Horizon Power and LandCorp have joined forces to deliver Smart Sun - a solar-powered microgrid providing renewable energy to eligible homes in LandCorp’s Warranyjarri Estate at Broome North.
This innovative pilot program will empower participating households to significantly reduce their electricity bills by maximising the amount of solar power energy their home appliances consume. It will also allow us to study the integration of high levels of energy from household solar PV technology into electricity networks, specifically the impacts on grid stability and peak demand.
The project has the potential to reduce the level of high-cost electricity infrastructure which is traditionally required for new developments and reduce household power bills significantly.
The study will take place in Stage 10 of Waranyjarri Estate, which already features an embedded microgrid network – making it an ideal location.
WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE?
The below video best summarises the challenges faced by Broome.
In short power networks were traditionally designed for one-way power supply – from the power station to the home. Introducing new technologies such as solar PV systems means the supply can be two-way – from the grid to the home and from the home to the grid.
This change comes with some challenges. For example, on a very sunny day there may be a significant amount of power being sent back into the system from homes. In large volumes, the excess power can cause the system to ‘trip off’, leading to power outages.
Conversely, overcast conditions may mean the solar PVs cannot produce enough power for the home’s needs and the power station has to suddenly increase its power supply, which can also cause power outages.
Voltage fluctuations and other issues can also impact on network power supply. As a result, the number of rooftop solar PV systems is currently capped in many regional towns, including Broome.
Horizon Power and LandCorp are seeking a sustainable solution to reduce the level of high-cost electricity infrastructure in housing estates, increase the amount of solar PV systems and help homeowners reduce their cost of living. The Smart Sun pilot is one of the iniatives being investigated to enable a sustainable future.
HOW WILL IT WORK?
Residents taking part in the study will purchase a Smart Sun package for a heavily-discounted fixed price of $5,000, which includes installation.
The package, which would normally retail for between $20,000 to $35,000, includes installation and manufacturer’s warranty covering the use of all participating household appliances.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE SMART SUN PACKAGE?
The Smart Sun package includes: / Solar PV panels – generate ‘environmentally friendlyâ€™ electricity. / Solar PV inverter – converts the energy from the solar panels into electricity for household use. / Sonnen battery – stores excess electricity generated by the solar panels for use during the times the solar panels cannot produce enough immediate electricity. / Energy management system – maximises the use of solar-generated electricity and minimises the use of purchased electricity from the grid. It also manages energy hungry appliances, such as air conditioners and pool pumps, to minimise energy consumption while maintaining performance. / Hot Water Heat pump (subject to assessment) – The Stiebel Eltron heat pump is an energy efficient method of heating water that has been designed for the harsh conditions of WA. It also has a special feature where excess solar power can be used to increase the temperature of the water so less power is needed from the grid.
Please note the exact content of the package will depend on the nature of existing equipment that may already be located in the participating home.
CAN I GET THE SMART SUN PACKAGE INSTALLED FOR MY HOME?
Smart Sun is a pilot study with limited roll out. For the purposes of the trial, packages will only be available to six eligible established homes and six eligible future homes in Stage 10 of Waranyjarri Estate.
All applicants will need to pass a technical assessment. This assessment is designed to determine whether your home, or home design, and selected appliances are suitable for the purposes of the Smart Sun pilot.
You must be the owner of the home to sign-up for the Smart Sun pilot. If you use, or intend to use, the home as a rental property, your tenants must also agree to participate in the Smart Sun pilot prior to installation. You and your tenants may also be subject to some specific requirements - these can be discussed in more detail with Horizon Power.
After the initial technical assessment, the packages will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
If you are a homeowner within Stage 10 and are interested in taking part in the pilot we recommend you email Horizon Power at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (08) 9192 9900 to register your interest by 23 October 2017.
WHAT IF I ALREADY HAVE SOME ELEMENTS OF THE PACKAGE AT MY HOME?
Upon acceptance into the Smart Sun pilot, Horizon Power will review your unique home requirements. The Smart Sun package is a fixed price of $5,000 regardless of the elements required for your home.
WILL I SAVE MONEY ON MY POWER BILLS?
In a nutshell – yes. While you will still have to purchase some electricity from the grid, the Smart Sun Solution is designed to minimise the variable cost of your electricity bill. Modelling estimates suggest a saving of up to 70 per cent or around $1,500 - $1,800 per year when compared to the ‘average’ residential home power bill in Broome North.
Further to this, recent research indicates that a Broome North home consumes 24 per cent1 less energy than homes in other parts of Broome. This represents a further saving of around $700-$800 per year and is largely attributed to estate and home design requirements set out by the estate design guidelines.
So, if you are building or already live in a home at Waranyjarri Estate with a Smart Sun package you could expect to save approximately $2,500 per year, compared to a ‘standard’ home in other parts of Broome. That means the savings from the Smart Sun package are likely to have covered your initial investment of $5,000 within two years.
HOW WILL THE TRIAL IMPACT ON OUR DAILY LIFE?
Will any of the Smart Sun package component parts be installed in my home?
The Sonnen battery will be installed inside the home to protect it from the elements and support its optimum performance. The slimline battery is designed for internal installation. In existing homes the battery can be easily located in the laundry, hall or pantry. The dimension of the battery is W/H/D – 66/180/36 (cm).
How will I be impacted in my daily life?
The Smart Sun package, in particular the energy management system, will help you optimise your household’s electricity use. The package includes an app which allows you to monitor your electricity consumption and how much energy you are getting from Solar and the Battery. In addition, it allows you to control up to three Smart Sockets which can be used to switch appliances on and off via an app. Your hot water, air conditioner and pool pump will be optimised to ensure that the maximum amount of power consumed is provided by your Solar. This will enable you to maximise the amount of self-generated electricity while also reducing your impact on the electricity grid.
