An islanding solar project reliant on battery backup is about to undergo a two-year test. Conergy (a well-known solar company), along with Origin Energy, BHP Billiton, Ergon Energy, and Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARNEA), just established a Knowledge Sharing Project to bypass renewable energy setbacks.
These companies will monitor a $42.5 million Lakeland solar project in North Queensland. Executives like Frank Calabria from Origin Energy reckon that by creating agreements with other companies, investors can put faith in similar projects.
The Lakeland project, set to be finished by April 2017, is expected to power an estimated 3000 homes. It is composed of 41,400 solar panels backed up by a 5.3-megawatt-hour battery. This will attempt to store the energy while it is being provided. Islanding is when a place such as a solar farm can continue to be powered even if access to the grid is cut off. It’s like a backup.
Current solar farms deliver power but are subject to changes caused by power outages and current demands from the grid.
The Knowledge Sharing Project establishes a way to communicate data. Graham Winkelman from BHP Billiton will benefit from the information sharing, being that mine sites currently rely on diesel and could be improved upon by reducing emissions.
An assessment of operational data will reveal how the plant and battery function in relation to the electricity grid. Evidently, the project will be subjected to the types of conditions present during mining projects as well.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht explains, “We know that battery storage will play a critical role in our future energy systems. The benefit of adding batteries to solar farms is simple; they store energy from the sun for use at peak times and overnight. They can also smooth solar energy output on cloudy days.”