Canberra’s big battery

The much-anticipated B-day – Battery Day – arrived in Canberra yesterday when more than 250 households synchronised their solar battery systems to sell energy back to the grid and effectively switched on their own big battery. The households are actively involved in the ACT Government’s Next Generation Storage Program which encouraged the uptake of batteries with discounts of around 24 per cent, however the virtual big battery can be created anywhere across Australia, Reposit said.

“Essentially anyone with solar and battery storage with Reposit can opt-in to be part of a virtual big battery – they don’t need to be in Canberra.”

The Canberra big battery was launched by Rosemary Sinclair, chief executive of Energy Consumers Australia, and Reposit Power and ACT utility ActewAGL Distribution switched on the virtual big battery ahead of what is anticipated to be a challenging summer for the electricity grid.

“We are proving that a virtual big battery can not only support the grid at times of peak demand, like the South Australian big battery, but also empower consumers to take advantage of price spikes on the grid,” said Reposit Power chief executive Dean Spaccavento (pictured) who commented Australians are frustrated with electricity prices and are increasingly turning to smart battery storage technology with solar.

Households will earn $1.00 in GridCredits® for each kWh they discharge, which is about nine times the current available solar feed-in-tariff in Canberra, Spaccavento explained.

“The advantage of creating a virtual big battery is that they can be built anywhere, homeowners across Australia can be part of it and taxpayers aren’t left with the bill.

“Unlike the South Australian big battery, when the virtual big battery isn’t performing demand response, each individual battery goes back to supporting its household with solar after dark.”

Reposit Power is also launching Reposit Fleet, software that makes building virtual big batteries easy by providing electricity companies with a platform to harness the energy revolution.

“With Reposit’s new platform, electricity companies can use a collection of Reposit systems to deliver electricity to the grid at very short notice,” said Dean Spaccavento.

“Australia is going through an energy revolution with half of all electricity generation expected to be sourced from homes and businesses in the future.

“The virtual big battery will deliver one megawatt of power. With rooftop solar growing at approximately 100 megawatts per month, all signs point towards the enormous potential of virtual big batteries.”

In late September the ACT government allocated a further $4 million to support the Next Generation scheme. In which the first $600,000 pilot program three companies installed Tesla, Panasonic and LG Chem storage technologies along with Reposit Power’s smart controls.

The plan under the ACT’s $25 million Next Generation Energy Storage program is to install 36 MW of energy storage at 5,000 homes and businesses over the next three years and reduce the cost of storage for thousands of Canberra households.

Next Generation is proving such a hit that ACT Climate Minister Shane Rattenbury extended the program with a third competitive grants round for subsidised battery storage linked to rooftop PV. The round closed in October.

The Minister emphasises the need for successful proponents to set up offices in Canberra as they contribute research, education and trades development to the local economy while cementing the “reputation as a globally-recognised hub for investment, training and research in renewable energy.”