Small-Scale Trends 2023-03

Here’s our summary of small-scale news of greatest interest from the past fortnight.
We cover: How distribution networks are handling all that PV:
A) SA trial to manage legacy PV systems
B) Ergon installing batteries
C) Synergy also installing a big battery
Plus what Queenslanders must do with all those old panels
Any why regional QLD will see the next PV boom
And Plenti’s new VPP platform.

A “small but focused” South Australian trial seeks to address one of the bigger challenges facing an increasingly renewable grid – how to manage the 12GW of legacy rooftop solar systems are not currently equipped to talk directly to a network or respond to market signals.

Since early last year, all new installations have had to have smart inverters that allow for “orchestration” and “flexible exports”. Now the push is on to try and get as much of the pre-existing 1.1GW of rooftop solar made to be flexible, and that will surely follow in the rest of the country.On Friday SA Power Networks announced an important trial, backed by $1.02 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), that will see retailers Simply Energy and AGL offer new incentives to customers to enable access to their existing rooftop solar systems.

“Making dumb solar smart:” Push to bring old rooftop PV into new world of flexible exports

Ergon Energy, a subsidiary of Energy Queensland, has awarded contracts to Melbourne-based energy storage specialists Evo Power for the installation of battery storage systems across six different sites in 2023.Each site – the locations of which were undisclosed – will get one of EVO’s AMP Series utility scale battery energy storage systems (BESS), and construction of the first 4.5MW/10 MWh facility will commence in the third quarter of 2023.

EVO Power wins contract for “solar soaking” utility batteries across network

Synergy is planning to spend about $650 million on a four-fold increase in battery storage at Kwinana to better manage fluctuating supply and demand on the south-west power grid.Synergy chief executive officer David Fyfe said the proposed second battery was part of the utility’s commitment to build 1100 megawatts of medium-duration energy storage by 2030.
The initial big battery will store 200 megawatt-hours of energy and absorb or supply energy at a rate of 100 megawatts. It is due to start delivering energy to the South West Interconnected System in April, about six months later than originally planned due to delays from global supply chain issues.

The second battery under consideration will be able to store 800 megawatt-hours of energy and absorb or supply energy at a rate of 200 megawatts.

Queenslanders could be banned from dumping solar panels in landfill, as the government looks at how it can nudge industry into dealing with the problem.Under the draft e-products strategy, solar panels could be banned from landfills within a decade.The government is also proposing to spend $250,000 on a “pilot of an industry-led Solar Stewardship Scheme”.At least eight companies in Australia are focused on solar panel recycling — Lotus Energy, Reclaim PV, PV Industries, SolaCycle, CMA Ecocycle, Solar Recovery Corporation (SRC) and Ecoactiv — but they are clustered mainly in NSW and Victoria.

Queensland wants to ban solar panels from landfill as waste problem grows

Solar households in regional Queensland can look forward to a good dash more return from their rooftop panels come July, with hints of a nearly 40% jump in the amount paid for the excess generation sent to the http://grid.In a move that bucks the trend being seen in other National Electricity Market states, the Queensland Competition Authority has this week proposed lifting the solar feed-in tariff from 9.3c/kWh to 12.9c/kWh for customers on the regional Ergon network.The 39.3 per cent jump the QCA puts forward in its draft determination on the regional solar FiT is even headed in the opposite direction from tariffs in the state’s south east, where the average rate being offered by private retailers has dropped to around 5.7c/kWh.

Lending platform Plenti has launched a new point-of-sale platform that aims to help Australian homeowners connect their solar resources with battery storage.The platform, GreenConnect, will link Australian households with solar and battery manufacturers, energy retailers, equipment installers and Plenti’s own loan service.Plenti conceived the platform to fill a gap in the market, as fewer than 10% of the 398Kw of solar installations in Australia in 2021 were coupled with a home battery installation.

Plenti paves way for home solar battery boom with digital one-stop shop