Press release issued 5 May 2021
solarZero, NZ’s leading solar energy company announced today that their fleet of over three thousand five hundred batteries have been added into the Transpower demand response programme.
solarZero’s battery fleet, which form part of the solarZero system installed on customers’ homes, have the potential to provide up to 10MW of power to offset demand from the grid over a short period, providing support for Transpower’s network management.
The power made available from solarZero’s fleet of batteries perform as a Virtual Power Plant - part of the global movement to incorporate distributed energy resources and innovation that is a featured solution in Transpower’s report Whakamana i Te Mauri Hiko - Empowering our Energy Future1. Demand response initiatives are identified as one tool that will help New Zealand’s transition to a cleaner, low carbon energy future.
“Over the past two and a half years we have been creating a virtual power plant, connecting thousands of Kiwi households to solarZero. The successful enrollment of over three thousand batteries within Transpower’s Demand Response Programme shows that this virtual power plant is now reaching scale to provide significant power system support,” says Neil Cowie, CEO, solarZero.
Demand response concerns reducing or flexing demand on the National Grid and wholesale electricity market, to help balance the system during outages (planned or unplanned).
Currently, the automated control of hot water cylinders by local lines companies is used to balance the electricity system, by changing the supply of electricity as demand changes. New and emerging technology, known as Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), means that many more consumers can be enabled to provide support to the National Grid providing a lower-cost alternative to transmission investment.
“We are very pleased to enrol the distributed batteries from solarZero’s fleet into the demand response programme,” says Michael Richardson, Demand Response Programme Manager, Transpower. “As we identified in Whakamana i Te Mauri Hiko, distributed energy resources will be an important part of the power system of the future. Adding these batteries to the demand response programme is a step towards this future being realised.”
Globally, power system managers are starting to understand how distributed energy resources – solar, batteries and smart control – can be managed as a virtual power plant. “The great thing about solar, batteries and smart control is that they can provide a range of services to the power system at different scales,” says Mr Cowie. “They can support the power system at the national level as well as the local level, the street level, and right down to the household level.”
“Three and a half thousand batteries is just a start. As our customer numbers continue to grow, we look forward to adding thousands more batteries to Transpower’s Demand Response Programme in the coming years, as well as supporting the power system at the national and local level, to help create the power system of the future, says Mr Cowie.
1 - Transpower’s Whakamana i Te Mauri Hiko - Empowering our Energy Future report March 2020 https://www.transpower.co.nz/resources/whakamana-i-te-mauri-hiko-empowering-our-energy-future
For more information contact:
Angela Hayes, Senior Communications Specialist, solarZero
Mobile: 021 575 631
Rachael Drummond, Senior Corporate Communications Advisor
Transpower New Zealand Ltd
Mobile: 021 394 803
More about solarZero
With its origins in solar water heating innovation in the 1970s, solarZero has installed more solar systems on Kiwi homes and businesses than any other company. It was the first solar company in the world to achieve Toitū carbonzero certification and has held this green credential for 11 years running.
solarZero is one of the fastest growing green companies in New Zealand. solarZero’s investors include Sir Stephen Tindall’s K1W1 investment fund, Pencarrow and ACC. An award-winning financing mechanism developed by solarZero and Westpac NZ, now bolstered with New Zealand Green Investment Finance’s mezzanine finance, locks in a fixed, low cost, inflation-free price for solar energy over a 20 year term, which removes any and all technology risk for households.
More about Transpower’s Demand Response Programme
Transpower owns and operates the National Grid – or high voltage transmission network – that carries electricity around the country. This network includes over 12,000 km of transmission lines and more than 170 substations.