The Central Electricity Authority and Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) are to formulate the necessary standards and regulations for wind-solar PV hybrid projects, such as the metering methodology and standards, forecasting and scheduling regulations, the renewable energy certificates (RECs) mechanism, grant of connectivity and sharing of transmission lines and more.
The $555,000 project brings together energy retailers, councils, community energy agencies and social welfare organisation and the NSW Government to examine the viability of a solar garden in five potential locations - Blacktown in western Sydney, Swan Hill in northwest Victoria, Townsville in North Queensland, Shoalhaven and Byron Bay in New South Wales.
Solar gardens are centralised solar arrays, established so that community members can buy or lease PV panels, and then credit the electricity they generate to their home power bill.
"Almost a third of Australians are unable to put solar on their roofs because they are renting, live in apartments or live in low income housing".
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht noted that showcasing how renewables can stabilise grids can help set the stage for more renewables to enter the country's energy mix.
As we reported here on One Step, the problem of how to unlock solar for renters and residents of apartment buildings and other shared accommodation remains a major barrier to true solar democracy in Australia, where rooftop PV has otherwise been such a success story.
"We're excited to be supporting the feasibility into a concept that will allow people from all backgrounds and living circumstances to benefit from renewable energy", he said.
In the United States, solar gardens are the fastest-growing segment in the solar industry, contributing 200 megawatts of new capacity in 2016. "Solar gardens give consumers the benefits of rooftop solar, even if you don't have a roof available to put it on".
"These trials will help renters, and people in apartments and low-income households who are now missing out on the benefits of rooftop solar to share in the renewable energy boom now underway in [NSW]", he said.
"These trials will help renters, and people in apartments and low-income households who are now missing out on the benefits of rooftop solar to share in the renewable energy boom now underway in [NSW]".