Sungrow’s residential PV inverter shipments to Australia quadrupled in 2015

Sungrow SH5K

Sungrow, one of the worlds’ largest PV inverter manufacturers, says that its residential inverter shipments to Australia quadrupled in 2015, reaching approximately 50 MW. Sungrow had the largest market share of all Chinese inverter manufacturers in Australia.

In February of 2015, Sungrow unveiled the Crystal Series, its new residential product which proved popular among end users in Australia, based on its sleek design as well as ease of installation and maintenance. In October of 2015, Sungrow released the SH5K, a hybrid storage system. The SH5k sold out before a single product had been shipped. This high demand is based on its advanced design concept and superior performance. Currently, Sungrow has shipped over 100 MW of residential PV inverters to Australia.

RELATED: How inverters are changing PV systems with bundled services 

Founded in 2012, Sungrow Australia is located in the central business district of North Sydney. Its facilities include a warehouse, logistics centre, customer service centre and product showcase centre. With this rapid development, Sungrow Australia have built a professional team covering sales, technical support, after sales service and market research, comprehensively meeting customers’ demands with its well established service network in Australia.

“We will keep focusing on the residential solar market in Australia and enlarge the investment in commercial projects in 2016. The solar market in Australia is expected to be stable and we will offer better products, solutions and services to local customers.” Professor Renxian Cao, the President of Sungrow said.

— Solar Builder magazine

Energy storage in Australia: The challenges and opportunities

Australia energy storage

As long as there has been an electric grid, companies have sought ways to safely and efficiently store energy so that it can be consumed on demand, output can be meticulously controlled, and the exact frequency of the energy distributed can be tightly regulated. In Australia, the emergence of cost effective distributed energy storage is a game changer in the electricity sector. It has transformed how electricity is being generated, transported and traded by enabling self-sufficient end user micro grids, fully utilized distributed networks and eliminating wholesale price hikes.

The cost of energy storage has been the cause of this increment. The role of enabling technologies such as energy storage is becoming more important as Australia moves toward higher penetrations of intermittent renewable generation such as solar and wind power. In order for Australia to have renewable market efficiency and lower the costs, it is important to support the development of new markets for enabling technologies.

Energy storage is perhaps the most significant enabling technology, providing the ability to both smooth and shift renewable generation to match demands. Residential Energy Storage system in Australia is giving the Australians a leeway to this problem.

Natural Advantages of Renewable Energy Storage

• When frequency needs to be lowered, this is traditionally done through generators ready to disconnect (i.e. withholding energy), or loads ready to connect (i.e. consuming energy), at short notice. In the case of storage, energy is neither consumed nor withheld – it is stored, and can be discharged at a later time in order to raise the frequency (or for any other purpose). Effectively, storage can be paid twice, an option not available to other providers

• Most storage technologies can operate at partial output levels relatively efficiently, and can respond to signals from the market operator very quickly compared to most other types of conventional generation.

• A single storage device can be used effectively for both frequency raising as load increases and frequency lowering as load decreases; conventional providers can usually only offer one service or the other.

• The volume of energy storage required would be well beyond what existing or foreseeable storage technology could offer.

• Providing the service would require always having stored, i.e. undischargable energy, at hand, which would effectively reduce the storage device’s available capacity to every other application to which it might be put.

RELATED: New lithium battery now shipping throughout Australia, New Zealand 

Australia’s energy storage devices

One of Australia’s made energy storage device developer is Magellan Power. It is a WA-based developer of power electronics with a focus on distributed energy systems such as grid connected rooftop solar panels. They provide solar smoothing and solar export control devices and several lines of energy storage devices for home and businesses that are well suited specifically for Austrian conditions.

