Inverter maker SolarEdge has taken what it describes as a major step towards making distributed solar power “ubiquitous,” with the launch of a new grid services product.
The new technology broadens the reach of the company, which has specialised in optimising household and commercial solar systems, to the network level, with a focus on the “shared energy economy.”
In particular it moves beyond individual rooftop PV systems, to help solve a range of network-level problems, including generation shortages, transmission bottlenecks, energy arbitrage, and frequency imbalances.
It does this by offering aggregated control and data reporting, which will allow for the pooling of rooftop PV and battery storage for the creation of virtual power plants.
For retailers, the new product can provide protection against price peaks by facilitating access to stored energy.
While for PV and storage system owners, it offers the possibility of a new revenue stream, by maximising self-consumption and take advantage of time-of-use tariffs as a revenue stream.
The timing of the launch coincides with a major push by the Australian Energy Market Operator for the harnessing of demand-side energy management, to help deal with a range of complex problems as the grid evolves, and to avoid the development of more expensive network infrastructure.
And there is a growing amount of competition already building, as new and old companies turning their attention to the demand-side energy management market.
Among them is home-grown outfit Reposit Power, whose consumer-focused technology to build and manage virtual power plants has already extended its reach across the NEM, through projects with a range of networks and retailers.
Another Australian company, the Melbourne-based GreenSync, last year launched its potentially game-changing trading platform for distributed energy resources, or deX, which provides an open exchange for energy to be transacted between businesses, households, communities and utilities.
SolarEdge, which may well have an advantage with its rooftop solar inverters already in thousands of PV systems around the country, hopes its new product will offer benefits to all stakeholders, as the energy market transitions from a centralised model of generation, to distributed renewables and storage.
“Implementing a new model of energy generation requires simultaneous advancements at the hardware, system, and network levels,” said Lior Handelsman, SolarEdge co-founder and head of marketing and product strategy.
“Now at the network level, our grid services enable the aggregation and synchronisation of multiple PV systems to create a distributed network. This is an important milestone in making solar energy ubiquitous.”