Electricity companies in Australia are renting out solar and battery storage systems to consumers to be able to lower their electricity bills.
Battery storage system, which has been labelled as the next “big phenomenon” by energy analysts — is very costly for consumers to afford.
Nevertheless, John Grimes Chief Executive of the Australian Solar Council stated that electricity companies are doing everything possible to change.
“This is going to happen, it’s going to be a big phenomenon,” Mr Grimes stated.”So they need to study and learn the technology and understand how they can interact and ideally how they make money from embracing this technology, rather than resisting it.”
In regards to the commercial testing operated by Ergon Energy, it is noted that Hybrid solar and battery power systems will be installed in 33 regional Queensland households.
Sunverge is also willing to provide batteries and software for the testing.
“The customer gets a benefit, the retailer gets a benefit and the grid operator gets a benefit by being able to defer capital investment and get better utilisation from their assets for longer,” Sunverge spokesperson Philip Keogan stated.
Chief Executive of Ergon Energy, Ian McLeod indicated that batteries are going to be helpful to the companies investing $2.2 million in the testing, and spend limited amount to upgrade the electricity network, since they can extract electricity from them to balance the highest demand.
“We do see it as one of our key solutions for network constraints to reduce our investment down the track,” Mr McLeod said.
But Ergon Energy wanted to be clear about the future of batteries.
“We know the cost of batteries is going down,” Mr McLeod said.”We know some of the price paths and some of the different chemicals so this is all about getting ready for that price point where it makes sense.”
The ARENA Chief Executive Ivor Frischknecht is also in support of the initiative.
“They’re just simply going to buy fewer electrons, buy less energy from their traditional power companies, so by being in the game, by actually selling batteries, by leasing them to end users, by putting solar panels on people’s houses, those retailers and networks can be part of the future in a bigger way,” Mr Frischknecht stated.
Some renewable energy advocates have indicated emphatically that battery storage systems might put a stop to electricity grid and frustrate some electricity companies. But the electricity companies said the electricity grid is the main grid that connects all the energy sources, and will help customers tap the other cheapest energy sources.
“Our network is the only thing that connects all customers and resources together,” Mr McLeod said.”So whether the cheapest resource is from the sunor from the local tip or the sugar mill or down the road from a centralised generator or over at your neighbour’s place, it’s the grid that connects it all.”
Tlozek E. , August 7, 2015. Solar power for rent: Electricity companies offer solar, battery technology for leasehttp://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-07/solar-power-for-rent-batteries-electricity/6679494. [Accessed on August 9, 2015]
AUTHOR: DOUGLAS YEBOAH