Category Archives: Projects

SunSPoT

Understand your solar potential

Smart Energy Decision Making
A Smart Cities and Suburbs Project

SunSPoT is an easy-to-use online-tool to assess the potential for electricity generation from solar PV on rooftops. Try it on your own home here!

Have your Local Government Area mapped with SunSPoT

There is significant potential for rooftop solar PV in Australia, but there has thus far been a lack of good quality information to make decisions about solar PV investments.

 SunSPoT provides information and analysis to help energy consumers and PV businesses make better decisions about investment in solar PV. Councils, rate-payers, community groups and businesses can assess the best opportunities for solar PV, which will inform better planning, policy development and investment in solar PV on the best sites.

Join the Smart Cities and Suburbs Project: The APVI, UNSW and partners are working with councils to map the solar potential of their local government areas.

More information is available here (8.2Mb)

If your council area has not yet been mapped, contact your local council and sunspot@apvi.org.au with an expression of interest

SunSPoT Media

SunSPoT solar savings calculator for installing solar panels on city buildings
Podcast: Civic’s $14 Million solar potential

Funding

This project was initially funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, and is now supported by the Smart Cities & Suburbs Program, as well as by a range of partners and participating councils.

If data or information from SunSPoT are quoted or otherwise used, the source should be cited as: Australian PV Institute (APVI) SunSPoT, funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Smart Cities & Suburbs Program, accessed from pv-map.apvi.org.au.

An Interactive Australian Solar PV Mapping Resource

The Live Solar Map can be found here!

There is a lack of understanding of PV potential, performance and impact on electricity systems across different regions of Australia. These types of data are required to inform investment and system design decisions, and for the management of and planning for distributed energy.

This project involves the development of an interactive PV mapping tool for tracking the uptake and impact of PV and disseminating information to facilitate investment and research.
The Map incorporates:

  • Historical and live performance data covering all main climate regions in Australia, with PV’s contribution to meeting load by electricity market region
  • Installation density and capacity installed by both postcode and Local Government Area, as well as PV power stations greater than 100kW
  • Market data and trends: total capacity, installations/month, capacity/month, cost/kW and installations by size.
  • A GIS-based tool for assessing PV potential in urban environments, accounting for available roof area, tilt, orientation and shading
  • An animation of the per-postcode PV installations across Australia since January 2007
  • Monthly installations for individual postcodes

This project will provide increased awareness, confidence and information about PV capacity and performance. It will provide access to data that can be used to conduct high quality research related to photovoltaics markets, performance, reliability and integration with energy markets and networks. Such research can be used to help to understand the factors that contribute to cost reduction, quality and reliability of PV electricity.

IEA PVPS Task 14: High Penetration of Photovoltaic systems in electricity grids

This project supports Australian involvement in the International Energy Agency PV Power Systems Program’s Task 14 on High Penetration of PV Systems in Electricity Grids. The Task brings together researchers from the US, Europe, Asia and Australia to address the opportunities and challenges of growing PV deployment on electricity networks. More information on Task 14 can be found here.

An international workshop was held at UNSW in late 2013 that discussed the results to date of the IEA PVPS Task 14: High penetration of PV in electricity grids and considered the findings in the Australian context. The presentations can be found here.

Australian contributions include case studies of high PV penetrations in particular Australian networks, as well as a number of research projects exploring how we can better facilitate PV integration into the Australian electricity industry. The following reports are available:

Climate-based PV Performance and Reliability

PV FAULT REPORTING WEBSITE

(this fault reporting website is now closed and a report summarising the results will be made available shortly)

As part of this project a web-based survey was developed for anyone who owns, operates, installs or inspects a PV system and/or has detected a fault/problem with whole or part of the system. This ‘PV Module and System Fault Reporting Portal’ was developed to increase the understanding of the PV industry about the types of problems that are found with different system components when they are exposed to the Australian environment. It will help to improve future PV system design, component selection, product development and product approvals for Australian conditions.

Project description

There is a large range of PV modules and systems across Australia and the world, operating under an extremely wide variety of climate conditions. These variations in system specifications and climate can significantly impact overall performance.

This project will provide a publicly available, high quality PV performance database containing location-specific technical, operational and performance data. Data will be collated from a variety of representative locations across Australia. Analysis of these data and project outputs will highlight technical aspects of PV systems that need improvement, inform development of standards and guidelines, and enable comparisons to be made of performance, reliability and economics in different climate zones.

This project will increase overall investment confidence in PV markets by providing information on performance and reliability of PV systems in Australian climate conditions. Through participation in the International Energy Agency Photovoltaic Power Systems Program’s task on Performance and Reliability and the International PV Quality Assurance Taskforce, the project will also contribute to establishing internationally agreed methods of assessing and communicating information about PV performance and reliability.