This is the RES1 and RES3. They are approved for use anywhere in Australia. The RES1 offers 9.2 kWh of energy storage capacity for homes, while RES3 provides 13.8 kWh. Both of them are designed and built in Australia with Australian conditions in mind and can be installed anywhere including a garage, shed or even outside. Apart from the Magellan Power, Solari Energy’s SolaGRID Energy Storage System (ESS) is a stand alone energy storage system suitable for any sized solar energy installation. It comes with audible alarm safety device in case of faults.

There are several commercial energy storage solutions available in Australia. One of them is the CESS. Commercial energy storages helps businesses reduce their reliance on the electricity grid, thus allowing them time allows to continue running appliances in the event of a power outage. CESS has a storage capacity of between 50-500 kwh.

Australia’s renewable energy storage target

Australia’s renewable energy storage target is split into two divides: Large scale (LRET), which is set at 41,000 GWh y 2020, and small scale (SRES) with no set limit. LRET covers large scale renewable energy projects such as wind farms, commercial scale solar and geothermal. It is to deliver the majority of the 2020 target and includes legislated annual targets. The SRES covers small generation units like small scale photovaltic, small wind turbines and micro hydroelectric systems and solar heaters, which can create small technology certificates (STCs). PV systems up to 100 kWh can claim up to 15 years worth of STCs up front up to 2016, but each year from then on will receive one year less deeming, in line with the RET completion date of 2030

Economic issues on energy storage in Australia

They range from incentives and vested interests in nature, lack of transparency/ asymmetric information, market signals and distortions, and competitiveness of storage.

Click 2 for a deep dive into the economic issues as well as some potential solutions

— Solar Builder magazine

Details on the new home energy solution from Enphase Energy

Don’t get too excited if you don’t live in Australia or New Zealand, but Enphase Energy, a global energy technology company, has unveiled its Enphase Home Energy Solution, an integrated solution combining solar generation, energy control and energy storage. The award-winning Enphase technology is an advanced energy solution that delivers a high return on investment and greater reliability to the system owner.

“The dynamics of the residential solar markets in Australia and New Zealand make it one of the most storage-ready regions in the world,” said Paul Nahi, president and CEO of Enphase. “Homeowners in Australia and New Zealand want total control of their home’s energy because of the combination of electricity rates, high solar penetration, and declining feed-in tariffs. The Enphase Home Energy Solution fits these needs with compelling economics and sets the stage for the evolving energy market.”

RELATED: Power down under: Solar tops wind power in Australia 

Seventy-eight percent of existing Enphase system owners in Australia and New Zealand have indicated a strong interest in receiving the Enphase Home Energy Solution. Enphase will roll out the components of the Enphase Home Energy Solution in these regions starting in December 2015, with the Enphase AC Battery to be available in Q2 2016. The key components of the Enphase Home Energy Solution include:

Enphase EnergyGeneration

The fifth-generation Enphase S-Microinverter is a powerful, smart solar energy inverter that simplifies installation and delivers market-leading quality and reliability with a design that is inherently safer with greater energy yield. Designed to pair with high-powered modules, the S-Series Microinverter delivers a significant reduction in cost per watt and minimize homeowners’ and installers’ risk in an environment of changing grid standards.

Control

Envoy-S Metered, a bidirectional communications gateway, empowers homeowners to control the energy in their home and enables more cost-effective and reliable installations. The Envoy-S Metered offers consumption monitoring and is zero export compliant, making it ideally suited to solar PV systems in Queensland and New South Wales.

Envoy-S Metered also enables system owners to rightsize their energy storage system to maximize the value of the energy from the owner’s solar system. With more than 20 percent of Australian homes already having installed solar and feed-in tariffs rapidly declining, economically viable energy storage is an attractive proposition that will accelerate the adoption of home energy management and storage.
Storage

The Enphase AC Battery is a scalable, modular energy storage system that seamlessly integrates with the Enphase Home Energy Solution. It delivers high performance and superior reliability, allowing homeowners to achieve self-consumption or to simply store solar energy for use at times when grid-supplied energy rates are at their peak. For installers, the Enphase AC Battery provides lower upfront costs and higher lifetime value, especially for retrofits, where the economics are the best in the industry. From the perspective of utilities, the intelligent, networked Enphase AC Battery is a powerful vehicle for distributed storage models, since it incorporates Enphase’s signature fleet-level performance monitoring and remote upgrade capabilities.

