The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is funding trials to help boost solar battery integration into the national grid.
Rooftop solar panels andÂ solar battery systems are known as distributed energy resources (DER) because they are spread out over the community. The national grid needs to monitor and control the power feeding in from solar households to help grid reliability.
According to ARENA CEO Darren Miller, solar owners will generate up to half of all electricity used in the grid over the next decades. This is up from around 4 per cent today.
ARENA is therefore backing five pilot projects to the tune of $7.21 million. Zeppelin Bend, Jemena, SA Power Networks, Solar Analytics and RACV will all use novel approaches to boost network hosting capacity of DER.
A further $2.38 million will also back seven studies into solar battery integration. CitiPower & Powercor, Dynamic Limits, University of Tasmania, CSIRO, Oakley Greenwood, Australian National University (ANU) and University of MelbourneÂ will head these trials.
The goal is to integrate increasing amounts of rooftop solar PV and home batteries like Tesla Powerwall 2 into the grid. Solar energy storage is now displacing traditional forms of power generation. Thatâ€™s because of the retirement of large, coal-fired power stations.
DER covers solar battery storage and other behind-the-meter technologies. These also include inverters, controllable loads in both domestic and commercial settings. In addition there are electric vehicle charging points, smart appliances, hot water heaters and smart meters.
Meanwhile, one of the ARENA-backed programs centres on Greenvale in Melbourneâ€™s northern suburbs.
The $2.2 million Victorian trial, called â€˜Creating Friendly Solar Neighbourhoodsâ€™ (CSFN), aims to increase the amount of solar energy that can be stored in the electricity network. ARENA will fund $1.1 million of the cost.
It is run by gas pipeline owner Jemena, Victorian electricity distributor AusNet Services and the University of New South Wales. Jemena will target 106 Greenvale customers, while AusNet will also include 71 of its customers in Montrose.
The trial also aims to reduce solar restrictions. These limit the solar power consumers can sell back to the grid.