speak at World Renewable Energy Congress 2017

The World Renewable Energy Congress 2017 (WREC) will be held at Murdoch University on Feb 5-9th 2017. It will be sharing ideas and presenting the latest research findings and discussions on new renewable energy science and technology. WREC will bring together representatives of those involved in the supply, distribution, consumption and development of sustainable energy sources. It will also enable policy makers, researchers, manufacturers, economists, financiers, sociologists, environmentalists and others to present their views in plenary and technical sessions and to participate in formal and informal discussions.

Garry Baverstock AM representing ‘Innovate Australia’ is an invited speaker and the title of his talk is “The Role of Thermal Storage as a Precursor to Battery Storage”. Garry’s talk is based on the use of thermal inertia in buildings and systems using water and using the heavy weight materials in buildings as a natural thermal energy storage mechanism. Garry states that in Western Australia, the cost per kWh for batteries is 2 – 3 times or more than the off peak rate charged at present. He poses the question, “What if energy storage cost nothing?”. He goes on to say “By using thermal energy in buildings and in hot water tanks at night PV power collected in daylight hours can be used over 24 hours.

Garry Baverstock social Media July

Garry Baverstock AM will be an Invited Speaker at the World Renewable Energy Congress

One can think of the grid like a large storage system but there are emissions associated with it as well as the cost of generation. Thermal inertia of buildings is not just for passive storage. It can also be used to store PV driven heat pumped or resistance generated thermal energy. Similarly, “the excellent thermal inertia properties of water can be used”.

Solar E

Garry’s company, Solar E’s recent PV innovations, utilise thermal energy storage. The economics of limiting battery storage to the operation of general power and lights at night will have large consumer benefits and to the environment. He concludes by saying, “There are many other ways in which ‘mass-linking’ can occur. It just needs some lateral thinking, good engineering and a spirit of innovation”.

For nearly 20 years Solar E has been providing innovation ideas and recommended paradigm shifts in the design and use of thermal energy, especially in hot water systems and air conditioning while providing opportunities and projects for scientists and sustainable energy students at Curtin University to obtain Masters and Doctorate degrees. Baverstock and colleagues’ PV innovations in WA utilise thermal energy storage. Garry feels the economics of limiting battery storage to the operation of general power and lights at night will have large consumer benefits and to the environment and as such, his talk at WREC will be a welcome addition to the invited experts who will speak on the future of sustainable energy sources.

Photo Credits: Nick Melidonis, www.nickmelidonis.com

A Vision for the Murdoch University School of Engineering

Research for Solar Hot Water Systems

In our last article, we touched on the valuable contribution of Solar E to the research carried out at Murdoch University in the School of Engineering. Garry Baverstock holds the position of Adjunct Professor at the School and has held discussions with the School’s Head regarding creating a niche market on research for solar hot water systems and new generation solar air conditioners. This is an area where other main stream Universities are not focusing, any resources at present.

Solar E, Murdoch Initiatives

Solar E, Murdoch Initiatives

An outcome that will arise in this current work at Murdoch University will be to collaborate with some of the bigger University’s Schools of Engineering and expand research into more viable products. This could be a catalyst for some undergraduate studies being set up at Murdoch, particularly in building services engineering with the possibility of setting up a small School of Mechanical Engineering that will focus on and advance practical solutions in solar systems and air conditioners.

Solar Water Heaters

The next three years will see Wise Earth writing papers on the effectiveness and efficiency of mainstream solar water heaters; their real economics and how much greenhouse gases they actually save. Wise Earth has donated its data base from Solar Kleen, a business it ran for a couple of years. This real data together with generic data from the Clean Energy Council will apply Monte Carlo Analysis; a technique using distribution curves that can infer and project results using limited data; that can be used for further research on solar water heating and energy.

Masters of Building Services Engineering

Murdoch University has a long history of Photo Voltaic research which is on-going and this is working towards the creation of a Masters of Building Services Engineering. With Garry being an adjunct Professor and also in the business in this field with Wise Earth; specific projects can be generated for the Masters and PhD studies and encourage other Universities to do the same.

Photo Credits: Nick Melidonis, www.nickmelidonis.com