Management

Enphase Enlighten is a cloud-based platform that connects the Enphase Home Energy Solution with smart devices for an intelligent home. System owners use Enphase Enlighten to monitor their home’s solar generation, battery storage and consumption from any web- enabled device. System owners may also connect their Enphase system with other smart home apps, including Google’s Nest.

 

— Solar Builder magazine

Power down under: Solar tops wind power in Australia

Australia solar power

We were mostly excited to write the headline, but here is the story: Solar photovoltaic (PV) became Australia’s largest source of renewable energy in 2014, with a cumulative installed capacity of 4 GW, overtaking wind power, which totaled 3.8 GW, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.

Renewables have become an integral part of the energy policy in Australia and, as a result, the government has introduced new policy instruments and efforts to attract investment in research and development and new projects.

For example, in 2012, the government introduced a carbon pricing mechanism, to support a move to a low-carbon economy. The mechanism provided incentives for the reduction of emissions with a fixed annual price for three years. Although the mechanism was scrapped in July 2014 to support economic growth, tax liabilities for the applicable years have to be met in full.

Siddhartha Raina, GlobalData’s Senior Analyst covering power, says that growth in Australia’s solar PV market has been a recent development and is largely due to policy support from the government, which has often included financial incentives.

RELATED: Report: Perovskite solar cells show potential with efficiency improvement, lowering costs

However, some regulations, such as National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Regulations 2008 and the Australian National Registry of Emissions Units Regulations 2011, are currently undergoing amendments, and the Clean Energy Regulator has recently announced that it will hold the second Emissions Reduction Fund auction for carbon abatement contracts.

“The government recently announced the revised Renewable Energy Target (RET) to support emission-intensive industries and slightly reduced the RET from 41 Terawatt hours (TWh) to 33 TWh. Despite this, new renewable energy capacity of 6 GW still needs to be installed by 2020,” Raina said.

GlobalData’s report also states that while solar and wind power will remain key contributors to Australia’s renewable energy mix, bioenergy is set to become increasingly important.

“While feed-in tariffs and renewable energy target schemes, along with other subsidies and support initiatives, have had a major impact on the solar PV and wind industries, the impact of such programs on biopower and small hydro has been minimal,” Raina said. “Despite this, strong government backing is expected to promote stable growth in the bioenergy sector. Bioenergy capacity amounted to 573.9 MW in 2014 and is expected to more than treble to 1.8 GW by the end of 2025.”

— Solar Builder magazine

JA Solar modules to power the largest solar farm under construction in Australia

JA SolarA 70-MW Moree Solar Farm (MSF) in Australia has begun to install the batches of solar modules provided by JA Solar since June. As MSF’s exclusive supplier, JA Solar will keep delivering JAP6-315 and JAP6-310 modules to meet all demand of 70-MW modules. Early this year, MSF was acknowledged by IJ Global as the best solar transaction of 2014 in the Asia Pacific region. The award recognizes excellence, achievement and innovation in energy and infrastructure finance.

MSF is located 10 km south of Moree, in northern New South Wales. The project is owned by Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV). Project financing totaling $164 million, including a $102 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and $47 million of debt financing from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, was secured in August 2014, and construction of the farm broke ground in November 2014.

“The Moree Solar Farm is currently the largest solar farm under construction in Australia,” said Andrea Fontana, Australia Country Manager of FRV. “Once completed, MSF will produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of nearly 15,000 New South Wales homes and abate nearly 95,000 tons of carbon pollution each year. Additionally, it will create more than 100 jobs during its construction.”

— Solar Builder magazine