Enabling the Immediate Transition to Distributed Renewable Energy Networks

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 Challenge of the One-Way Energy Grid

Planet Ark Power believes that covering urban rooftops with solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, augmented by batteries, is the fastest, most effective route to create a clean energy world, requiring the least disruption and at the least cost to our economies. However:­

  • Voltage volatility caused by surplus rooftop solar energy feeding into low voltage networks causes grid instability. ­
  • Grid instability leads to expensive capital upgrades with costs passed to the consumer as higher power prices.­
  • Grid operators impose “Zero Export” of surplus rooftop solar energy to keep voltages within statutory limits.
  • Australia is the first country to face this challenge, which will affect nations worldwide.

These restrictions severely reduce the amount of rooftop solar that is economically viable to install and significantly reduce the benefits of installing VPP batteries.

Understanding Voltage Volatility

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

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 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.

eleXsys®: The Alternative Grid Upgrade Solution

Planet Ark Power’s engineering research and development team, drawing on a combined 150 years of energy utility experience, has invented eleXsys®. This world-leading technology controls voltage volatility at the source i.e. from behind the meter, fortifying the grid to ensure safe and reliable electricity for all consumers.

Planet Ark Power’s proprietary eleXsys® technology is a dynamic voltage management system that enables up to a 1,300 % increase in the capacity of networks to accept and distribute exported rooftop solar energy. Combining a miniaturised, hi-tech distribution STATCOM device with dynamic machine learning control software, eleXsys® is a robust and compact system that optimises the stability and integrity of energy grids. This significantly improves both grid utilisation and grid return on equity.

By removing the barriers that have held back commercial, industrial and institutional organisations from optimising investment in large-scale rooftop solar, eleXsys® has created the world’s first fully functioning two-way clean energy grids. Over time, this will enable the adoption of transformational clean energy deployment models such as community micro-grids, virtual power plants and verified peer-to-peer energy trading to emerge and evolve.

eleXsys® : Voltage Stability at No Cost to the Grid or Taxpayer

Our revolutionary eleXsys® technology delivers:

  • 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 Boom in Commercial, Industrial and Institutional Solar Investment

Since 2017, Planet Ark Power has been helping organisations achieve brilliant outcomes for their business and the environment. eleXsys® has been installed at numerous sites across Australia, some with between 5 and 10 football fields of rooftop solar (1.5 to 3 MW) combined with Virtual Power Plant (VPP) batteries (up to 3 MWh).

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 and societal benefits are clear:

  • Increased energy savings by filling the entire roof with solar, which also allows more efficient utilisation of grid assets.
  • Instead of variable solar export, eleXsys® delivers a consistent and forecastable income stream so the investment can be financed over 20+ years.
  • Turning energy cost centres into potential revenue streams for commercial, industrial and institutional building owners.

Review our inspiring eleXsys® case studies here

eleXsys®: Cheaper, Cleaner Energy for All Users

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. The grid death spiral unfairly burdens 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.

eleXsys® 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. Benefits include:

  • Cost effective fixing of voltage grid volatility caused by excess rooftop solar.
  • Eliminating increases in electricity prices to pay for grid upgrades driven by emerging distributed energy networks.
  • Making off-grid clean energy significantly cheaper across residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

Who Is Planet Ark Power?

We are a leading Australian renewable energy and engineering company. Founded in 2014 as GoZERO Energy, we partnered with one of Australia’s most trusted environmental organisations, Planet Ark™, to create Planet Ark Power in 2017. In 2019, with the celebrated launch of our revolutionary technology, eleXsys®, GoZERO Energy took on this name to become eleXsys Energy.

We are proud to be recognised as pioneers in the global energy transition movement by our nomination for many awards including as one of 15 innovative companies at the international Start Up Energy Transition Awards 2019 presented by the German Energy Agency (dena) in cooperation with the World Energy Council.

Read more about our awards and institutional support funding here.