As a leader in OFF GRID POWER we closely follow new technologies and applications in the solar industry.
Of recent interest was a trial in Fremantle of a Government supported communal solar micro grid with participants sharing roof top solar and a large centralized battery. By all accounts the trial achieved some success but true feasibility would only be realised with a rethink of the grid power pricing model.
And here is where we believe the trial (and by default the model) falls down.
There is an old adage “If you ask the wrong question you are guaranteed to get the wrong answer”. So, if this trial concludes a new grid pricing model would make it a success we would suggest there is something fundamentally wrong with the project’s intent…one would have thought that should have been known from the outset especially since the project attracted Government support.
The pursuit of the solar Holy Grail seems to be always based on interaction with the Grid. There is a chorus of engineers holding firm to the concept that the ultimate backup to life is grid power…not a bad concept if there is a guarantee of a robust and expansive generation and transmission network but less of a reality in the confused Australian energy market.
And every time we see these innovative, yet impractical trials of new applications we strip back the mathematics and constantly prove that a stand alone system is not only more practical but, surprisingly, less expensive. Remember, a micro grid is simply a small utility company; a grid within a grid. It comes with ecommensurate set up costs, expensive connection costs, administration costs, R&M costs and the headache of maintaining a “fairness” regime.
Affordable high-end battery technology is very accessible, and the highly promoted “big brands” are not necessarily the best options. But they are certainly a reason to be discouraged from home storage because of their ridiculous prices.
No doubt we will be bombarded by a deluge of protest but the bottom line is that we can provide a costing model for an individual property to be in either a hybrid or stand alone scenario with greater potential usage in either single or three phase mode that is far less expensive than that offered in a micro grid scenario.
Micro grids belong in a commercial environment where there are greater benefits because of STC constraints.
And, for the foreseeable future, that’s where they should stay.