Energy insiders know that the energy industry is going through a transformation. New renewable energy technology and digital management platforms are creating a new system for generating and sharing energy, transitioning away from the fossil-fuel power plants and their centralised distribution model. The growth in solar and other renewable energy options is laying down the foundations for a decentralised energy network where energy consumers can be in control.
Energy sharing initiatives are also on the rise. Driven by the need to decrease power costs, a growing number of households and businesses are already generating their own energy — via rooftop solar systems — and at times are producing more than they require. Large retailers are introducing demand response programs that enable local energy generators (Virtual Power Plants) to financially benefit from their excess power.
If you are an energy insider, we have created a comprehensive paper to help you transition to the decentralised energy future
From a traditional energy consumer to capitalising on excess energy — where are you on the energy transformation journey?
Most energy users – whether households or businesses – have a simple and passive approach to their energy use. They receive regular bills, often with an ever-increasing cost. Occasionally switching providers to attempt to reduce costs, however, consumption remains the same.
If you can relate, consider investing in an energy management system to help you understand how and when you use electricity and pinpoint energy-hungry appliances.
On average, electric hot water systems represent up to 30% of a household’s energy bill, it’s like a kettle that keeps on boiling. An energy management system - such as carbonTRACK - allows users to schedule hot water systems to switch off when they aren’t needed and pre-heat using low tariffs or excess solar energy. Users can also schedule their pool pump to run during low tariff windows.
If you understand that you have been living in the dark to save energy and are ready to be doing things better, continue to Stage 2.
Investing in a solar power system is the best step forward to energy-cost-freedom. By doing so, you have become an energy generator!
If you’re ready to invest in a solar system, it is important to do your homework. Make sure you look for an installer with a proven track record and sound customer reviews. Often government bodies or industry associations can simplify the process, for example, some of the solar rebates available in Australia today are limited to solar companies accredited by the Clean Energy Council.
Speak to your solar provider about including an energy management system with your solution and ensure that it includes system management and control capabilities. More on that below.
Solar energy is best used when it is produced. Most solar systems will show you the energy being generated in near real-time. Unless there is someone present to switch on appliances when the sun is shining, chances are that a significant proportion of the energy that is being generated is going to waste. To compound the problem, solar exports are often limited and the prices paid by network managers are on the decline.
Control of your energy ecosystem – including the solar generation and the appliances that can use it - is the key to maximising the value of your solar investment. The right energy management solution will enable you to schedule your appliances to utilise the solar energy you generate.
This can be as simple as switching your pool pump remotely or setting your preferences and letting the system switch appliances on and off in line with your priorities.
Battery prices may be declining but a solar storage solution is still a considerable investment – often outweighing the original price of the solar solution. If you don’t need a battery to support an ‘off-grid’ lifestyle, the decision to purchase one is to become an energy island in the case of an energy event such as a grid outage. But a battery alone may not be the solution, so ensure that you have as automatic transfer switch or an energy management system that can allow this.
An energy storage investment may make sense if you have already optimised your solar generation and would like to further reduce your reliance on the grid – particularly if you’re bound by particularly high Time of Use (ToU) grid access rates during certain periods.
It may be even more compelling for a business that experiences peak demand energy rates to invest in storage. A fully controlled energy ecosystem that includes solar, battery storage, and an advanced energy control capability can help you avoid these penalties.
Speak to your solar provider or energy consultant to help you understand the potential battery ROI.
With every new residential or commercial solar installation, a new energy generator is entering the market. With an increasing volume of energy being produced locally, energy sharing initiatives – amongst neighbours, businesses, and the community - are also on the rise.
These initiatives may be run by solar service providers, energy retailers, or councils, and are usually described as microgrids, embedded networks, or virtual power plants. While most are not yet mainstream, there are pockets of energy innovation sprouting up every day. Many are doing so using carbonTRACK technology
Home and businesses equipped with solar, batteries, and the right energy management solutions are ready to participate in the energy sharing future.
If you’d like to explore this today, look for an energy retailer offering demand response programs where they reward energy consumers who reduce their usage during times of peak demand. This is available to many consumers today.
The transformation taking place in the energy industry is bringing positive change for energy consumers. Affordable solar, storage, and energy management capabilities are turning traditional energy consumers into energy generators and putting them in control.
If you need help in starting or progressing your energy transformation journey, speak with your solar provider, energy consultant, or contact us and we can put you in touch with one in your area.