You will need to ensure that your home has a valid and active internet connection, including wifi connectivity, for the duration of the Smart Sun pilot.
Should I change the way I use my appliances?
We understand that given your energy bill may be significantly less it may be tempting to leave your air conditioner on at all times. However, to ensure the data collected in the trial can be compared with ‘regular’ household energy consumption we ask that you use your appliances as per normal.
Do I need to replace any appliances to take part in the trial?
Your unique requirements will be reviewed when you are accepted into the pilot. It is not anticipated you will need to replace any appliances to take part in the trial, but this will be confirmed following a technical assessment of your home and its appliances.
Will there be any conditions imposed upon me?
Yes, you will be required to enter into a customer contract in order to be able to participate in the trial.
This is a research program that will rely on the collection of electricity-related data. The data will inform decisions on how to best supply future electricity customers with sustainable, affordable electricity - collection and use of data will be covered in the customer contract.
The package components will belong to you upon their installation. However the battery will belong to Horizon Power until the pilot finishes in late 2019, after which it will be handed over to the home owner.
If you sell the property before the end of the Smart Sun pilot, you will be required to pass the rights under the agreement with Horizon Power to the future owner. If the future home owner does not agree to participate in the Smart Sun pilot, then the agreement is terminated and Horizon Power or its contractor, is allowed to access your home to remove the Smart Sun Solution battery.
If the property is a rental and there is a change in tenant you are encouraged to inform Horizon Power at email@example.com as the power use may change and impact the research findings. Continuing the trial may depend on the new tenant. However, if participation in the trial is terminated early, Horizon Power or its contractor is allowed to access your home to remove the Smart Sun Solor Solution battery.
WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE RESEARCH?
Who is providing the package and conducting the research?
The partners supplying the Smart Sun package are Horizon Power and LandCorp. A leading Australian research institute will analyse the data gathered from the homes during the pilot period (expected to be October 2017 - December 2019).
What data or information will be collected during the trial and how will it be used?
Data will be collected via the processing unit in each Smart Sun package. This data informs Horizon Power about how each homeowner consumes energy. All data is de-personalised so the unique data from your home will not be identifiable.
Can I choose what battery and/or smart appliance will be installed in my house?
Products used will be selected from those nominated by Horizon Power. Horizon Power has comprehensively researched and sourced a market-leading package to ensure optimal performance and reliability in Broome’s harsh conditions.
How confident can I be that quality of supply will be maintained after installation of the Smart Sun package?
During the wet season in Broome, solar output will be lower, requiring careful demand management by home owners to maximise utilisation and savings of the renewable energy generated in the home. In the event the renewable energy supply is exhausted, normal grid purchased electricity supply from the Horizon Power network will be used.
INSTALLATION AND OPERATION
How long will it take to install the Smart Sun package?
It is anticipated installation will take place across three days. The approved installer will assess and discuss with you how you will be impacted by the installation. In most cases it will require power to be switched off for approximately 30 minutes. The maximum period for power loss is half a day.
How do I get started post installation?
After installation, Horizon Power will provide a formal operation and system management induction along with an information pack. This will take approximately 30 minutes. During the pilot period Horizon Power’s customer services team will be available for ongoing operational support. There may also be a need for adhoc system maintenance during the pilot period, at which time Horizon Power, or its contractor, will need to access your property.
How can I be confident the storage battery, solar panels, and other related products will meet projected operational lifespan and performance?
All products have been selected following a rigorous review of quality and proven performance by industry experts within Horizon Power. All products selected for installation have market leading warranties and meet Australian Standards, for example: • Batteries – 10 years. • Solar panels – modules are warranted for 90 per cent of their rated output for 10 years, 80 per cent of their rated output for 25 years.
Is there any safety risk to be considered with the Smart Sun Solution installation?
Installation does not increase or decrease the risk to the customer from the traditional network supply of electricty from Horizon Power. Pilot participants will need to become familiar with the basic operations of the Smart Sun package by participation in the Horizon Power handover induction and reading related reference material, for example, the appliance manuals provided.
What controls will be in place to ensure installation of the solar package meets all safety requirements?
Construction and electrical installations will be carried out by qualified tradespersons working to relevant Australian industry standards. As an added level of assurance, the Smart Sun installation works will be supervised by a qualified Building Supervisor/Contract Manager.
Once the trial ends can I continue using the system or will I need to convert back to full grid-only power supply?
Once you have completed the mandatory pilot period, the ownership of the full Smart Sun package (including battery) transfers to the home owner.
Unless the home owner chooses to disconnect or remove the package, the system will continue to operate as it performed during the pilot. Your home is still connected to mains power.
Given the package will provide significant power savings and add value to your property, it is anticipated users will continue using the package well after the pilot period ends.
My home is not in the pilot area (stage 10 of Waranyjarri Estate, Broome North). Can I purchase the package at market rate and have it installed in my home?
No, currently hosting capacity is exhausted in Broome and additional PV installations are unlikely to be approved. This pilot and other technology pilots that Horizon Power is running should help inform a solution to release more hosting capacity in the future.
* $2,500 per year saving estimation is based on Horizon Power power consumption research. Actual savings depend on your unique usage profile.
The package installation cost is determined by home design, the current or potential appliances included in the package and professional installation costs.
Standard inclusions for the package are; - Solar PV panels - Solar PV inverter - Sonnen Battery - Energy Management System
The requirement for a hot water heat pump and/or smart pool pump will be reviewed by Horizon Power based on your unique requirements.
1 - The calculation of energy savings for Waranyjarri Estate, Broome North homes is based on a Horizon Power sample of 30 single residential homes in ‘old’ Broome and 25 single residential homes in Waranyjarri Estate, Broome North. Actual savings depend on usage profile.