Owners of solar panels in Canberra will be offered new technology from Monday, which will more than double their savings on electricity prices.
A group of investors and electricity industry specialists are investing almost $100,000 to commercial the system, which they believe will be a game changer for the energy market.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency will announce $445,000 funding for Canberra technology company Reposit Power to trial the solar storage and trading system, ahead of a national roll-out next year.
Reposit director Luke Osborne says for the first time solar customers can store their renewable energy and sell it back to the grid for a profit.
Known as GridCredits, the technology, which costs about $15,000 a unit, monitors the wider energy market and its fluctuations, which can spike one hundred fold in an afternoon. Some existing peaking plants operate only to capitalise on these spikes.
"We allow consumers to do the same thing," Mr Osborne said. "Once they have storage they have this capability to have a very fast responding system to produce or consume power; they can compete effectively with those typically diesel peaking power plants," Mr Osborne said.
GridCredits will make money for solar panel owners from three market segments: the poles and wire network, the ongoing auction on the energy market, and balancing the grid market.
Its most frequent application will be shifting the middle-of-the-day solar generation to the afternoon when people come home and begin turning on their appliances.
Reposit's founders, electricity market and software systems specialist Dean Spaccavento and data analysis scientist Lachlan Blackhall, and their investors, are launching GridCredits in Canberra because of the community and ACT Government's nation-leading engagement with renewable energy.
Mr Osborne, an engineer and wind farmer from Bungendore, said they were looking for early adapters of solar technology. "I expect the program to be well over-subscribed, we already have had a lot of interest," he said.
"Our goal is to get their bill as low as possible."
Australian Renewable Energy Agency chief executive Ivor Frischknecht said one in five Australian households now used solar power. "This substantial rise has made it vital to find solutions to better manage how residential solar systems operate in our electricity grids," he said.
"Reposit's GridCredits system can control and store solar energy. This gives consumers access to their own power overnight and at peak times, reducing their demand on the grid."
Mr Osborne said the substantial take up of solar panels in Australia was partially due to the high retail price of electricity, the third highest in the world behind Denmark and Germany.
"At the same time we have a lot of sunshine and so a solar panel here in Canberra will produce twice as much electricity as one located in Germany."
GridCredits would create a new player in the energy market known as 'prosumers' – producers and consumers of electricity. Reposit's technology linked consumers back into the wholesale market, to compete head-to-head with the traditional big energy companies.
"Unlike traditional generators, consumers who become prosumers can can flip, so when electricity prices are low they will be consumers, when prices are high they will be generators.
"You can imagine a future where there is a lot consumers using GridCredits and together they make up a large power station and an important part of the grid," Mr Osborne said.
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