Newcastle Herald

Become your own 'virtual power plant' and trade energy with the grid

Become your own 'virtual power plant' and trade energy with the grid
Become your own 'virtual power plant' and trade energy with the grid

This is branded content for Teho.

Over 3 million Aussie homes now have their own roof top solar power.

An incredible achievement, Australia leads the world with homeowners installing their own solar systems thanks to our high prices of power coupled with our abundant sunshine.

Solar works by converting sunshine when it hits your solar panels into electricity for your home to use. The savings for consumers are driven by two key factors, self-consumption and feed-in tariffs.

Self-consumption is simply when a home uses the solar energy it generates instead of buying energy from the grid.

Feed-in tariffs are the credits you are given on your energy bill for any excess electricity your home doesn't use and is sent back into the grid for others to consume.

In recent years, due to the incredible uptake of solar there have been times when the grid is flooded with excess energy that isn't getting used. Think of the middle of a really sunny day when people aren't at home as much.

The problem is, you can't control when the sun shines so you can't control when solar is generating energy. The result is lowering feed-in tariffs due to decreased demand and less money in consumers' back pockets.

But there is a solution - home energy storage systems or what are more commonly known as solar batteries.

When you install a solar battery, any excess energy is stored in the battery until it is fully charged. If there is still excess energy generated during the day, it will be fed into the grid and you will be credited with a feed-in tariff on your next bill.

This means, when the sun goes down and your system isn't generating, you can use the energy you generated throughout the day from your very own home solar battery.

David Green from Teho, an Australian solar and battery company, has said consumers are making the switch for many of the benefits of a battery, not just protecting their savings.

"We are finding that while our customers are keen on protecting their savings, more and more people are driven by the benefits like blackout protection and gaining access to VPPs (virtual power plants)," David said.

"No one likes a blackout but when installed correctly, a home solar battery can mean the milk stays cold and the TV stays on.

"Then when you consider the value a consumer can get from joining a good VPP, it just makes sense to consider installing a battery."

VPPs give people with a home battery the ability to trade energy with the grid and each other in what becomes a "virtual power plant".

One home battery on it's own can't do much to support the grid but when you join hundreds or thousands of them together, the economics change.

When choosing the right battery, options like Tesla's Powerwall stand out. Powerwall gives consumers a much higher level of autonomy and incredible insight into how and when they are generating and consuming electricity.

In early 2021, Tesla announced that it had over 200,000 Powerwalls installed around the world.

"Many of our customers opt for Powerwall thanks to it's amazing charge times, whole home black-out protection and incredible app," David said.

When you consider the benefits of a solar battery and with solar's favourite season just around the corner, it makes sense to consider if a solar battery is right for you.