This Bright Thinkers Power Station project will develop and construct a 1.7 MW industrial rooftop solar PV system to demonstrate the Bright Thinkers Power Station (BTPS) concept.
The project successfully achieved its most important outcome of providing a solution to fill empty roofs of industrial development. Without the BTPS technology, the chosen site for the trial would have only had 850kW behind the meter solar PV. The BTPS system allowed for 1.7 MW, increasing the export capacity to the NEM from <10% to approximately 40%.
After 12 months of operation, the project was also able to validate the BTPS Proof of Concept demonstrating that the technology works and is able to dynamically switch depending on external factors such as tenant load or external trigger signals (e.g. market price events).
Additionally, the project managed to:
- enable the decoupling of PV system size from load constraint to roof surface constraint
- provide a solution for the misalignment of interest between the landlord and tenant in the traditional scenario of the landlord owning the asset (solar PV) and the tenant using it
- enable the installation of large urban solar farms in areas where the Marginal Loss Factor is close to unity.
Report: Bright Thinkers Power Station Knowledge Sharing
This is the final Knowledge Sharing Report for the project undertaken by Epho Commercial Solar. It discusses the project overview and outcomes, the market analysis and lessons learnt, tenant consumption savings, and the project’s relevance and knowledge gaps addressed.
Media Release: Bright Thinking on Rooftop Solar Could Help Businesses and the NEM
ARENA announced $497,000 funding for Epho Pty Ltd to develop an innovative solution to dynamically distribute the energy output of a solar PV system between a building tenant and the network at wholesale electricity prices.
The BTPS system differs from a conventional rooftop solar PV system in its ability to direct solar energy either partially or fully to the consumer on site, or directly trade the energy on the National Electricity Market (NEM).
The project aims to unlock further investment and installation of solar PV on the entire usable roof space of commercial and industrial buildings. This compares to the present practice where current rooftop solar PV systems are constrained in size to align with tenant demand.
Epho has partnered with Siemens to develop a control system with switching technology that segregates electricity through two separate channels.
The dynamic switching will be enabled by an algorithm being jointly developed by Epho and Siemens, based on solar PV output, electricity wholesale market signals and expected tenant demand.
The BTPS technology allows the operation of an industrial solar system under dual functionality, meaning that the system can direct a share of the solar power generated to the building (‘behind the meter’) and the other share to the National Electricity Market (NEM) as a market-participating power station.
The split of the share can vary over very short time periods, which provides a unique flexibility on how to operate the solar system and still maintain the value of solar electricity delivered behind the meter to the tenant. The BTPS technology allows the unique alignment of the interests of the landlord, the tenant and the owner of the solar asset, and at the same time opens up the opportunity to fully utilise the entire industrial rooftop.
BTPS opens a path to enable the development of ‘large-scale’ rooftop power stations connected to the NEM and will allow further solar integration into the Commercial and Industrial market.
Epho’s knowledge sharing activities at an industry level will feature presentations at significant industry events, to provide feedback to the solar industry on the learnings, and challenges, of completing such a project.