South Australia’s biggest electricity distribution company SA Power Networks is seeking to reduce dependence on its very own grid, by installing just under 500kW of solar across two of its depots.
The Essential Services Commission of South Australia earlier this month received an application from SAPN to vary its electricity generation licence to operate a 251kW rooftop solar generating plant at its Angle Park depot, and a 211kW rooftop solar generating plant at Marleston.
In separate applications for each of the solar arrays, SAPN – whose network boasts one of the highest penetrations of residential rooftop solar PV in the world – has described the purpose of both PV installations as “primarily to reduce grid energy use at the site.”
It also notes that the generation of energy is expected to be “consumed on-premises, with incidental output to the NEM.”
As the applications note, SAPN is already the electricity distribution network service provider for the majority of South Australia, for which it is licenced by the ECOSA.
But it needs a generation licence to claim LGCs for the solar generation the two plants will produce, which the distribution company is hoping will be authorised under its existing licence by variation.
The application says the plants have already been constructed, with all connection approvals and solar design completed, and “many” electricians and electrical engineers already on the books to maintain and service the PV arrays.
It is, however, outsourcing the creation and sale of Renewable Energy Certificates generated by the solar installation, to Emerging Energy under a contract between the parties.
“We understand Emerging Energy to be Australia’s largest trader and creator of environmental certificates and that they have been trading LGCs for more than six years,” the applications say.
The solar installs will bring SAPN up to speed with its own customers, who – aided by successive supportive state governments – have led the world in solar uptake.
To help deal with this huge solar influx, SAPN has put a 5kW limit of residential solar exports in late 2017. It has also installed 100 home battery storage systems as part of a trial of virtual power plant and demand response technology.
And the state as a whole, as Giles Parkinson reported here earlier this month, has become a centre for innovation and adaption, as it charge towards 60, 70, and 80 per cent renewables power supply from both large and small-scale solar and wind.