Evergen, Solar Services Group partner to drive large-scale VPP deployment

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A new strategic partnership between Evergen and Solar Service Group aims to drive large-scale virtual power plant (VPP) deployment across Australia. The joint venture brings together Evergen’s optimization technology and ability to orchestrate VPPs via microgrids and demand response networks with Solar SG’s expertise in developing and distributing battery storage systems.

Evergen’s technology, developed by the CSIRO and backed by AMP Capital, tracks the household’s production and consumption patterns in tandem with weather forecasts to best tailor when the system should utilize its solar generation, when to store it, when to utilize the battery or the grid, ensuring the system is working in the most cost-effective fashion.

To boost its growth in Australia and expand overseas, Evergen opened last month a $7 million capital raising campaign to private and wholesale investors on VentureCrowd, which is scheduled to close on Friday. With the funds raised, the company hopes to lower the cost of energy for all Australians, utilising renewable energy and its intelligent energy management software, by increasing the performance of single solar + energy storage systems and enabling their operation in VPPs and microgrids.

“After various trial programs around the country, this partnership with Solar SG and Evergen now puts us in a position to take our proposition nationwide to our combined network of customers,” Ben Hutt, CEO and Managing Director of Evergen, said. “Blending Solar SG’s excellence in research and marketing and national deployed fleet together with Evergen’s software, this will be the biggest single fleet of batteries globally.”

Solar SG – which operates under its Solar Service Group, Sunbank Solar and SouthAus Solar banners – says its network of customers comprises thousands of households that might be interested in making better use of their distributed energy resources. The companies plan to launch the first stage of the initiative to Solar SG customers in Q1 2020.

“With more than 8,000 batteries installed nationally already, our current and future customers will benefit from Evergen’s world class optimisation software,” Solar SG chairman Rod Woolley said. Noting that most VPP trials have had a mixed success, he adds “We’re starting from the other end of the equation, with an extensive and enthusiastic customer base on which we’ve built our business case.”

Solar SG and Evergen hope their partnership will further support the adoption of batteries as part of network infrastructure and help fast-track the transition to a zero-carbon energy structure. “Our partnership will enable all Evergen and Solar SG customers to be connected to energy markets, generating additional savings from participating in grid-scale initiatives,” Woolley said. “This will dramatically reduce the payback period for consumers and provide concurrent benefits for the network and other energy consumers.”