As part of the ambitious plan into new technology, Victoria’s electricty systems are penetrating hugely into the commercial solar market, which might bring on the same level with electrcity retailers.
The PowerCor and CitiPower networks which provide electricity to Melbourne and some places in regional Victoria, are also chasing battery storage options – both at the grid and consumerlevel – and establishing a consultancy company as part of the energy plan to tackle rapidly changing economics of solar and battery storage and a distributed energy system.
Tim Rourke, the CEO of the two networks, which in turn are owned by the ASX listed Spark Infrastructure, has created a new division called energy solutions to pursue the “non-regulated” network market. And solar and storage will play a key role.
Tim Rourke, the CEO of the two networks, which in turn are owned by the ASX listed Spark Infrastructure, informed analysts on Monday that 2,700 commercial consumers within the region are very much interested in the installation of roof-top solar and his networks were eager to provide them with the necessary facilities and services.
Currently, about 25 consumers have already been granted bids, which represents approximately 7 megawatts of commercial solar – just a scratch on the total market capability, yet Victoria is now the second largest commercial solar market after New South Wales, based on the analysis from analyst Sunwiz.
This motivation by Victorian networks to supply rooftop solar for business consumers might bring the network into direct competition with the retailers, who are also trying to enter the solar and battery storage and electric vehicles, paving way for consumers.
Spark Infrastructure says “it is not competing head on with retailers because it is targeting the commercial market, while retailers such as Origin Energy, AGL Energy and Energy Australia are targeting the household market.”
“They (the retailers) don’t really have offering for large commercial customers, and we are not going head to head in the residential space,” Rourke told analysts in a conference call on Monday.He added that: “We don’t see a lot of activity in commercial space from retailers, mainly just in residential space.”
This issue is not much in Queensland, owing to the fact that Ergon Energy consists of both network operator and the retailer.
The network operator and the retailer are different bodies in other regions.
“We want to be preferred supplier of whatever needs that customers wants,” Rourke said. “We know for a fact that they want network services, but they are also increasingly looking at commercial solar and battery storage.
G. Parkinson, 25 August, 2015 Victoria networks to sell solar direct to customers, taking on retailers: http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/victoria-networks-to-sell-solar-direct-to-customers-taking-on-retailers-32627. [August 26, 2015]