News wrap

In case you missed it… here we present recent announcements about Foresight, Solar Analytics and AusNet Services’ accelerator program.

In early January Foresight confirmed its completion of the acquisition of the Canadian Solar by Foresight Solar Fund Limited consisting of three construction stage assets in Queensland, representing 117 MW of peak capacity once installed.

The assets comprise the Longreach Solar Farm (17 MW), Oakey 1 Solar Farm (30 MW) and Oakey 2 Solar Farm (70 MW) with the company acquiring 49 per cent interests in each of Longreach and Oakey 1, and a 100 per cent interest in Oakey 2.

Longreach and Oakey 1 are expected to connect to the grid in March 2018 and September 2018 respectively, while Oakey 2 is expected to connect to the grid in October 2018. Longreach and Oakey 1 are under construction and Oakey 2 is due to start construction now financial close has been reached.

Both Longreach and Oakey 1 have entered into 20-year Power Purchase Agreements for both power and Large-scale Generation Certificates with the Queensland Government.

Gloria Chan of the CEFC said “This is an exciting development for the next generation of Queensland solar.  A key part of CEFC’s role in the market is to encourage critical technologies that assist in Australia’s smooth transition to a cleaner, more reliable electricity grid.”

Following the acquisition, FSFL’s portfolio comprises 23 assets with a net peak capacity of 621 MW, of which a 475 MW UK portfolio is fully operational and accredited, with the 146 MW portfolio in Australia under construction.

This is the third Australian transaction for Foresight in 2017 following the acquisitions of Bannerton and Barcaldine, which increases Foresight’s Australian solar portfolio to 252 MW across five sites.

Start-ups step up: AusNet Services has again joined forces with seven leading international energy companies to search for start-ups to participate in the second annual round of Free Electrons, a global energy start-up accelerator program.

Among the nine key areas of interest are innovative ideas in clean energy, smart grids, energy efficiency, energy management, energy access, E-mobility, customer solutions, business models, innovation, and the Internet of Things and digitisation.

Under the program 12 start-ups will be selected to work closely with mentors, local accelerators, and utilities to jump-start their business.

Apart from an unrivalled opportunity to see their ideas realised, the global winner will win $US200,000 – one of the largest prizes of its kind in the world.

In 2018, the top dozen start-ups will be invited to participate in workshops in Sydney, Melbourne, Silicon Valley and Berlin, providing exposure to some of the world’s leading minds in innovation, energy and clean-tech.

Last year’s program resulted in a number of the participating start-ups receiving trial agreements or participation in negotiations for further investment.

Applications for the 2018 Free Electrons program are now open at www.freetheelectron.com, and close on 28 February 2018.

AusNet Services is Victoria’s largest energy delivery service, owning and operating approximately $11 billion of electricity and gas distribution and transmission assets that connect into more than 1.3 million Victorian homes and businesses.

Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) awards Solar Analytics $1.9 million for Smart Home Energy Management System: Australian solar energy software provider Solar Analytics is evolving from a solar monitoring platform to a holistic Smart Home Energy Management System with the announcement of a $1.9 million grant from the Australian Federal Government. This enhanced software service will provide solar owners with greater visibility over their energy data, and the ability to closely manage their energy usage, get more value from their system, and drive down their electricity costs.

The Smart Home Energy Management System is being developed in response to the unprecedented changes in Australia’s energy industry. The major issues identified by Finkel, AEMO, CSIRO and ENA include electricity supply constraints leading to a need for residential demand management solutions; distributed generation driving an industry-wide need for energy data visibility; and markedly increasing electricity costs, with consumers lacking visibility on how to manage or improve their position.

The grant was awarded by the Cooperative Research Centre to Solar Analytics to provide “Integrated Smart Home Energy Management, Control and Data Visibility”. Solar Analytics will collaborate with a number of partners to deploy the innovative software platform, including energy utilities Ergon Energy and SA Power Networks, and research partner UNSW. Solar Analytics will also partner with fellow Australian energy technology companies Wattwatchers, SwitchDin, and other local smart energy partners to deliver this innovative end-to-end customer solution.

Solar Analytics CEO Stefan Jarnason said “We empower our users to navigate the changing energy landscape. The Smart Home Energy Management System will provide consumers with the holistic solution to maximise the value from their residential and commercial solar power system. We want to make living a solar-powered life simple and rewarding.”

Solar Analytics provides solar energy management services for residential and commercial solar power system owners for more than 15,000 solar premises across Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

The CRC Program supports industry-led collaborations between industry, researchers and the community. It’s a proven model for linking researchers with industry to focus on research and development towards use and commercialisation.

It aims to improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries, especially where Australia has a competitive strength and in line with government priorities; and foster high quality research to solve industry-identified problems through industry-led and outcome-focused collaborative research partnerships between industry entities and research organisations

 For more information visit www.business.gov.au/assistance/cooperative-research-centres-programme