"Almost one in three Australian households have solar panels on their roofs.
Most are motivated by rising electricity prices and environmental concerns.
Households are paid a so-called feed-in tariff for surplus energy they export
to the grid. While customers would love to get paid for every bit of energy
they’re able to export to the wider grid, operators have imposed a fixed or
“static” limit on how much energy each household can export. This helps keep
network voltages – or electric pressure – within a safe range.
The limits are needed because of uncertainty about the impacts on the network
of fluctuations in households’ energy use and exports.
The network is connected to households via “low voltage” transformers that
reduce the voltage to a level customers can use. The uncertainty arises because
operators can see what’s happening at each transformer, but not what’s
happening in each household.
We are working on a data-monitoring project to enable network operators to see
household voltage and current data in real time. The idea is to enable them to
manage network voltage fluctuations more precisely.
This could allow households to safely export more solar, depending on local
network conditions. People would arguably receive more money while speeding up
the transition to zero-emissions electricity by providing more renewable energy
to the network."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics