Bright thinking on rooftop solar could help businesses and the NEM

Epho

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has today announced $497,000 in funding for Epho Pty Ltd to develop an innovative solution to dynamically distribute the energy output of a solar PV system between a building tenant and the network at wholesale electricity prices.

Epho’s project will design and develop a 1.7 MW rooftop industrial solar PV system to demonstrate their ‘Bright Thinkers Power Station’ concept. The concept differs from traditional conventional rooftop solar PV systems in its ability to direct solar energy either partially or fully to the consumer on site, or directly trade the energy on the National Electricity Market.

Epho has partnered with the global market leader for contract logistics solutions and global property company Goodman Group to deliver the project at Oakdale Industrial Estate in Horsley Park, New South Wales.

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The switching technology is being developed by Epho in collaboration with its technology partner, Siemens Corporation, in order to meet the requirements of property companies and their large corporate tenants.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said if successful, Epho’s project would allow energy output from rooftop solar to be split or switched between the building and the grid.

“The project will unlock further investment and installation of solar PV on the entire usable roof space of commercial and industrial buildings. This compares to the present practice where current rooftop solar PV systems are constrained in size to align with tenant demand,” Mr Miller said.

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“ARENA supports the companies and institutions that are building our future energy system and this unique take on rooftop solar will help ensure that we are furthering our priority in integrating renewable electricity into the grid.”

Epho Managing Director Dr Oliver Hartley said: “Epho developed the Bright Thinkers Power Station concept to allow large rooftop solar systems to be connected both behind-the-meter as well as an independent, market registered power station. Epho’s innovation allows the entire roof area to be utilised, turning the roof into an urban power station.”