As South Australia struggles to manage its huge and still booming rooftop solar resources, it is becoming increasingly clear that solutions can be found in smart controls and software, rather than hardwired rules and restrictions.
GreenSync has announced the launch of a new model of its decentralized energy exchange (deX), which promises unprecedented visibility and control of the meter’s background in SA homes, joining a growing number of companies looking to offer digital registrations of customers’ devices from batteries and devices Solar PV to electric vehicles in South Australia.
The solar systems or batteries are registered by the installer via a user-friendly app for the deX platform, so that the customer has the opportunity to connect existing or new virtual power plants and get more value from their investments – be it solar alone or solar and battery or – in the future – electric vehicles and chargers for electric vehicles.
To this end, GreenSync has worked with a number of battery and inverter manufacturers, including Alpha ESS, Enphase, Fronius, GoodWe, Growatt, SENEC, Solar Analytics, Solax Power, Solis, Sungrow and Wattwatchers.
The South Australian platform is also being set up with a handful of Foundation Retail Partners, including Amber Electric, Discover Energy, Powershop and Simply Energy, who will develop VPP offerings to unleash the value for services from participating eligible technologies.
According to GreenSync, customers can benefit from being able to view and rate VPP offerings in one place and access the value for services, making energy service contracts accessible and scalable for many, many products.
Retailers can benefit from VPPs with access to deX certified brands and products, simplified third party licensing agreements, and deX applications and tools to expedite the registration and registration activities led by installers or technology providers.
At the other end of the spectrum – and this is where the support of the South Australian government and its utilities comes in – the deX offers unparalleled visibility of the state’s world’s leading distributed solar resource, as well as what GreenSync calls a “red button” control in case of emergency.
This type of control has been on the wish list of the Australian energy market operator for some time, particularly in South Australia, where solar roofs regularly cover around 60 percent of daily needs and recently hit a record high of 93.7 percent of government demand and more than 70 percent of total production.
In fact, increasingly urgent warnings from AEMO earlier this year resulted in South Australia rushing and somewhat controversially through strict new standards for inverters to prevent large amounts of rooftop solar energy from being suddenly turned off due to voltage disturbances.
To achieve this, the government’s “Smarter Homes” program has issued a list of approved inverter suppliers and agents to ensure that new PV systems can “drive through” system failures, are subject to changing export restrictions and can even be separated from the EU grid if necessary .
The deX from GreenSync does not interfere with this process, but rather promises to make it simpler and more efficient and to maximize the potential benefits of smarter homes for everyone involved – not least for the cautious consumer.
It is undoubtedly an enjoyable moment for GreenSync, which launched back in 2017 and has worked hard to maintain its place in a complex and rapidly changing Australian electricity market.
“This is a moment we were born for,” said GreenSync Chairman Mark Woodall in an interview with RenewEconomy this week.
“It’s very exciting for our company because we’ve worked damn hard on it. And I think what we see in South Australia will repeat itself in Victoria, will repeat itself in WA. It is repeated in New South Wales. It doesn’t stop in South Australia. “
Goodall compares the technology-based step changes that Australia’s obsolete network is quickly facing to the year 2000 due to a great fear of the unknown that was ultimately unfounded.
“We all thought the world was going to end, didn’t we? There were people who crouched in bunkers. Well, the world won’t end in South Australia. It will actually get a lot better.
“We think [the deX] makes it easier for everyone. “
The main focus of GreenSync in South Australia is currently on building the registry behind the meters. The project aims to register at least 5,000 devices by the end of 2021 and support the registration of smart, controllable devices such as batteries, solar PV and EV charging technology.
“We’ll integrate them as we speak,” said Woodall. “I think we sit an average of 300 people a week on a platform in South Australia. We already have maybe 30 percent of the market from people who say, “Great, thank god you’re here!”
“What we are seeing here in South Australia is the beginning of the carrot and the whip,” added Woodall. “All new installations must now be registered. You can also save the extra money that was on the table.
“By doing [other Australian] Markets that are purely incentive-driven take a little more time to pick up because there are a lot of people who don’t get to it or don’t appreciate it or don’t know how to rate it or whatever.
“But when it comes to compliance and there are some incentives for it, adoption will be much higher.”
In terms of grid security and stability, consumer compliance with the registers of assets behind the meter will be of vital importance when EV adoption reaches mainstream.
“This is a brave new world and it gets even more precarious when you start taking EVs on a massive scale and people suddenly randomly charge them up, you know whenever they need to,” said Woodall.
“We work a lot in the UK with a large UK network and what keeps these people up in screaming nightmares at night is electric vehicles.
“An electric vehicle is much larger than a PV system. So you don’t have to do a lot of these charges at the same time on the road to completely throw that off balance. And guess what, most people will charge up between 5pm and 9pm – when the sun goes down. “
This is not yet a problem in Australia, but it will be, and Woodall notes that governments and regulators and industry operators now have the opportunity to get one step ahead of the game and start planning the consumption of networks to vehicles and how to handle this One way that won’t break the system.
Nationally, Australia has lagged behind this metric; in terms of adoption of renewable energy technology. Fortunately, state governments on both sides of the political spectrum seem to be bridging the gap.
“We congratulate GreenSync on the start of deX in South Australia,” said the state’s energy minister, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, in a statement on Wednesday.
“This exciting project was supported by our Demand Management Trials program to accelerate the transition to a smart digital power system.
“By making it easier for consumers to get more value from their home batteries and electric vehicles by using virtual power plants, we can support the grid while reducing their electricity costs.”