Canberra virtual big battery project

Canberra project turns 250 homes into “virtual big battery”

250 rooftop solar systems in Canberra, Australia were connected into a “virtual big battery” this week. Residents can sell the solar power generated from their home systems back to the grid at a higher price than those available from feed-in tariff (FiT) policies. The energy storage project will also bolster the grid during peak hours.

The scheme is the most ambitious such project from Reposit Power, a leader in renewable energy tech. The Australian company has been a pioneer in leveraging rooftop solar to support the grid with several energy storage managing platforms in their portfolio. The combined generation capacity of the 250-home “virtual big battery” is 1 MW.

Their main energy storing and trading platform, GridCredits, made its debut three years ago. GridCredits’ trading system lets owners sell the energy generated from their rooftop solar systems back to the grid and in return, access an equivalent amount of energy at all times — even peak times. Reposit also collaborated with GreenSync, another Australian tech company, on deX (Decentralised energy exchange), another energy trading and sharing platform.

Feed-in tariff schemes were Australia’s previous system for compensating customers who feed energy back into the grid, however the payouts are different in each state and many FiT schemes are in decline or in some regions, have already expired. With GridCredits customers potentially able to earn AU$1 for every kWh fed back into the grid, the scheme could be nine times more lucrative than FiT.

This system of offering lower utility prices in return for drawing on home energy storage systems to stabilise the grid network is being tested in several countries. Germany have seen success with their version, SonnenFlat, while the UK’s GridShare has seen recent investment. Other systems have been tested in Canada, New York and in the Benelux area, with many developers keen to explore the commercial possibilities.

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