Category Archives: Recent Research Projects

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