Rooftop solar installations are smashing Australian records, according to data from solar consultants SunWiz.
The data shows key growth in the 6-8kWh size range, indicating that households are taking more advantage of bigger systems.
A record 207MW of solar power was installed in October, RenewEconomy reports. NSW topped the list of solar states for the month, with Queensland and Victoria following.
Meanwhile, South Australia is forging ahead in its renewable energy uptake. Solaray reported this week that the November average wholesale price in South Australia was $50.86 per megawatt hour (MWh) — the lowest in the country.
Operator playing catch-up with the grid
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is playing catch-up as renewables force change on the existing electricity distribution grid.
Designed to work with a handful of large coal generators feeding power into it, the grid is under stress.
Rooftop solar installations, plus large-scale solar power, are adding unpredictable amounts of power into the grid’s “poles and wires”. One problem is the voltage, which must remain steady.
AEMO is requiring some solar farms to install special rotors (synchronous condensers) that absorb or boost line voltage as needed. Large-scale batteries also help even out the amount of energy in the grid.
Virtual power plants to stabilise the grid
Another way to stabilise the grid is to link hundreds of rooftop solar power and battery systems in a virtual power plant (VPP). When connected and controlled by a ‘broker’ such as an electricity retailer, their combined power becomes a tradeable commodity.
A VPP means electricity stored in hundreds of connected household batteries flows into the grid at times when needed. This balances the system and prevents outages, while returning financial benefits to participants.
Being part of a VPP requires owning a solar storage battery so the broker can draw power from it when needed, leaving solar panels to power the house.
A popular choice for solar home batteries is the Tesla Powerwall 2, which stores 13.5kWh of energy. If this energy isn’t being used by the home, it can be harnessed for use by a VPP and sold into the main grid.
Even without a VPP — or a battery — solar panels are a fine investment for anyone looking to reduce electricity costs. Contact our Solaray solar experts to discover how solar can make an impact in your home.