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 info@​alicespringsfuturegrid.​com.​au.

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: alice​springs​fu​ture​grid​.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: alice​springs​fu​ture​grid​.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 intyalheme@​dka.​com.​au 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 cahrec@​flinders.​edu.​au. 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!