A commercial-scale, rooftop solar-powered microgrid launched today (May 24, 2023) at Adelaide’s IKEA store is already helping stabilise the South Australian electricity network, while freeing up enough electricity from the State’s electricity network to power 370 homes a year.
The IKEA eleXsys Microgrid consists of a rooftop network of 3,024 solar panels and a battery the size of three 40ft shipping containers.
Australia’s largest grid-connected urban microgrid was designed and built by leading provider of innovative solar, battery and microgrid solutions, Planet Ark Power, and will be owned and operated by Epic Energy.
The $6.6 million IKEA eleXsys Microgrid, officially commissioned today, can generate 1.2MW/1.2MWh of clean energy and is currently powering 70 per cent of the IKEA Adelaide store on sunshine.
Surplus clean energy stored in the microgrid’s 3MW/3.45MWh battery can be traded into the South Australian network during hours of peak demand, providing support to the state’s electricity network.
This unique microgrid is a collaboration between IKEA Australia, Planet Ark Power, Epic Energy, SA Power Networks, and the South Australian Government and will deliver 890 tonnes of CO2e savings each year.1
IKEA Australia Sustainability Lead Peter Richmond said IKEA Australia was thrilled to host the largest grid-connected commercial microgrid in the country at its Adelaide store.
Mr Richmond said the IKEA eleXsys Microgrid network would support the goal of 100 per cent renewable energy use by the Adelaide store by 2025 and generate more clean energy for the local community.
“IKEA is committed to becoming a circular and climate-positive business, but we can’t do it alone,” he said. “This microgrid project is the perfect example of collaboration between the business community, industry, and government to help shift the dial on clean energy production in Australia.”
The IKEA eleXsys Microgrid’s systems are managed by Planet Ark Power’s internationally award-winning eleXsys dynamic voltage control platform developed in Australia.
1 890 tonnes of CO2e savings/year are equivalent to the environmental benefit of 14,716 tree seedlings grown over a decade; not burning 452,203kgs of coal; and removing 200 petrol-powered passenger cars from the roads each year. Source: https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator#results
Planet Ark Power Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Ruddick said Planet Ark Power was proud to have helped transform IKEA Adelaide with an optimised, grid-connected, clean energy microgrid controlled by the eleXsys Energy Management System.
“The microgrid not only maximises clean energy generation in SA, but also avoids expensive network upgrades and provides grid support to the state’s electricity network, benefitting the wider South Australian community,” said Mr Ruddick.
“Further use of the eleXsys technology means being able to connect to up to 10 times more energy than solar technology and grid constraints currently allow.”
Clive D’Cruz, Chief Executive Officer of Epic Energy (one of Australia’s leading owners and operators of energy infrastructure across gas and renewable markets), said the solar facility was delivering approximately 70 per cent of the store’s energy needs.
Mr D’Cruz said the battery would time-shift solar energy, allowing the supply of clean energy into the national electricity market at peak times, while supporting grid stability and reliability through participation in Frequency Control Ancillary Services markets.
“Investing in Australia’s first of its type urban microgrid supports our offtake partner IKEA in achieving their climate-positive goals while benefiting the local community through supporting grid stability,” Mr D’Cruz said.
“Epic Energy will continue to invest in South Australia’s clean energy transition with infrastructure that delivers energy to customers where and when they need it.”
The project has received a $1.95m grant from the South Australian Government’s Renewable Technology Fund to help better manage the local network and improve the quality of power to nearby homes and businesses. The IKEA eleXsys Microgrid was recognised at the SA Premier’s 2022 Energy & Mining Awards, winning the Innovation and Collaboration category.
South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining Tom Koutsantonis said: “South Australia has led the nation in adopting solar, with more than 40 per cent of households now having a rooftop system. Increasing numbers of businesses are also realising that installing solar is a sensible investment.
“I encourage more companies to add a battery because doing so spreads the benefit of cheap solar to more hours of the day for the business. Batteries also help the system by absorbing excess solar and reducing demand from the grid in the evening peaks – which benefits everyone.”
Design work on the IKEA eleXsys Microgrid commenced in October 2020 with the grid officially commissioned from today.
ABC Radio Adelaide · Nikolai Beilharz & Stacey Lee · AM Radio
PV Magazine (Australia) · David Carroll · Internet · 26 May 2023 Epic Energy launches Australia’s largest commercial microgrid
One Step Off The Grid · Sophie Vorrath · Internet · 25 May 2023 Ikea launches “largest” urban commercial solar and battery microgrid
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