Funding initiative of $12.5 million for distributed energy integration announced by ARENA

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Increasing shares of distributed solar PV and batteries are to be supported by the funding initiative alongside providing DER to homes and business, with the aim of contributing to grid reliability.

Rooftop solar, residential battery storage, inverters, controllable loads, both in the home and at commercial and industrial facilities, EV charging stations, smart appliances and systems, and relevant enablers such as smart meters and data services are the behind-the-meter technologies encompassed by DER.

ARENA has called for application for both pilot projects focused on increasing network hosting capacity and studies on integration of DER under a two-stage application process. The agency allocated $7.5 million to pilot projects to try out novel approaches to increasing network hosting capacity such as through advanced monitoring and control schemes to manage power flow, voltage fluctuation and other system requirements in real time, with the objective of allowing the system to operate securely with minimal constraints on bringing energy to the grid

“Distributed energy resources are going to play a huge role in Australia’s future energy mix. Rather than just focusing on large-scale generation and storage, ARENA is looking at how we can integrate and orchestrate behind-the-meter assets such as rooftop solar and home batteries as these become more common,” said Ivor Frischknech, ARENA CEO.

“Already, over 1.7 million Australian households – around 20% – have solar on their roof and soon we expect more and more households and businesses will invest in batteries, and energy management systems that include smart thermostats, internet connected pool pumps and other demand side technologies. It is clear that consumer owned energy resources are going to play a big role in the future energy mix,” he added.

Furthermore, the company have allocated another $5 million to desktop studies, feasibility studies or modeling to investigate how to successfully integrate high penetrations of DER.