Watch a short overview of the project here.
The two year trial saw rooftop solar and storage batteries installed in a number of homes across Wellington. The aim is to assess whether households on this platform can be used to manage the breakfast and dinner electricity demand peaks by switching them from grid power to battery power in times of need.
One of the features of the system is that customers can view and manage their energy use in real time using a mobile phone app, choosing when to use, store, or sell electricity back into the grid.
At full scale, this potentially represents tens of thousands of customers actively managing their energy use, providing a smart alternative to the traditional means of coping with demand peaks, namely building more electricity infrastructure.
The ability for the electricity industry and consumers to flexibly manage how and when electricity is consumed will become increasingly important as electric vehicles gain greater penetration in New Zealand.
What Contact and Wellington Electricity want to achieve is a managed approach, where people charge their EVs outside of the morning and evening peaks, thereby smoothing demand over the full 24 hour day. Key to achieving this will be to give people seamless options around how they behave at these times, and smart platforms like Contact’s solar and battery project enable this.
Wellington City Council is also involved in the trial to assess the additional resilience these systems can provide to communities by creating a back-up power supply when the electricity grid suffers an outage, an important issue in natural disasters. All-in-all its smart thinking from smart energy companies.