How batteries are changing the way you manage your solar

AGL’s Virtual Power Plant is the next frontier for storing and using solar power.

Energy
7 min read
By installing a connected battery, you can use more of the solar energy produced by your home, while helping the electricity grid handle periods of high demand.

For years, the consumer’s role in electricity was pretty straightforward. Energy retailers and networks supplied the energy, and consumers consumed it.

The rise of rooftop solar changed this, enabling households with solar panels to produce their own energy, use the power they generate and get paid to feed the rest back into the grid.

Over the past couple of years, however, things have advanced further – especially in South Australia. Smart energy consumers have become more sophisticated energy prosumers (this is a consumer who produces their own electricity) by becoming part of an equally smart network of batteries.

The Virtual Power Plant trial

Launched in 2016 and partially funded the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)*, AGL’s Virtual Power Plant (VPP) trial is part of the next frontier for households generating solar power.

Smart, connected batteries are being installed in around 1,000 solar-powered properties across metropolitan Adelaide.

The batteries can communicate through a cloud-based platform, creating a connected system that can operate as the equivalent of a 5MW solar-peaking plant when needed.

How the VPP works

The batteries installed in individual properties store solar energy, which is typically used to power the home when needed.

Solar energy stored in the battery can also be exported to the electricity grid to help support it when needed – for example, on a summer’s day when everyone is running their air-conditioners.

There’s undoubtedly a feel-good factor – you’ll not only get more from your solar, but you’ll also help to support the grid for the community.

If you select a battery with backup power capability, you can keep running your essential appliances when there is a power outage.

There’s a financial benefit too – you can access subsidised battery technology to capture and enjoy more of your solar.

Getting involved in AGL’s expanded VPP

After the success of our VPP trial in South Australia, we’re expanding our Virtual Power Plant program and introducing it to new states.

If you live in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales or Queensland – and already have a battery installed – you can now connect it to the Virtual Power Plant and help improve grid reliability. In return, you’ll receive up to $280 in credits over your first 12 months to put towards our AGL electricity bill.

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Get involved

Want to join AGL’s Virtual Power Plant and get more out of your battery?

Learn more

*AGL’s Virtual Power Plant trial in South Australia received funding from ARENA as part of ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Programme.

Join the conversation over at the AGL Community.

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