Solar energyProject Solar Energy Management System for Utilities
This report details the world-first ‘firm’ solar energy system to reliably reduce the impacts of peak demand by tackling air conditioner electrical consumption,
CSIRO has developed renewable air conditioning technology specifically designed for residential applications. This technology provides space cooling, space heating and hot water and is capable of reducing both average and peak electricity network demand by substituting conventional electrically‐ driven air conditioning, with renewable solar heat driven desiccant technology. This functionality potentially enables consumers to deploy renewable energy powered technology in order to reduce energy bills, while electrical network operators accrue benefit from reduced peak electrical demand effects driven by air conditioning.
Air conditioning‐driven peak demand is a significant issue for Distribution Network Service Providers (DNSPs) due to the size, high correlation and instantaneous nature of the demand. In particular, this high correlation is often experienced during periods of extremely hot or cold weather where a large proportion of grid users simultaneously use air conditioning. This project designed, developed, manufactured and tested a prototype solar air conditioner in the real world and evaluated its performance in helping to reduce peak demand as well as providing comfort. This prototype ‘firm’ solar air conditioner utilises a gas water heater as a backup heat source and a solar energy management (SEM) controller as a utility interface.