Sunverge and AGL to develop virtual 7 MWh virtual power plant in Australia

Written By: Stratton Report
August 5, 2016


On August 5, Sunverge Energy announced it is partnering with Australia energy retailer AGL and the federal government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency, to develop what the firm described as the world’s largest virtual power plant. Sunverge provides energy storage for residential and small commercial customers.

AGL Managing Director and CEO Andy Vesey noted:

“This project is the world’s largest, the first of its kind and an innovative solution to both help customers manage their energy bills and at the same time contribute to grid stability. This project is core to AGL’s strategy of being a manager of distributed energy resources. It also leverages our investment in Sunverge and helps us to continue to improve the digital customer experience.”

Per Sunverge, the VPP directs energy storage units to operate in unison to meet peak energy demand across an entire community or service area, helping consumers utilize either their own rooftop-generated solar or stored solar power during peak demand periods and reduce their power bills.

According to the company, when storage systems operate as part of a VPP they can achieve a stronger and more reliable power grid, with more efficient energy management and generate greater long-term cost-savings for their consumer-owners.

The AGL virtual power plant will be capable of storing 7 megawatt hours of energy, with an output equivalent to a 5-megawatt solar peaking plant.

In the project’s first phase, running until April 2017, the first 150 customers in metropolitan Adelaide will be eligible to purchase a discounted Sunverge SIS 5kW/7.7kWh energy storage system for AUD 3,500 ($2669) which includes hardware, software and installation.

For customers with sufficient excess solar generation, this is expected to result in a seven-year payback period. Consumers currently without solar will be able to purchase a solar system of the appropriate size for their needs with their battery.

Later phases will see an offering to narrower zones within metropolitan Adelaide where peak demand management and other network support services are needed.

The overall project cost is approximately AUD 20 million ($15.3 million), with ARENA providing conditional approval of AUD 5 million as part of its Advancing Renewables Program, which aims to support the penetration of renewables on the grid.

Ken Munson, co-founder and CEO of Sunverge Energy “The AGL and ARENA Virtual Power Plant is remarkable today, but in five years’ time large-scale VPPs will be everywhere,” said. “By helping to build a stronger, more efficient and more reliable grid, VPPs deliver tremendous value to utilities, their customers and the environment.”

Sunverge and AGL have partnered on storage installations in Australia since 2015, and earlier this year AGL became an investor in Sunverge.