Engineer Dr Domagoj Leskarac working on an eleXsys voltage management device. Photo: AAP/Sarah Marshall
Engineer Dr Domagoj Leskarac working on an eleXsys voltage management device. Photo: AAP/Sarah Marshall

New way to boost rooftop solar power generation 1300 per cent

A Brisbane-developed and manufactured device has been described as a game changer that will allow larger-scale solar power generation in urban areas.

Elexsys Energy Pty Ltd, which trades as Planet Ark Power, is just weeks from launching eleXsys which it says overcomes a major barrier limiting the amount of solar power that can be fed into electricity grids.

Currently grid operators have to limit the amount of solar power being fed into their networks to about 15 per cent because of variations in voltage it can cause.

Planet Ark Power's stakeholder engagement and strategy director Stephen Robertson said eleXsys overcame that problem by managing voltage at the source of generation.

"You often hear about large solar and wind farms being curtailed by regulators in the amount of energy they export in to the market - that's the voltage issue at utility scale," Mr Robertson said.

"It's our technology that solves that problem.

 

 

Planet Ark Power engineer Dr Domagoj Leskarac and executive director Richard Romanowski at Planet Ark Power’s headquarters at Enoggera. Photo AAP/Sarah Marshall
Planet Ark Power engineer Dr Domagoj Leskarac and executive director Richard Romanowski at Planet Ark Power’s headquarters at Enoggera. Photo AAP/Sarah Marshall

 

 

"So much so that commercial-scale rooftop solar will now be an investment grade asset that is attracting the interest of large superannuation funds to invest in large commercial arrays because we have de-risked their investment because there's no need for the energy output to be curtailed.

"What we've done is bring large remotely-located solar farms into the city where the energy is needed.

"It will be transformative."

Planet Ark Power claims eleXsys, a box that sits behind a premise's power meter which manages voltage millions of times a second, would allow up to 13 times more power from rooftop solar systems to flow into power grids that is currently allowed.

Not only would eleXsys allow businesses to cash in on their roof space, having more power generated close to the areas of most demand would see less lost in transmission, and there would be less need for expensive network upgrades.

Work on the project began 10 years ago when former Energex senior utility engineer Dr Bevan Holcombe teamed up with Richard Romanowski to start Go Zero.

It has been successfully trialled at Llewellyn Motors at Ipswich over the past two years and won the Intelligent Grids, Platforms and Cyber Security category at Start Up Energy Transition Awards in Germany in 2019.

The risk of reverse power flows associated with levels of high rooftop solar power was identified as a priority to be addressed in the 2017 Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap.

eleXsys will be manufactured at Enoggera.

It was recently awarded $100,000 from the Federal Government's Manufacturing Modernisation Fund to speed production and improve quality control.

The grant will also enable the company to add six employees to its 50-strong workforce (which includes 40 electrical and software engineers) and boost skills.

 

Originally published as New way to boost rooftop solar power generation 1300 per cent



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