ARENA Backs Solar Plus Storage
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), an independent agency of the Australian federal government, established in 2012 to manage the government's renewable energy programs, with the objective of increasing supply and competitiveness of Australian renewable energy sources, would help finance a 12-month demonstration project in Queensland state, which involves centrally controlled solar-plus-storage home systems.
As part of utility Ergon Energy’s pilot project, US solar firm SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) will install 4.9-kW photovoltaic (PV) arrays for 33 households in Cannonvale, Toowoomba and Townsville. The installations will use SunPower panels and 12kWh/5kW Sunverge battery storage and control systems. The goal of the project is to trial a “virtual power plant” model using the centrally monitored and controlled solar/storage systems. It will show if the installations can be effectively co-ordinated to add value to the network, explained ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht.
ARENA has contributed USD 293,000 towards the UDS 1.9 million projects. The 33 home PV systems are to be installed and operational by the end of 2015.
Mr. Frischknecht says the market for residential battery storage is rapidly evolving. Understanding the opportunities and barriers associated with this technology will be important in enabling smoother and more effective change.