January 25, 2019 Read More →

Rooftop solar proves its worth in Australian heat wave

Renew Economy:

The Australian Energy Market Operator has pulled out all the stops for a second day running, as extreme heat combined with coal power outages pushed the grid to the edge of its limits in South Australia and Victoria.

But there is a good news story to come out of this heatwave, too, says The Australia Institute’s Richie Merzian: the success of Australia’s huge solar PV resource in shaving peak demand.

“Extreme heat leads to peak demand – it’s not news. But it also leads to peak solar generation – and that’s when the grid needs it most,” Merzian told RE. “On Wednesday, you had rooftop solar shaving peak demand by over 2700MW – more than an entire fully functioning, fully operational Liddell power plant.”

“If you’re able to take over 2000MW off peak demand, that’s the difference between potential blackouts,” he said. “And it’s coming at a crucial time, when our system really benefits.”

And the uptake of battery storage to complement all the behind-the-meter solar – BNEF has predicted that Australian households will install 70,000 new home batteries this year alone – will extend that benefit further into the evening. And that extending peak shaving will be crucial, Merzian says, as heatwaves become more extreme, with overnight lows hovering around the 30°C mark.

More: Grid held together by solar, load management, as coal fails in heat

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