This con­tent has been writ­ten col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly by the Project Part­ners of Alice Springs Future Grid, led by the Intyal­heme Cen­tre for Future Ener­gy. Please sub­mit your ques­tions, which will be answered in due course and shared on this plat­form if rel­e­vant and appro­pri­ate. You will be noti­fied via email when the answer is post­ed. Terms and con­di­tions are detailed on the sub­mit a ques­tion page. Fur­ther FAQs specif­i­cal­ly about the Solar Con­nect Vir­tu­al Pow­er Plant tri­al are addressed in this doc­u­ment

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What is the Solar Connect VPP trial?

Solar Con­nect is a town-wide solar and bat­tery tri­al link­ing house­holds via a Vir­tu­al Pow­er Plant (VPP). House­holds in the VPP will share solar and bat­tery pow­er in ways that ben­e­fit the Alice Springs grid and form the next gen­er­a­tion of more sus­tain­able ener­gy solutions.

What is a VPP?

A Vir­tu­al Pow­er Plant (VPP) is typ­i­cal­ly a col­lec­tion of solar and bat­tery stor­age sys­tems that work togeth­er to allow coordinated control of their energy.

VPPs use smart technology to control the energy flow to and from the grid on demand – benefitting the household, grid and the community.

Why is a VPP part of the Future Grid project? And why should I join it, as opposed to just having my own solar panels and battery?

A VPP provides an opportunity to optimise the use of existing grid infrastructure at both a household level and at a network level. The VPP in Alice Springs, known as Solar Connect, is inviting households with rooftop solar and a battery to join. The results and data generated by Solar Connect will inform what future trials may look like. There’s no obligation to join the VPP, however it’s likely in the future that if you want to install a solar system and battery, mechanisms will be needed to determine how you contribute to the shared costs associated with running the power system. In the same way that regardless of the extent to which you use water, there is still a cost to supply water to your house.

What happens after the Solar Connect trial ends?

After the Solar Connect trial ends, the Alice Springs Future Grid project will share its findings through various knowledge sharing opportunities and on its website.

If the VPP continues, Future Grid will inform participants and they can choose to remain on the VPP or decide to leave.

Participants on the Supersize Solar element of the trial will retain a static export limit.

What is the timeline for the Solar Connect VPP trial?

The trial is planned to commence in early 2022 and is expected to run for 12 months.

Why is the Solar Connect VPP trial necessary?

Alice Springs Future Grid is creating the North­ern Territory’s first res­i­den­tial Vir­tual Pow­er Plant (VPP). The tri­al will look at how a VPP can help keep the grid stable while increas­ing the amount of clean ener­gy in the Alice Springs power system.

The VPP is part of a suite of innovative trials, models and investigations that will help keep the Alice Springs network within voltage limits, reduce the reliance on gas power generation, and help us to reach 50% renewable energy by 2030.

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