The first solar panels have been lifted on to the rooftop of IKEA’s retail outlet in Adelaide as part of a major solar power + battery storage microgrid project at the site.
The 14,370 sq metre rooftop will host 1.2MW of solar power capacity, and a 3.4MWh battery system housed in three containers will be installed on-site. Another key element of the project is Planet Ark Power’s eleXsys Energy Management System (eEMS), which has been developed to dynamically manage network voltages and frequencies from behind the meter.
“It provides certainty to network operators like SA Power Networks that, as surplus energy is exported into the grid, voltages are kept within the range required to maintain network safety and security,” says Planet Ark Power.
The company says this also significantly reduces curtailment risks, which would result in lower returns on investment and increased payback periods.
IKEA will purchase electricity generated by the system through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with owner and operator of the microgrid, Epic Energy. The arrangement will initially cover 70% of IKEA Adelaide’s electricity needs and energy stored in the batteries will be sold into the electricity grid via FCAS (Frequency Control Ancillary Services) and spot market trading, plus provide grid forming services to SAPN.
The $6.6 million project has been supported by the South Australian Government, which has kicked in $1.95 million – a commitment made three years ago. Planet Ark Power’s Jonathan Ruddick says solar and storage has dropped in price to such a degree since that in addition to avoiding some of the costs with pioneering such a project, similar new microgrids could “stand on their own two feet” without the need for government financial support.