The Moreland Micro-Grid Investigation project will examine the logistical, regulatory and financial challenges facing the adoption of micro-grids in existing suburbs.
Record numbers of Australian households already have rooftop solar systems. However, there is a limit on how much grid-connected solar PV individual households can install and how much solar power they can generate.
This is because Australia’s networks were designed to facilitate power flowing in one direction; from the grid to customers. It can cause technical problems if too much solar power is fed back into the grid at any one time.
MEFL and project partners GreenSync and Jemena will undertake a virtual trial based on historical power consumption data from medium density Melbourne suburbs to examine how a grid-connected solar PV and storage system could provide ‘behind the meter’ power needs of users.
This is one of the first times that inner urban residential neighbourhoods will be investigated in this way. Moreland is engaging directly with a distribution network service provider, Jemena and a demand manager, Greensync to identify opportunities and barriers to adoption of micro-grid solutions.
Pooling solar PV generation and storage across a number of households using a neighbourhood ‘micro-grid’ could sidestep the cap on grid-connected residential solar and allow residential customers to generate, store and use more of their own solar PV.
Micro-grids can also enable electricity to be sold into the grid at peak prices, while charging the batteries during off peak periods, increasing the value to participating residences.
In addition, the ability to reduce peak demand through such a system could actively assist network utilities to manage challenging periods of variable power production and overall activity on the grid.