Solar energyProject Medium-Scale Solar on Industrial Rooftops
This is a distributed energy resources study and its public report addresses the technical, regulatory and commercial issues that currently prevent solar installations that exceed the expected capacity of the incumbent load.
EPC Technologies Pty Ltd (EPCT) was provided grant funding by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency toward the ‘Demonstration of how Medium Scale Solar on Industrial RoofTops can be Effectively Integrated into the Distribution Network’, Project (the Project) under the Advancing Renewable Program Funding Agreement number G00911 (“the Funding Agreement”). Under the Funding Agreement EPCT has certain reporting and knowledge sharing obligations in return for receiving funding from ARENA. This report covers the requirement to provide a feasibility study for public release.
At the initiation of the Project, solar installations on industrial roof tops were generally limited in scale by the local network owner requiring a zero-export device to be installed. This limited the scale of systems that could be constructed on large industrial roof-spaces to approximately the peak energy load on that site. This limit on export is largely driven by the network’s requirement of maintaining stability of the system across the year and therefore is driven by a limited number of low demand days.
To enable medium-scale solar to be installed, the Project addressed the technical, regulatory and commercial issues that currently prevent solar installations that exceed the expected capacity of the incumbent load.
This project has successfully demonstrated a pathway through the technical and regulatory challenges. From a technical perspective, EPCT has demonstrated how existing technologies can be used to allow material quantities of solar energy to be exported back into the local network. For the demonstration project, approvals were received for over 5MW of export capacity onto the two distribution feeders in Eagle Farm, using approximately 12MW of solar. The demonstration project has the potential to fundamentally change the way industrial and commercial customers consider distributed generation and storage, and how local network companies develop and manage distribution feeders.
Through this project, EPCT demonstrated the regulatory pathway for a new entrant in the development of distributed energy and storage. We have secured all the necessary regulatory approvals, market registrations and licensing exemptions needed to develop distributed generation and storage in Queensland.
Our case study also demonstrates the commercial outcome of medium-scale solar energy. For the chosen sites in the industrial suburb of Eagle Farm, Brisbane, the project was unable to compete with current costs for grid supplied electricity (including market, green and network charges.