Silicon Valley meets regional Queensland

Regional Queensland is set to become the focus of a renewable energy pilot program. Ergon Energy is gearing up to run a solar battery trial with US renewable energy company Sunverge.

Energy Minister Mark Bailey says Sunverge’s decision to open its Australian headquarters in Brisbane and be part of a $2.6 million renewable energy trial in regional Queensland showed it had confidence in the Palaszczuk Government’s renewable energy vision.

“Labor is committed to one million solar rooftops by 2020 and it’s heartening to see a company from California pioneer a solar trial in a state known for its sunshine,” he says.

“Queensland is already one of the world’s highest per capital users of solar energy with more than 400,000 residential solar rooftops and the next big shift is combining this with batteries for home storage.

“So today, it’s really of case of Silicon Valley meets Fortitude Valley.”

Mr Bailey met Sunverge co-founder Ken Munson on Thursday as he opened the company’s Australian headquarters in the Fortitude Valley.

Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland Coralee O’Rourke said she was proud that north Queensland would play a major role in Ergon Energy Retail’s 12-month trial involving 33 homes.

“From September, households involved in the trial with four or more bedrooms will be part of the innovative residential Hybrid Energy Service in Townsville and Cannonvale, along with Toowoomba,” she says.

“This trial could see more solar batteries rolled out across regional Queensland.”

A 4.9kW SunPower PV array and a 12kWh/5kW Sunverge battery storage and control system will be installed at each trial site.

Ergon Energy Retail will own and maintain them and is contributing $2.2 million for the trial.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is putting in $400,000 to explore a new approach for providing solar PV and battery storage systems to residential customers.

Ergon Energy Retail chose SunPower Australia and Sunverge Australia to provide, for the trial, batteries that also have the capability to draw from the grid and store this electricity.