Monday, 08 February 2021 11:12

South Australia trial to use solar for off-peak water heating

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South Australia trial to use solar for off-peak water heating Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay

The Federal Government says it will provide $1.98 million to Solahart, a subsidiary of Rheem Australia, to partly fund a trial to test 2400 hot water systems in South Australia with a view to reduce the energy use for heating water at peak times.

A statement from Energy Minister Angus Taylor said the trial was meant to understand how to manage grid stability and bring down costs.

The project, which will cost $9.9. million in toto, will set up a virtual power plant to aggregate the electrical load of hot water heaters and also cut electricity usage at peak times or provide network services to the grid.

This will make it possible for both customers with and without solar panels to participate. The money will be routed through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, with the South Australian Government matching the Federal contribution.

The hot water systems will use off-peak power, cutting down on reliance on the energy system at peak times. The trial will look at how this can help reduce costs, stabilise the grid during evening peak hours and use excess solar energy during the day.

"Australia is experiencing a solar installation boom which is driving the creation of record new renewable capacity,” Taylor said.

“This project will help South Australia to get the most out of this boom and maximise the use of renewables in the grid, reducing pressure on the electricity system.

“Already, one in four Australian homes have solar – the highest uptake of household solar in the world. This is helping to reduce household energy bills and emissions.

“As more Australians turn to solar to power their homes, it is important that we manage this.

“Solar power can only be used when the sun is shining, which is why we need to find more ways to use it when it’s available to stop it going to waste.”


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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