Does Australia need a national home solar batteries register?

Australian Energy Market Commission.Australian Energy Market Commission.

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) is seeking submissions on a proposed national register of solar home batteries in Australia. The home solar batteries register would also include records of small-scale rooftop solar installations and solar storage batteries across the country.

The initial proposal for the register came from the COAG Energy Council. Its main purpose would be to help ensure the security and safety of the energy system. It would also enable more accurate forecasting of consumer demand.

The reasoning behind the register is that rapid changes in the energy sector could lead to higher safety risks. According to the AEMC, having the information contained in the register would help ensure system safety. It would also guide decision-making regarding long-term network investment.

Home solar batteries register workshop scheduled

An AEMC workshop is scheduled for March 27, 2018, where stakeholders can give input into various aspects of the proposed register. These include:

  • expected benefits and costs;
  • governance and accountability;
  • data collection, compliance and responsibility;
  • transparency and confidentiality; and
  • safety matters.

Formal submissions regarding the register are due by April 27.

Home solar batteries register would include products such as the Tesla Powerwall

Solar energy storage batteries become more popular as prices fall.

How might solar systems impact energy system safety?

Australia’s energy sector is experiencing fast technological changes. Demand for solar installations is also expected to rapidly accelerate as the costs continue to fall. More households and businesses are seeking the best solar energy quotes and installing solar panels and solar energy storage batteries to keep their power costs down. Many are also installing solar for environmental reasons.

While this is great news, rapid growth in renewable energy installations comes with some safety and security concerns. For example, when the levels of energy fed back to the grid are too high, tripping and temporary outages could occur.

Various measures to ensure electricity safety and security are under development. For example, in February 2018, ARENA announced its Solar Enablement Initiative. This project involves development of software to monitor the impact of rooftop solar input on distribution networks in the eastern states.

The proposed new register should provide another means of keeping Australia’s energy system safe and secure. It also falls in line with recommendations in the Finkel Review, which set a vision for the future that includes increased security and reliability of energy, as well as reduced emissions.