Wholesale Solar FIT Brings Australia Closer to Distributed Grid

Jon Capistrano
Jon Capistrano
October 13, 2016

With the highest penetration of residential rooftop solar in the world, Australia is a laboratory for the role that distributed generators can play on the grid according to Cleantechnica.

Despite this, energy production incentives for rooftop solar systems are currently minimal or zero, leaving homes to try to maximize their solar consumption even with the useful role they could potentially play in the grid. But recent developments that include the introduction of variable feed-in tariff based on the wholesale energy spot price indicates that the country is slowly but surely moving in the direction of an energy system that values the role of distributed generators.

But recent developments that include the introduction of variable feed-in tariff based on the wholesale energy spot price indicates that the country is slowly but surely moving in the direction of an energy system that values the role of distributed generators.

At present, there’s no official process to incorporate and effectively capture the value distributed generation into Australia’s energy infrastructure. However, there have been some major regulatory changes, AEMCs Power of Choice Review which has opened doors for the development of market-based approaches towards this goal.

Energy storage is widely seen as the missing link when it comes to enabling distributed renewable energy generators to partake meaningfully in the energy market. Despite the hype and the incredible amount of noise surrounding the technology, widespread adoption of distributed storage is still at least a year off due to high price points. The key function of this technology is the ability to dispatch or use power on demand, when it is needed most.

RepositPower is one firm that has managed to make a name for itself as a developer of technology that allows battery storage system owners to sell their excess energy in the grid. This method takes advantage of high spot price events when it happens.

Another company retailer called Diamond Energy also incorporates a plan called GridCredits. Under this plan, battery storage system owners get paid $1/kWh of exported stored energy. Thus the idea of market participation along these lines is already starting to infuse into the industry. Technologies like these have facilitated a number of pilot projects in Australia.

Urth Energy has recently opened a chest of ideas for wholesale energy trading to the mass market with their plan called Urth Trader. The plan allows anyone with a grid-connected solar PV system of any size in South Australia, Queensland or New South Wales to receive a wholesale spot market price for the solar energy that they send to the grid, thus effectively putting the others in the same ring as the country’s large-scale power plants.

The plan allows customers to take advantage of higher wholesale rates when it happens, but stops short of promising overall higher feed-in rates on average. The best people who will best set up to take advantage of Urth Trader are those with home energy management systems that allow for both control and monitoring.

Click here to read the full story on Cleantechnica

Featured Image Credit: William White

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