Solar Connect Participation
This information (also found in the downloadable document) has been prepared to provide background, context and important information to Alice Springs Future Grid’s VPP trial (Solar Connect) participants. This information is also intended to be helpful to households who are considering the decision to participate. You can learn more about VPPs here, or sign up here.
Questions can be directed to the Future Grid team on 1800 ALICE VPP (1800 254 238) or via email at email@example.com.
By agreeing to participate in the Alice Springs Future Grid Virtual Power Plant (VPP) trial you agree that you have read and understood this document.
VPP trial overview
You are invited to take part in a technical trial as part of the Alice Springs Future Grid project. The trial aims to create what is expected to be the Northern Territory’s first residential Virtual Power Plant. An explanation of what a VPP is can be found in the supplementary literature provided, as well as through information on the project’s website: alicespringsfuturegrid.com.au The VPP trial seeks participation from Alice Springs households with rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and battery storage systems for a year-long trial. Households with solar PV only (i.e. without batteries) may also participate, as can those households that intend to install solar PV by the trial’s start date. The information contained in this document is applicable to all types of participation in the VPP. VPPs operate by virtually linking solar and battery systems across multiple houses to provide energy system services that can help to keep the local electricity network stable and reliable, while also increasing the amount of clean energy used by the community. Solar and battery system updates and/or enabling technologies will be installed for eligible participants free-of-charge, in return for the project’s collection and usage of the data that is generated and use of your battery’s capacity and remote control of your PV and battery system as per the Jacana Energy Terms and Conditions. Participants will also receive a VPP credit on their electricity bill. Participants will be allowed to keep any technologies installed by the Future Grid project. The VPP trial has been designed and developed by Project Partners of Alice Springs Future Grid, including Jacana Energy, the Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC), Power and Water Corporation, Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA), Ekistica, and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The Intyalheme Centre for Future Energy is leading the delivery of the Alice Springs Future Grid project on behalf of DKA. Future Grid is supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER), and the Northern Territory Government. The project is overseen by a consortium that includes DKA, Ekistica, Power and Water Corporation and Territory Generation.
What does participation in the Solar Connect VPP trial involve?
If your property meets the eligibility criteria and is selected to take part, participation in this trial will involve the installation of VPP technologies in your home, followed by data collection and monitoring for approximately 12 months. During this time, information will be collected on the generation and export of electricity from your solar PV system or electricity storage system, charge and discharge of your battery, and your household’s electricity usage over time. Before taking part in this trial, you will be requested to agree to the Terms and Conditions provided by the project team. At the start of the trial, you will also be asked to allow project contractors to access your property to assess compatibility with the VPP technology, update existing inverter settings if necessary, and install any technologies required. Future Grid, or one of the project partners, may also request your participation in some community engagement activities throughout the trial, such as surveys and direct communications (e.g. phone calls or emails). As part of the trial, you will be asked to provide some personal and sensitive information. This will include your name, residential address, contact details, Jacana Energy account number, whether you are a life support customer, and your signature for agreement to participate. You may also be requested to verify your identity. Beyond that, all information required for or generated through the trial is related to the performance of technical equipment installed, electricity usage, or VPP operations. The data generated through your solar PV and battery storage system over the course of the trial is crucial to the project’s purpose to investigate innovative technology options in Alice Springs. Any data shared with Project Partners beyond those who are directly involved in the VPP delivery and monitoring (i.e. beyond ALEC, DKA, Power and Water, and Jacana Energy) will be de- identified to protect your privacy.
Voluntary participation and withdrawal
Participation in this trial is completely voluntary and you are under no obligation to take part. Your decision about whether or not to participate will not affect your current or future relationship with the Alice Springs Future Grid Project Partners, nor any of the researchers. If you agree to participate in the VPP trial, you will be able to request a copy of the identifiable information we hold about you, request amendments if there are mistakes in this data, and may choose to withdraw from the trial at any time. However, if you decide to withdraw before the trial has concluded, any data generated up to that point will be retained and may be included in the final dataset. The data would be de-identified and/or combined (aggregated) with data from all other VPP participants. As such, within key findings and results from the trial you nor your household will not be individually identifiable in published outputs.
Risks and benefits
Participants are urged to pay close attention to section 6 of the Jacana Energy Terms and Conditions, titled Your obligations to assess risks specific to your household. There are no significant foreseeable risks associated with participating in this trial. The withdrawal of participants part-way through the trial, however, is a risk to the project. As such, if you are considering selling your property during the trial period, it is advisable to discuss the options with a Future Grid representative.
Participating in the trial is expected to deliver a range of benefits for participants, the project, and the wider Alice Springs community. You will have the opportunity to be part of a ground-breaking trial that aims to improve our understanding of the community’s willingness to be involved in creating a renewable energy future. By taking part, you will also help to create greater awareness of new energy technologies and their real-world use in Alice Springs. Over the longer-term, it is hoped that the findings of this trial will contribute to creating a more secure, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy future for the Alice Springs community.
Privacy and confidentiality
The collection, use and disclosure of information collected through participation in this trial will be in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) as amended from time to time, and as otherwise required by law. The sharing of identifiable data will be limited to DKA, ALEC, Jacana Energy and Power and Water for the purposes of conducting the trial. De-identified data collected (and aggregated) throughout this trial will be used for research and analysis purposes by the Alice Springs Future Grid Project Partners, and could be used for purposes beyond the scope of the trial. Any data collected as part of this trial will be securely stored in electronic and/or hard copy formats. De-identified data will be retained and may be used for future research purposes. When presenting the trial’s findings, data will be reported in a way that protects your privacy and ensures that participants are not individually identifiable.
How will my information be used?
Data and results from this trial will be used to inform the success or otherwise of a VPP operation in Alice Springs, it may also be published and/or presented in a variety of formats, such as reports, papers, conference presentations, media releases, and via other mediums (e.g. websites). Results will be shared with ARENA and the Australian Government, as well as other stakeholders across industry, academia, and government. Results may also be published on the Alice Springs Future Grid’s project website: alicespringsfuturegrid.com.au. Non-sensitive, de-identified information collected through the trial may also be shared with other researchers for the purpose of verifying published results or for future research purposes. In such cases, we will ensure that this information cannot be linked to you before it is published or shared.
Ethics clearance and contacts
If you have any questions about the development of this study, please contact the project leader, the Intyalheme Centre for Future Energy, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on (08) 8959 6000. This study has been endorsed by the Central Australian Human Research Ethics Committee in accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007 (Updated 2018). Any concerns or complaints about the conduct of this study can be raised with the Central Australian Human Research Ethics Committee, contactable via email at email@example.com. If you agree to participate in this trial, please complete the Participant Consent Form overleaf.
Thank you for considering participation in this trial. Your contribution is appreciated!