General Motors Holden Site – 2MW, 500kWh BESS

Carnegie Clean Energy reported earlier this week that they have secured $3 million in government funding to build a 2MW, 500 kWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) at the General Motors Holden site in Elizabeth, South Australia. The funding will come from the Renewable Technology Fund, part of the South Australian Government’s Energy Plan.

Solar microgrid at the General Motors Holden Site 

General Motors Holden Site - Carnegie Battery Energy Storage System Example
General Motors Holden Site – Carnegie Battery Energy Storage System Example (source: carnegiece.com)

The site will provide grid-support services during peak times and, according to Infrastructure Magazine, will operate in tandem with the existing diesel backup generators at Elizabeth. 

Premier of South Australia Jay Weatherill said “This solar and battery project by Carnegie is part of a wave of new investment in South Australia we have leveraged through the $150 million Renewable Technology Fund announced as part of our energy plan.

“Renewable energy projects like this also reduce demand on the grid during peak times, which puts downward pressure on power prices for all South Australians. This project is symbolic of the broader transition we are seeing in our economy away from traditional manufacturing towards high-tech industries creating jobs of the future for South Australians” Weatherill added.

Carnegie’s Managing Director, Dr Michael Ottaviano, said, “We are fielding an increasing number of opportunities that historically were performed by diesel or gas turbines, for which battery systems are now increasingly competitive. The CCE battery solution offers faster response time, lower operating cost, no greenhouse gas pollution, and silent operation. This is Carnegie’s first project in South Australia and means we are now delivering projects right across Australia.”

According to Dr Ottoviano the company will cover approximately 20% of the plant’s roof space initially, but there is no reason they couldn’t end up using the other 80% as well: 

“It’s a way of looking at what formerly would have been just a roof and turning it into an energy production asset,” he said in news.com.au

South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis discussed the effect it and other renewable investments are having on the job market: 

“Jobs are our number one priority and this solar battery project by Carnegie is part of a wave of new investment,” he said.

There have been many exciting developments for South Australian solar over the past 12 months and it’s great to see them keep coming. 

The microgrid is expected to commence operation by December. 

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sonnen offering Aussies ‘free power’ via sonnenFlat

German solar battery creator sonnen are offering Australian households ‘free power’ through their sonnenFlat service in an order to bolster their foothold in the Australian market.

Natural Solar, sonnen, and sonnenFlat

sonnenFlat sonnenBatterie
The sonnenBatterie with sonnenFlat energy tariff (source: sonnen.com.au)

Australian supplier and installer of solar products, Natural Solar, have been signed up to manage the offer for sonnen. They are also responsible for the supply and install of Tesla Powerwall 2’s, so they have plenty of experience in large scale product launches.

Sonnen were launched 7 years ago in Wildpoldsried, Germany, and has been growing at a rapid pace since, including their foray into the Australian energy market in 2016.

According to The Australian, sonnen have already gained a massive 13% of the Australian market share since entering it last year. They also sold over 11,000 battery units, ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 – and sonnen sees Australia as its ‘second most important’ market behind Germany – so they are willing to take a (potentially) loss leading strategy in order to gain greater market share for the medium-long term.

The sonnenFlat energy tariff is for sonnenBatterie owners where you receive a guaranteed, prearranged amount of energy for a monthly fee. “In return, some of the energy stored in the sonnenBatterie will be used to assist in the stabilisation of the electricity grid” – according to the sonnenFlat site.

Natural Solar’s website states that the ‘free power’ will be under a tiered system and have explained it thusly:

“Looking at the Germany model for sonnenFlat … storage determines the amount of free electricity the owner is entitled to.

The website also states that: “If a customer exceeds the amount based on their tier, then the owner starts to get charged only for electricity imported from the grid (not from power generated from your solar system and power utilised from your battery) at a rate significantly lower than standard retail electricity rates.” If you can get approved, this sounds like the sort of offer that will propel residential solar+storage from the ‘maybe’ category into the ‘definitely’ for those waiting for a chance to jump into the market.

How to sign up for sonnenFlat

You can register your interest for the sonnenFlat energy tariff trial by visiting this page on the sonnen website.

Sonnen / Bristle Roofing Solartile

Sonnen have been in the news recently as they’re offering an alternative to the Tesla Solar Roof – the sonnen Solartile – click the link to learn more about how it will work in conjunction with the sonnenBatterie (and presumably the sonnenFlat tariff offer). It’s great to see a strong Tesla Powerwall competitor also offer alternatives to the Tesla roof tiles – the two in conjunction with their new ‘free’ energy tariff will undoubtedly ensure we see and hear a lot more about Sonnen in the future.

sonnenFlat packages and cost

Here’s a breakdown of the sonnenFlat pricing structure – definitely starting to look like solar can be a real money saver!

sonnenFlat Cost and Pricing Packages
sonnenFlat Cost and Pricing Packages (source: sonnen)

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Alice Springs Solar to end blackouts

Some big news coming out for residents suffering the solar drought in the Northern Territory – the new Battery Energy Storage System will transform Alice Springs solar and is slated to be one of the largest grid-connected storage solutions in all of Australia.

BESS and Alice Springs solar

Solar Energy in the Northern Territory has lagged far behind the other Australian states in terms of residential and commercial solar uptake (January 2017 PV output was 4,049MWh vs Queensland’s 126,629MWh) – so it’s great to see new government owned company Territory Generation announce the Battery Energy Storage System (BESS).

Territory Generation Logo - Alice Springs Solar
Territory Generation Logo (source: territorygeneration.com.au)

The cutting-edge BESS will be installed by Vector Energy and will be a 5mW storage system, capable of supplying energy to the grid for up to 40 minutes if required.

It will cost approximately $8.3 million to develop and modelling done by Territory Generation, or ‘T-Gen’, shows that this will  be recouped within four to five years. Chief Executive Officer of Territory Generation Tim Duignan, was quoted as saying “We’re replacing aged electricity generators with the latest equipment, to provide efficient and reliable power supply, drive down the cost of producing electricity and to support a transition to renewable energy.”

Duignan also noted that this is an important project as it improves the reliability of base-load power – imperative as we transition to renewables (there are overcast days even in the Northern Territory). Just having solar panels or wind generators isn’t enough – as we saw in South Australia last year if base-load power isn’t sufficient it will lead to widespread blackouts. On that note, in the same week as the ABC are reporting that South Australian power prices will be the highest in the world as of Saturday, it’s good to see projects with clear modelling and positive financials – there is quite a lot of short-medium term pain coming up for energy bills nationwide.

The BESS is set to be completed by late 2017.

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