Australia’s transition to clean energy will only happen if changes are made to our electricity networks.
That’s the message in a new report from the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC), which sets the rules for Australia’s energy markets.
As electric cars become more affordable, rooftop solar increases and commercial solar generators come online, the way electricity is distributed, stored and managed must change too.
By 2039, Australia is forecast to have approximately 16,000 MW of residential rooftop solar PV capacity. Right now, that figure is roughly 8,000 MW.
On our roads, 25% of vehicles will be electric or hybrid. By 2050, almost two out of three electricity customers are expected to have rooftop solar.
Let’s look at more of the AEMC findings and its recommendations for our energy future.
Are you a ‘distributed energy resource’?
Solar power is known as a distributed energy resource (DER). That’s because unlike a coal-fired plant with power lines radiating out to consumers, solar panel systems are everywhere.
There are 2.2 million Australian houses with solar on the roof and hundreds of wind farms distributed all around the country. Not to mention massive commercial solar farms springing up around regional Australia.
These new distributed energy sources are far cheaper to build than coal and gas power stations and their ‘fuel’ is free — and clean. All that remains is to determine what size solar system is the right one for a particular household.
A question of voltage
However, the AEMC is concerned about the stability of local grid voltage. In any network, a quick increase in current flowing into the grid from a wind or solar farm, or thousands of rooftop solar panels, increases power line voltage.
Many networks are designed to disconnect from the grid when this happens. As a result, some network owners are limiting the electricity amount that DERs can input.
This puts obstacles in the way of commercial wind and solar power investment. Because if it’s not clear how much energy you can export, investors don’t know how much money they can make.
One way around the problem is to use smart inverters that regulate the power solar panels feed into the power lines when they sense high voltage.
Another way is to connect households into a virtual power plant (VPP). Instead of thousands of rooftop solar systems, they link to form one big ‘virtual’ generator. These can be regulated more easily and offer financial benefits to participating households.
A good time to install solar panels
With the environmental and economic arguments for solar power overwhelming, now is a good time to install solar panels and become a DER!
The Federal Government and some states offer generous rebates to encourage households to install quality solar systems using panels such as LG Solar NeON 2 modules.
Find out how a solar power system can help reduce your power bills and carbon footprint. Fill out the form below to reserve a free 10-minute call with one of our solar experts.