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ARENA’s Sustainable Investments for GreenTech Innovation

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) on behalf of the Australian Government has provided funding worth AU$929,000 an innovative GreenTech company based in Australia. This financial support aims to assist the company in creating an innovative online tool called “Solar Maximiser.” The tool’s primary purpose is to offer households an economic evaluation of potential investments in consumer energy resources (CER).

By analysing various available resources like rooftop solar, smart electric hot water systems, batteries, and electric vehicle smart chargers, the Solar Maximiser Tool will enable customers to gain insights into the advantages and potential benefits of investing in these consumer energy resources (CERs). It will provide a comprehensive assessment of how these CERs can contribute to their energy needs and economic considerations.

The Solar Maximiser Tool will be accessible to the public free of charge. It will utilise advanced algorithms to analyse energy consumption patterns, available energy retail tariffs, and market data. By leveraging this information, the Tool will assist consumers in identifying opportunities to lower their energy bills through the adoption of renewable energy sources and flexible demand options.

In considering these factors, users will be empowered to make informed decisions that promote both cost savings and the utilisation of sustainable energy solutions.

As part of the AU$2.7 million project, there will be a software integration component focused on enabling active control of smart heat pump hot water systems. This integration aims to target 1,000 systems and achieve 1 MW of flexible demand capacity through the project.

The software integration will allow for dynamic control of hot water systems, optimising their operation to maximise energy savings based on local generation and retail tariffs. By actively managing the hot water systems in response to real-time conditions, the project aims to enhance energy efficiency and reduce overall energy costs for consumers.

To explore the role of domestic hot water in flexible demand, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) enlisted the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) to conduct research. The resulting report highlights how electric water heating systems can play a crucial role in Australia’s decarbonisation efforts and facilitate the transition to renewable energy sources.

Additionally, the report emphasises the potential cost savings that customers can enjoy through the adoption of electric water heating systems. This research will serve as a valuable reference point for future projects related to flexible demand, providing insights, and informing decision-making processes in this area.

Nationwide recruitment will be conducted to engage customers in the trials of the firm’s smart energy tool and the hot water system. Through this initiative, the GreenTech sector has recognised that certain consumer energy resources (CERs), like solar PV, already offer economic benefits.

However, the adoption of other devices such as “flexible” electric hot water systems, batteries, and electric vehicles (EVs) faces challenges due to customer confusion, limited knowledge, and uncertain financial returns. By addressing these barriers, the aim is to promote wider acceptance and utilisation of these CERs, thereby advancing the transition to a more sustainable and renewable energy landscape.

The primary objective of the Tool is to empower customers with the necessary knowledge to make informed investment decisions regarding consumer energy resources (CERs). By using the Tool, customers will gain a comprehensive understanding of the advantages associated with owning CERs.

Additionally, the Tool will facilitate the process of connecting customers with potential suppliers who can provide quotations and assist with the installation of recommended devices.

Prior to the nationwide launch, the firm has conducted testing and calibration of the Tool using a sample of over 1,000 existing customers in New South Wales. This process ensures that the Tool is optimised and tailored to meet the specific needs and requirements of customers, providing them with reliable and accurate information for their investment choices.


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