Queensland utility Ergon Energy Queensland has secured funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena) for a $2.6m project to develop ways to provide solar PV and battery storage systems to residential customers.

Arena CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the project, which is a result of growing demand for battery storage systems, is expected to accelerate the use of renewable energy.

The project involves 12-month testing of a virtual power plant model featuring 33 systems consisting of a 4.9kW SunPower PV array and a 12kWh/5kW Sunverge battery storage and control system in Cannonvale, Toowoomba and Townsville, Queensland.

The company will test the new model using the centrally monitored and controlled solar/storage systems.

Arena said that the coordination between the systems will be determined in order to add value to the network by managing the renewable energy supply into the grid, performing demand management and reducing network peak load.

The company will also assess and test the customer and technology requirements of the business model and also address implementation issues.

Frischknecht said: "This will increase the understanding of how residential solar and storage can effectively increase the adoption of renewable energy in the National Electricity Market.

"Ergon Energy Retail will also explore how its solar PV and battery storage systems can achieve the greatest value on the grid, with a view to proceeding to a commercialisation phase and product launch."

Arena expects the new model to provide renewable energy benefit for Australian consumers, businesses and utilities should the trial result in positive potential viability.