Paragon and New England Solar Power have developed an innovative energy supply architecture. Households will be largely autonomous for electrical energy, empowered by utilising Solar PV and energy storage, while retaining a traditional grid supply for periods of inclement weather. The solar community will also be able to share excess energy as local energy trades at better than market rates between households, in addition to earning credits for clean energy exported to the wider grid.
The community will have a 200kW transformer installed on site, connected to the Essential Energy High Voltage distribution network, supplying a central Main Switchboard and ‘Gateway’ smart-metering point. Each household will be supplied via Low Voltage underground sub-mains to supply pillars, located on community land adjacent to each house lot. An Embedded Network is created behind the Gateway meter, enabling local energy flows between households.
The Lingerwood Community entity will contract with a solar friendly Electricity Retailer in the National Electricity Market (NEM) to supply the Gateway with energy as needed, and credits for exported clean energy.
Each of the 10 houses will install a Solar PV and Energy Storage System, appropriately sized for the anticipated household energy demand. There will be no limit to the PV array or energy storage capacity. The aim is for households to be largely autonomous in average weather conditions, but reliant on the embedded network and the wider Grid for energy in periods of inclement weather.
Solar PV and Energy Storage Systems will be designed and programmed to suit individual household needs, with a choice of energy management and storage technologies as appropriate. Some systems may have the capacity to deliver back-up supply to essential circuits in the event of a wider grid outage or ‘blackout’.
The Lingerwood Community entity will apply to the Australian Energy Regulator for a retailer exemption, allowing them to function as the Embedded Network Operator, accounting for energy transactions of the Community members and billing accordingly. To facilitate the energy accounting, in addition to the Gateway meter connecting to the wider grid, each house will have a remotely read, utility grade smart-meter installed.
The 11 smart meters will capture the energy flows and the data will be supplied to the Embedded Network Operator for billing purposes. This data will be recorded and reconciled by the Embedded Network Operator, and bills issued to each of the households on a monthly or quarterly basis.
When a household has an excess of energy and is exporting to the embedded network, another household may purchase that energy. The exporting household will be able to receive a credit for the energy exported from their household at a higher rate than typically received from Electricity Retailers that operate in the NEM. The importing household may purchase the energy from their neighbour at a lower rate than typically supplied by Electricity Retailers in the NEM. The Embedded Network Operator may charge a small fee for the local energy transfer.
If a household exports to the embedded network and no other households purchase the energy, the energy will flow out to the ‘Gateway’ meter and out to the wider Grid, the Embedded Network Operator receiving a credit from the NEM Electricity Retailer. This credit will be passed on to the households that exported energy.
If the Embedded Network as a whole consumes energy from the Gateway meter the energy charges will be proportionally assigned to the households responsible for consumption from the Embedded Network over that billing period.