Second virtual solar power plant to be built in Adelaide

ARENA - solar + storageBattery Image: BigStock

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has today announced funding of $7.7 million for a second virtual solar power plant (VPP) to be built by Simply Energy in Adelaide.

The $23 million VPP is essentially a two-year trial involving the installation of solar power storage batteries at 1,200 households and 10 commercial businesses across the city, forming part of a shared energy network.

The trial will also test and develop Greensync’s deX software platform to a commercial level. DeX stands for “decentralised energy exchange” and allows distributed energy resources to network and dispatch stored energy on demand.

Second virtual solar power plant for Adelaide

This is the second project of its kind for Adelaide. Last year, ARENA announced funding for a 1,000-home VPP. Under that project, ARENA created a virtual network by enabling batteries to network through a software platform.

Under the new trial, Simply Energy has selected Tesla Powerwalls for the combined 6 MW of energy storage that will be installed across households and businesses in the city. Alternative storage sources will supply a further 2 MW. Central management and control of the batteries will enable a local energy network.

The virtual solar power plant will involve installation of more than 1,200 Tesla Powerwall in Adelaide households and businesses.

The VPP will involve installation of more than 1,200 Tesla Powerwalls in Adelaide households and businesses.

Potential benefits of the Adelaide VPP project include:

  • Improved energy security in the state, by enabling additional energy capacity.
  • South Australian power networks’ access to battery storage, enabling them to better manage energy demand and constraints.
  • Reduced energy costs to consumers as they can draw on stored energy when the sun is down.
  • Participating households will be able to buy batteries at a subsidised price.

The virtual solar power plant project will also enable ARENA to work out the best ways of delivering solar power.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht called the VPP a “potential model” for how distributed energy resources can operate. This in turn could lead to lower energy prices for consumers.

Simply Energy CEO Carly Wishart said Adelaide households will be able to participate in the trial, which will see the home battery system delivered at a subsidised price.

“Simply Energy is proud to be able to deliver this innovative solution that helps our customers reduce their energy costs while also providing additional energy security in South Australia,” she said.

Project demonstrates advantages of energy storage

Projects of this kind test the potential of cloud-based energy networks, and also demonstrate the usefulness of energy storage batteries.

For example, solar batteries enable consumers to save money by allowing them to draw on stored energy after daylight hours.

Households and businesses in other parts of Australia that are interested in reducing costs through solar panels and battery storage can contact Energy Matters for reliable solar quotes.