On behalf of the Australian Government, ARENA has allocated $1.9 million to Horizon Power to trial a variety of behind-the-meter distributed energy systems in Carnarvon.

As part of a $7.1 million pilot project, Horizon will install a variety of distributed energy technologies in 90 homes and businesses in Carnarvon. The technology tested will include ‘internet of things’ energy metering, rooftop solar, household battery storage and inverters with remote monitoring and control devices, and weather forecast devices.

The three year trial aims to overcome the technical and commercial barriers faced by ‘prosumers’, to reduce the cost of distributed energy systems by up to 25 per cent.

The falling cost of solar photovoltaic panels, coupled with the rising cost of energy bills, has driven many electricity consumers to embrace on-site generation and battery storage as means of reducing and taking control of their energy costs.

The project will test the commercial viability of delivering high penetration distributed renewable energy to regional off-grid towns, facilitating increasing renewables in existing microgrids.

ARENA Chief Executive Officer Ivor Frischknecht said the pilot project is the first of a series of trials that Horizon plans to undertake.

“These trials of distributed energy systems will explore the most cost-effective way of designing and managing a future grid.

“If we can resolve the technical and cost barriers of distributed energy systems and get metering, monitoring, solar and storage to work as a whole, we can make better use of these assets, reduce costs and empower prosumers,” Mr Frischknecht said.

WA Minister for Energy Ben Wyatt said: “The State Government is committed to supporting the development and refinement of technological solutions that advance a renewable future and we are delighted that ARENA have chosen to invest in such important trials that will ultimately see more renewable energy installed in regional Western Australia.”