Western Australia’s state owned regional power company Horizon Power, have recently introduced a requirement for solar smoothing devices to be installed with new solar power systems to avoid difficulties of unstable power due to injection from solar systems in the region.
Horizon currently operates in regional WA, retailing electricity for almost 30,000 customers in the Kimberley, Gascoyne, Mid West and southern Goldfields. The large number of solar power systems in this area have meant that there has been problems regulating the excess solar power on sunny days, and keeping generators working to keep up with demand on cloudy days.
The smoothing device will provide back up power to the grid, reducing wear and tear on the generators when they start up and shut down. Magellan Power produced a Grid Support Power System sold to Ergon Energy in Queensland, used for a similar application. The need for systems like this will increase, particularly in small communities where solar penetration is high and the addition of more panels into the grid is likely to cause unreliable power.
Recently, the CSIRO started measuring the impact of solar PV systems across the country, which will have significant impact on judging whether ‘hosting capacity’ is being met or exceeded in rural areas.