Horizon Power presses go on Smart Connect Solar in Carnarvon

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Horizon Power has announced the launch of Smart Connect Solar in in the town of Carnarvon, to ensure grid stability amid high levels of solar penetration. The approach couples digital balancing of PV assets via remote balancing of PV generation over the internet.

Electricity networks face challenges in managing the variable nature of solar power, during periods of high generation and low demand. Horizon Power’s solution employs advanced forecasting and energy management techniques to predict and regulate the flow of solar energy onto the network, ensuring a stable and reliable electricity supply.

Carnarvon, an agricultural town in the Gascoyne region of WA, has high levels of rooftop PV penetration. It also recorded the world’s hottest day on Feb. 20, with the mercury climbing to 49.9 C – testing the town’s microgrid system.

In 2011, Horizon Power halted rooftop PV installations in Carnarvon over fears that the large amounts of PV would crash its grid.

Ray Achemedei, Executive General Manager at Horizon Power said the implementation of Smart Connect Solar in Carnarvon means more access to renewables for regional WA communities. “This exciting project demonstrates our support for the State Government’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and helps us towards our goal of zero refusals when it comes to connecting rooftop solar by 2025”.

The introduction of Smart Connect Solar in Carnarvon is a strategic move to unlock the full potential of solar energy in the community. By facilitating a higher integration of rooftop solar systems without compromising the grid’s stability, Horizon Power is setting a precedent for the scalable adoption of renewable energy across its other serviceable areas.

This initiative

Smart Connect Solar has the ability to manage energy flow dynamically, meaning that more residents and businesses can install solar systems without the risk of overloading the grid.

“These projects help us explore how to connect higher levels of renewable energy into our microgrid systems, without impacting the stability of the network. The learnings we’ve gained along the way have made Smart Connect Solar possible,” Horizon  stated.

The rollout of Smart Connect Solar is slated to occur in phases, with Carnarvon leading the way.

Horizon Power plans to bring the technology to all towns under its service by the end of 2024. Horizon serves WA electricity consumers outside of the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), which is managed by AEMO.

How it works

Behind the scenes, Smart Connect Solar employs sophisticated algorithms and real-time data analytics to optimise the energy network.

By predicting solar output and adjusting the flow of electricity accordingly, the system can mitigate the risk of grid instability, ensuring that energy supply remains consistent and reliable.

The use of internet-connected solar technology, called a Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS), to predict weather patterns and forecast energy generation and demand in Western Australia, also allows for quick responses in real time to any changes in network load and weather conditions.

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