Sunverge joins race for Oz residential market

Sunverge Energy, aiming to be a major player in residential solar plus storage in Australia, has begun a partnership project with Ergon Energy of Queensland and SunPower.

Sunverge Energy, aiming to be a major player in residential solar plus storage in Australia, has begun a partnership project with Ergon Energy of Queensland and SunPower. Photo credit: Ergon Energy

By Jason Deign

US system developer Sunverge Energy last week beefed up its Australian operations amid growing signs of a residential energy storage market boom Down Under.

The company unveiled a tie-up with Queensland utility Ergon Energy to pilot 33 solar-plus-storage systems in conjunction with SunPower, the PV panel manufacturer that Sunverge already has a partnership deal with in the US.

“This is Ergon Energy’s first residential solar and storage project to be piloted in a limited release commercial offer,” said Sunverge in a press release.

The trial, which should be up and running before the end of the year, will cover Ergon customers in Toowoomba, Townsville and Cannonvale and is supported by AUD$400,000 from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

It is believed Sunverge’s Solar Integration System products will be tied to Panasonic batteries for the Ergon pilot. Sunverge clearly sees the trial as the tip of a potentially large iceberg.
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Can customer batteries provide backup power?

What are the issues for the grid and customers connected with the use of residential battery backup power systems to store solar energy? Photo credit: SolarCity

What are the issues for the grid and customers connected with the use of residential battery backup power systems to store solar energy? Photo credit: SolarCity

By Dr Geoff James
Previously published on www.energystorageforum.com and republished with permission.

Residential customers wanting to manage their power are likely to be the fastest-growing market for energy storage, and especially grid-connected batteries.

So being clear about why these customers have a big appetite for storage will be important for developing the right storage products, services and owner/user experiences. Backup power seems an obvious motivation.

After all, the largest battery installations in the world exist to supply emergency power to secure facilities and data centres.

Residential owners of energy storage will also expect their lights to stay on when the rest of their street is blacked out.

But mass-market storage systems will have different capabilities to large specialised installations, and the energy storage industry should set realistic expectations so that early adopters of residential storage are not disappointed.
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How can customers trade energy with batteries?

Reposit Power, with its solar battery storage trading and control platform, is one of the companies helping residents in Australia make money by selling stored energy to the grid. Photo credit: Australian Government

Reposit Power, with its solar battery storage trading and control platform, is one of the companies helping residents in Australia sell their stored energy to the grid. Photo credit: Australian Government

By Dr Geoff James
Previously published on www.energystorageforum.com and republished with permission.

When people buy batteries for their homes, they mainly expect to have more energy independence.

But a sophisticated battery system can do more than providing secure backup power or soaking up the output of rooftop PV panels, as a rain tank catches rain.

Considering the whole electricity system, batteries can also resolve the variability of solar and wind energy, paving the way towards a cleaner, greener grid.

This is called ‘balancing the grid’ and batteries are excellent at short-term balancing over seconds, minutes and hours. The best part? There is money to be made from it.
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Battery storage market is at home in Australia

Energy storage Australia: we explain the reasons for the massive growth in residential solar battery storage and look at the main companies in the market. Photo credit: Ergon Energy

Energy storage Australia: we explain the reasons for the huge growth in residential solar battery storage and look at the main companies in the market. Photo credit: Ergon Energy

By Dr Geoff James

Affordable battery energy storage is on Australia’s doorstep and getting an open-armed welcome.

And it is the residential sector that is driving demand, likely to overtake utility-scale installations next year to become the dominant grid-connected storage resource.

Only the immature supply chain can slow the growth of residential storage and with it the new energy democracy.

Several factors combine to make a perfect storm that will blow away old business models and energy industries unwilling to adapt.

Firstly, Australia has lots of rooftop solar PV generation, about 3GW and over 20% of households, which is significant on a world scale.
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Storage put to test in Orange County pilot

The Southern California Edison Preferred Resources Pilot in Orange County is pitting distributed renewable energy and energy storage against the solar duck curve. Photo credit: SCE

The Southern California Edison Preferred Resources Pilot in Orange County is pitting distributed renewable energy and energy storage against the solar duck curve. Photo credit: SCE

By Jason Deign

Batteries look set to face a major challenge in a pilot where energy delivery is needed when it makes more commercial sense to store it.

The business model for storage will be tested to the full in the Southern California Edison (SCE) Preferred Resources Pilot (PRP) because load peaks are expected to coincide with maximum solar output periods.

This means energy in the pilot area of central Orange County, California, will be at its cheapest precisely when it would usually be best to store power rather than discharge it.

The unusual set of circumstances is likely to occur because the area has heavy daytime peak loads with little local generation capacity following the closure of the 2.2GW San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

As a result, energy needs to be brought in from outside the area, straining the transmission network served by two SCE substations, Johanna and Santiago, and increasing flows with neighbouring San Diego Gas & Electric’s grid.
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AMS on growth plans, new investor

The rapid growth of Advanced Microgrid Solutions continues as it prepares to announce a new major global investor, after signing contracts for Tesla energy storage, and with Shell and Southern California Edison. Photo credit: Tesla Motors

Advanced Microgrid Solutions is set to announce a new major global investor, after signing contracts for Tesla energy storage, and with Shell and Southern California Edison. Photo credit: Tesla Motors

By Jason Deign

San Francisco, California-based start-up Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS) has confirmed it is set to announce “a very large global strategic” investor, probably later this month.

The investor, described as being active “both on the investment side and on the energy generation owner and service side” is set to join existing backer DBL Partners in an “over-subscribed” USD$10m new funding tranche.
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