Smart inverter trial aims to support grid

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ARENA is supporting a new trial will be conducted across more than 150 households in New South Wales and Victoria to test how smart inverters can be used with rooftop solar and home energy storage to cut costs, and improve the reliability of electricity supply.

ARENA is providing $1.87 million in funding for the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at the University of Technology Sydney to lead the trial, dubbed ‘Networks Renewed’.

ARENA CEO, Ivor Frischknecht, said they were pleased to be supporting the trial as part of its efforts to accelerate Australia’s transition to renewable energy.

“ARENA is at the forefront of efforts to integrate renewable energy into our electricity grids and at the same time provide affordable, reliable and sustainable power for Australians,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“Australian households are world-leaders in rooftop solar adoption and now we’re seeing fast-growing interest in residential battery storage.

“With the right approach, we see strong potential for this ‘decentralised energy’ revolution to improve stability of the grid while giving customers extra incentives to put solar on their roofs.”

ISF Research Director Chris Dunstan said, “This is an exciting moment in our energy transition. Using Australian innovation, this project will tap the crucial but little-known potential of smart inverters to improve power quality on the grid.”

“If managed well, solar and batteries not only avoid such problems, they can actually provide support to vulnerable parts of the grid and reduce the need for costly new network infrastructure.

“While this smart technology exists in all inverters sold today, electricity networks have rarely used it for this purpose and never with sophisticated controls.

“If successful, the trial will demonstrate how solar and battery storage can help support reliable networks and accelerate uptake of rooftop solar in Australia.”

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