Behind-the-meter battery drives Tonsley towards 100% renewables target


Australian commercial solar outfit CleanPeak Energy has switched on a 4.5 MWh lithium-ion battery that has been coupled with an existing 5 MW rooftop solar system to help power operations at the 61-hectare Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide’s southern suburbs.

The behind-the-meter battery will store excess energy created by 13,000 solar panels installed atop the Main Assembly Building at precinct which is home to more than 140 businesses, including many in the clean technology and renewables space.

The rooftop solar system generates more than 7 GWh of clean energy per year, providing about 60% of the precinct’s current energy needs during daylight hours.

The battery will provide energy outside of daylight hours across the district, including to the homes of Tonsley Village residents, which feed into the Tonsley microgrid.

CleanPeak Chief Executive Officer Philip Graham said the battery will play an important role in the Tonsley Innovation District’s energy scheme, moving the microgrid closer to being fully solar powered.

“The battery will be charged with solar energy generated on site that would otherwise be exported to the grid and made available for use across Tonsley during other times,” he said.

“It will also reduce congestion in the network by taking excess solar out of the system and storing it for use at the site during the evenings. It moves us closer to realising our ambition to power the site from 100% renewable sources, delivering a net-zero strategy for the Tonsley precinct.”

CleanPeak, which owns and operates the Tonsley microgrid, said the battery is to be expanded with planned future stages to take its capacity to 10 MWh.

“This is an important project for us as it is the largest battery we have installed behind the meter anywhere in Australia,” Graham said.

The 5 MW solar project at Tonsley is one of the largest rooftop systems in Australia.

Image: CleanPeak Energy

The Tonsley project is one of more than 50 operating solar and battery sites CleanPeak has in Australia.

Established in 2017, the specialist distributed energy business was initially focused on delivering rooftop renewable energy assets for the commercial and industrial sector but has in recent times moved into utility-scale solar.

Earlier this month it signed an agreement to acquire three operating solar farms with a combined capacity of 14.3 MW in Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. It has also commenced construction on the 30 MW (40 MWp) Wangaratta Solar Farm project being developed in northeast Victoria.

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