A unique project and partnership between IKEA, Planet Ark Power and Epic Energy, and with support from SA Power Networks and the South Australian Government, it was necessary to implement best practice project management for a successful rollout.
Key challenges of this project were to maximise solar generation and to guarantee the financial viability of the project.
Due to network constraints, SA Power Networks (SAPN) initially approved a 640 kW solar PV system. However, this was inadequate to meet financial viability and energy needs of a busy retail site. To accommodate more solar, SAPN required dedicated amounts of VARs to be injected into the grid and the eleXsys Energy Management System was central to solving the issue.
The eleXsys units operate as VAR compensators to generate reactive power which assists with grid voltage regulation and reduces the need for expensive capacitor banks. eleXsys units operate in the absence of active input power and can provide grid services under low light or night-time conditions.
With the eleXsys Energy Management System it was possible to increase the solar system to 1.2 MW, and to utilise all available roof space, and improving the financial return for the investors. A secondary benefit was that eleXsys units eliminated grid-imposed curtailment of solar generation, maximising solar generation output, and earning an income stream from selling surplus energy to the grid.
The $6.6m, 1.2 MW rooftop solar installation and on-site 3 MW / 3.3 MWh battery, controlled by the eleXsys Energy Management System optimises energy generation, circumvents solar curtailment and expensive network upgrades.
Investors in the IKEA microgrid achieve an attractive return on investment by being able to participate in the Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS) and spot market trading. The site also benefits the South Australian community by providing grid forming services to the electricity network.
Launched in October 2020 the IKEA microgrid was designed as an investment vehicle by the project investor with an attractive return on investment, the business owner benefits by lower energy costs, whilst the network operator avoided expensive network upgrades.
It also represents a significant step forward for IKEA in meeting its goal to be carbon neutral by 2030, and with expansion plans for a solar carpark and EV charging network – IKEA Adelaide aims to achieve 100% powered by on-site clean energy.
890 tonnes CO2e Savings p.a.
1.2 MW System Capacity
70% Annual Savings
Reduction in power cost