Pioneering Solutions for Global Energy Transition

Australia is a global leader in embracing residential solar solutions. We have reached the highest per capita rate of residential rooftop solar systems in the world. Being the world leader also means being the first to experience challenges from rooftop solar’s large-scale adoption.

The Problem with the One-way Energy Grid

Planet Ark Power believes that filling rooftops with solar PV systems, supported by batteries, is the best opportunity to create a clean energy world, at the least cost to our economies.

With 150 years of combined utility experience amongst our engineering team, we recognise that the one-way energy grid networks designed and built over the course of the 20th century will face challenges accommodating multidirectional energy distribution from multiple renewable energy generators such as solar PV systems.

Today, the high amounts of surplus solar energy flowing from rooftops back into the grid are creating voltage volatility across low voltage networks.

To maintain a safe and reliable electricity supply to all customers, energy networks have placed restrictions on the amount of rooftop solar that can be exported to the grid.

Understanding Voltage Volatility

While export restrictions help keep voltages within statutory limits, they also act as a disincentive for large-scale commercial, industrial and institutional building owners to invest in rooftop solar PV at scales beyond which is required to meet their on-site needs.

This means massive rooftops such as commercial warehouses are left underutilised.
Export restrictions also impede the growth of urban solar farms and reduce the benefits of installing virtual power plant batteries.

Upgrading the Grid: The Billion Dollar Solution?

In response to the increasing investment in clean energy generation across Australia, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has recommended an immediate investment of up to $650 million to upgrade the grid to accommodate the increased distributed energy resources required to meet expected future electricity demand (Integrated System Plan 2018).

While this massive expenditure would increase the energy networks’ capacity to manage more exported renewable energy, it would also significantly increase electricity prices for the end-consumer. With concerns about existing electricity prices already a major issue, this is definitely not the ideal solution.

There is another way – a smarter, less expensive solution.

Planet Ark Power’s Solution: Solving Voltage Volatility at No Cost to the Grid or Taxpayer

Planet Ark Power’s research and development team has invented world-leading technologies that control voltage volatility at the source i.e. from behind the meter, fortifying the grid to ensure safe and reliable electricity for all consumers.

Our technologies enable significant increases in the capacity of networks to accept and distribute exported rooftop solar energy. This enables the removal of the barriers that have held back commercial, industrial and institutional organisations from optimising investment in large-scale rooftop solar, creating the world’s first fully functioning Two-Way Clean Energy Grids. In turn, this will enable transformational clean energy innovations such as community micro-grids, virtual power plants and P2P energy trading to emerge and evolve.

Planet Ark Power’s eleXsys™

eleXsys™ allows for increases up to 13x the amount of rooftop solar that can be installed across electricity networks without expensive infrastructure upgrades.

Planet Ark Power’s proprietary technology – eleXsys™ – is a miniaturised hi-tech distribution STATCOM device combined with dynamic machine learning control software that can control voltage from behind the meter. The robust and compact device, optimises the stability and integrity of energy grids.

eleXsys™ can deliver:

  • Voltage management – Providing combinations of real and reactive power to keep voltages within a given range.
  • Generation capacity enhancement – Using either lagging or leading reactive power to raise or lower voltages as required.
  • Load and voltage balancing – Transferring real and reactive power between phases to ensure balanced supply functions.
  • Microgrid operation – Operating as a fast response balance between generation and load to stabilise microgrid operation.
  • Energy storage – Balancing load and generation at local level to optimise network utilisation.
  • Grid forming – Changing from current mode to voltage mode.
  • Network monitoring and visibility – Monitoring current and voltage measurement at the point of application.

eleXsys™: Spurring a Commercial, Industrial and Institutional Solar Boom

In 2017, it was reported that Planet Ark Power would spur the commercial and industrial solar boom in Queensland. True to predictions, our technology has helped organisations, such as our pilot project Llewellyn Motors in Ipswich achieve outcomes for their business and the environment.

By producing cheaper, clean energy where it’s needed instead of sourcing energy from distant, less efficient and land-hungry solar farms, Planet Ark Power enables the creation of efficient, cost-effective urban solar farms.

The commercial benefits are manifold:

  • Increases energy savings by filling the whole roof with solar and allowing more efficient utilisation of grid assets.
  • Eliminates inconsistent rooftop solar revenues by fixing voltage volatility and making large urban rooftop solar power stations financeable.
  • Turns energy cost centres into potential revenue streams for commercial, industrial and institutional building owners.

eleXsys™: Solving Social Inequities

eleXsys™ can also prevent the predicted social inequities arising from the emergence of the ‘grid death spiral’, caused by self-sufficient rooftop solar owners leaving the grid and no longer contributing to its operations and maintenance costs. This is unfair for energy users who do not have access to solar, as energy prices will likely rise to make up for revenue shortfalls and maintenance costs distributed across fewer users.

Our technology platform ensures a sustainable future for energy networks and cheaper, cleaner energy for all users, as the benefits of more rooftop solar flowing into the grid can be shared by all consumers:

  • Cost effectively fixes voltage grid volatility caused by excess rooftop solar.
  • Eliminates need to increase electricity prices to pay for grid CAPEX upgrades driven by emerging distributed energy networks.
  • Makes off-grid clean energy significantly cheaper across residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

eleXsys™: Enabling Clean Energy Innovations

Planet Ark Power’s eleXsys™ technology enables the creation of the world’s first fully functioning Two-Way Clean Energy Grid, which:

  • Makes VPP financing attractive as commercial VPP batteries become 100% effective (vs. 10-50%) and enabling replacement of expensive peaking power plants.
  • Facilitates Blockchain P2P trading.

We are proud to be recognised as pioneers in the global energy transition movement by our nomination as one of 15 innovative companies at the international Startup Energy Transition Awards 2019 (link to website) presented by the German Energy Agency (dena) in cooperation with the World Energy Council. Read more about it here (link to our news article).