Monash University to develop 4 MW PV microgrid

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As part of its goal to achieve zero emissions by 2030, Monash University plans to add to its existing 1 MW of rooftop solar, incorporating a further 3 MW of PV generation, and 1 MWh of storage capacity.

The microgrid will also utilize technology from software provider Indra, to monitor and process system operations across the microgrids. As well as reducing its own dependence on fossil fuels, the University plans to use the microgrid as a demonstration tool for efficient management of energy from a range of sources.

“By managing the Clayton campus energy demands and providing ancillary services to the Victorian power grid, the Monash Microgrid will provide a real-world example of how Victoria can keep its energy system affordable and resilient,” sayds Tony Fullelove, Director of Monash University’s Net Zero Energy Program.

Monash University has committed $135 million to its energy transformation between now and 2030, which covers LED lighting, campus electrification and purchase agreements, as well as on-site renewable energy systems. The University estimates that these measures will result in cost savings worth $15 million a year by 2028.

As renewables achieve ever higher penetration into Australia’s grid, effective management of energy from a variety of intermittent sources has become a major issue for the electricity sector. Indra’s partnership with Monash is designed to showcase how challenges in this area can be overcome.

“Indra was the only technology provider that could deliver a platform able to provide real-time information and interoperability between different systems, said Fullelove, commenting on the partnership. “We did not want to be locked into a proprietary system that would bind us to a single technology.”

Echoing Fullelove’s pride in the partnership, Indra Energy Solutions Manager Giovanni Polizzi commented: “By operating in a real-world environment, the Microgrid will help to provide a clearer understanding of how the energy industry can manage networks with consumer-connected generation, storage and smart technologies”.