Ausgrid has partnered with EcoJoule Energy to install cutting-edge technology to improve power supply to the community of Nords Wharf on the shore of Lake Macquarie.
Nords Wharf, like many small regional communities, had been experiencing fluctuations in voltage due to long low-voltage networks and the increasing penetration of rooftop solar being experienced all around Australia.
Distribution Network Service Providers are aware of the issues being faced in regional areas due to these factors, and companies like Ausgrid are continually striving to improve the overall performance of supply to those areas.
Ausgrid has installed a three-phase EcoVAR unit from EcoJoule Energy at Nords Wharf, which has successfully reduced the voltage fluctuation to consumers, also preventing the potential tripping of solar systems and delivering reliable outcomes in the delivery of power.
In the area where the EcoVAR unit has been installed there is a significant increase in the amount of solar energy that can be exported into the grid, virtually eliminating constraints on existing solar customers.
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Where voltage limits are exceeded, residents may not fully benefit from their solar exports or self-consumption. Where voltage drops below allowable limits this can adversely impact the operation of customer appliances (for example fridges, pool pumps, air conditioners, etc).
The EcoVAR units are the first units of their type being trialed by Ausgrid.
Ausgrid’s executive general manager of asset management Junayd Hollis said he’s pleased with the successful commissioning of the units in Nords Wharf, and optimistic about the installation of further units.
“Ausgrid has a diverse and complex network and we are looking to use innovative technology to improve service quality for all of our communities,” Mr Hollis said.
“That’s why we commenced these trials with the EcoVAR units, to improve customer voltage and quality of electricity supply. This is an integral part of our actions to increase hosting capacity for rooftop solar as well as other Distributed Energy Resources (DER), and reduce costs on our network. In turn this helps de-carbonise the grid and work towards a net zero future.”
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Bill Chesterton, who is overseeing the trial project for Ausgrid said, “Since installation, the EcoVAR installations have been operating reliably and effectively, being able to lower voltage when too high and raise voltage when too low by around 10 Volts.”
Mike Wishart, CEO of EcoJoule, has praised Ausgrid for taking this step to support regional consumers.
“The Electricity grid is being challenged by strong uptake of solar PV systems and it’s great to see distributors like Ausgrid proactively adopting new technology to address the issues,” Mr Wishart said.
“EcoJoule Energy is all about delivering reliable, affordable power solutions equally, across the board in Australia. We want to see regional communities afforded the same quality of delivery as the major centres. We are proud to partner with Ausgrid to deliver Australian-designed, Australian-manufactured solutions that benefit our communities.”