Increasing energy prices, low feed-in tariffs and high penetration of solar have made Australia and New Zealand the most attractive markets for global energy tech company Enphase to launch its new battery technology, combining solar generation, energy storage and energy control. The company has also entered into an agreement with South Australian electricity distribution network SA Power Networks to trial distributed residential energy storage.
Paul Nahi, chief executive and president of Enphase, said the dynamics of Australia and New Zealand’s residential solar markets made them the most storage-ready regions in the world.
“Homeowners in Australia and New Zealand want total control of their home’s energy because of the combination of electricity rates, high solar penetration and declining feed-in tariffs,” he said.
The Enphase “Home Energy Solution” includes a solar energy microinverter, a “communications gateway” that offers consumption monitoring, and a scalable AC battery, the introductory price of which will be $1150 AUD/kWh for the Australian market (though distribution and installation partners will determine the final retail price and installation costs).
Users also have access to a cloud-based platform to monitor solar generation, battery storage and consumption from any web-enabled device, and also allows interaction with smart home technology like Google Nest.
Enphase will also work with SA Power Networks, the sole operator and manager of South Australia’s distribution network, to conduct distributed residential energy storage trials.
South Australia already has a solar penetration of around 25 per cent, making it a good testing ground for increased battery storage.
“Enphase is delighted to be working with SA Power Networks for our inaugural trial with a large-scale utility provider in Australia,” Enphase storage product line director Greg Wolfson said. “As we prepare for the launch of the Enphase Home Energy Solution in Australia, these trials will help us gain insights into how energy storage can help utility providers improve their load management and develop business models for residential energy storage.”
Managing director for Enphase Energy Asia-Pacific Nathan Dunn said ensuring grid stability was a most significant issue regarding increasing solar penetration.
“The introduction of energy storage on the grid will provide greater stability, which is a win for both service providers and residential customers,” he said.
The Enphase AC battery is scheduled to be available in April-June 2016, while the microinverter, control and management products will be available in December 2015.
Tesla’s Powerwall battery system is due for release in Australia at the end of the year.