Reports

‘PV System Reliability – Preliminary Findings from the PV Module and System Fault Reporting Website’, ASPRC 2014

Analysis of Long-Term Performance of PV Systems, IEA PVPS, 2014

‘Correcting Output Data from Distributed PV Systems for Performance Analysis’, Abstract, ASPRC 2014

‘Improved ’Nowcasting’ of Residential PV Generation Using Clustering Methods’, Abstract, EU PVSEC 2014

Australian PV System Monitoring Guide 2013

Presentations

‘Correcting Output Data from Distributed PV Systems for Performance Analysis’, ASPRC 2014

‘Improved ’Nowcasting’ of Residential PV Generation Using Clustering Methods’, EU PVSEC 2014

PV Module Quality, Reliability & Compliance, CEC ATRAA Conference 2014

Impacts of PV, AC, and Other Technologies and Tariffs on Consumer Costs

The uptake of technologies such as air conditioners, PV, solar water heaters and energy efficiency options can both increase or decrease electricity use as well has increase or decrease demand peaks. These effects may not only change electricity costs for the households that use them, but also the costs of other households.

This project involved the development of a model that can quantify these impacts on households, as well as on networks and retailers. This will be useful to consumers, utilities and policy-makers, so that tariffs and regulatory frameworks can be designed to maximise income to utilities while minimising costs to consumers.

The APVI conducted this research for the Centre for Policy Development, with funding from the Consumer Advocacy Panel.

Reports

Main report (2.9Mb)
Executive summary (385kb)
Facts on Solar (promotional material) (807kb)

 

A Distributed Energy Market: Consumer & Utility Interest, and the Regulatory Requirements

The ongoing uptake of Distributed Energy (DE) options such as solar PV, solar water heaters and energy efficiency measures are reducing electricity use and electricity utility revenues. There is significant potential for further uptake of these technologies, which will decrease utility revenues further. The responses by utilities and governments to date have essentially attempted to maintain the status quo, however, ‘disruptive technologies’ such as PV and EE will likely drive the need for more fundamental changes.

This project discusses these issues for residential customers and proposes a regulatory framework that could form the basis of a DE market that would optimise DE’s contribution to least-cost energy services and enable the existing electricity industry to transition to the ‘new normal’.

The project involved focus groups and surveys of the general public, interviews with the electricity industry, government agencies and regulators, with all findings presented at a public workshop and through a number of reports.

ARENA and the University of Arizona have funded the collaborative research, with reports published by the CSIRO, the University of Arizona and the APVA.

Reports

Main project report (Executive Summary and Full report)
Focus groups report (Key findings and Full report)
Survey report (Key findings and Full report)

Workshop presentations

Program
Introduction
DE Market in USA & Mexico
Focus Group and Survey Responses
Regulatory Arrangements for a DE Market
Responses by Utilities & Regulators

Developing Alice Springs & Central Australia as a World-leading Solar Centre

The Northern Territory Government commissioned a report on developing its vision of Alice Springs and Central Australia as a “ world-leading solar energy centre by 2020”. This Report identifies issues and opportunities associated with the Vision, so as to inform the NT Government, in preparation for public consultation.

This report focuses on solar electricity, although solar heating for water and other end uses, such as cooling, will also play an important role in increasing solar penetration levels. Similarly, energy efficiency and demand management, along with energy storage and smart control systems, will be crucial. Business as usual, medium and stretch scenarios for solar energy to 2020 have been analysed. Funded by the Northern Territory Government.

The articulation and implementation of this vision is an opportunity to achieve a number of objectives:

  • Inform a 10 year action plan.
  • Identify and trial innovative financing options for the deployment of solar systems.
  • Contribute toward the NT’s achievement of the Australian Government’s 20% renewable electricity target.
  • Implement the recommendations from the NT Green Energy Taskforce reports.
  • Develop innovation, knowledge and business opportunities beyond the focus of hardware and project development.
  • Align with and build on existing research and innovation projects.
  • Position Alice Springs and Central Australia favourably for Australian Government funding under the Clean Energy Future package.

Projecting PV Electricity costs

The APVI developed a set of techno-economic projection models to inform stakeholders as to likely changes in the cost of electricity generated by PV, compared to prevailing grid electricity prices.  The models allow the impacts of changes to the characteristics of PV technology, deployment, financing and incentive policies to be assessed.

Three models were developed, one for residential systems, one for systems on commercial buildings, and another for systems designed for generation on a large scale.  The residential and commercial systems are compared to the prices of grid electricity under standard electricity supply arrangements, whereas the large-scale model compares the cost of PV-electricity to wholesale electricity market prices.

This project was funded by the Australian Solar Institute. The following reports are available:

Main project report (Nov 2010)
Residential projections (Nov 2011 update)
Commercial projections (Nov 2011 update)
Large-scale projections (Nov 2011 update)

 

Best Practice Guidelines for Local Government Approval of (Solar) Photovoltaic Installations

This Project evaluated the current procedures being followed by local governments around Australia for installation of photovoltaic (PV) systems in urban areas. It also examined relevant Planning and Solar Access regulations which impact on PV. It resulted in the production of the Best Practice Guidelines below.

The information was compiled via discussions with Councils, PV installers, State Government agencies, Solar City managers and others. Internet Surveys were also used and these were publicised via Local Government Associations and other interested organisations.

Funding was provided by the Australian Government’s Low Emissions Technology and Abatement – Renewables Program.

Final Report
Best Practice Guidelines