We’ve all been getting our ‘solar/battery geek’ on at the All-Energy conference and exhibition in Melbourne this week, and have come away with tonnes of ideas and inspiration, and a metre-high stack of product brochures.
Unfortunately I was sitting too far back in the conferences and all my presentation photos are too blurry to read, so I don’t have any here for you. But here’s a few interesting things that I came away with.
1# Battery storage is boss:
The biggest and most obvious thing we noticed was that the industry’s adoption of battery storage is now complete. At the All-Energy conference a couple of years ago, or even last year, there was only a small amount of battery storage products on offer. Now they utterly dominate.
2# Peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading:
P2P energy trading is a system that allows you and your neighbours to share your solar power with each other. Power Ledger is a company who is testing a P2P energy trading system in WA, with a technology called ‘blockchain’ controlling the instantaneous flow of payments between neighbours for the energy they sell. For those who are new to blockchain, this is the technology that underlines bitcoin. It simultaneously stores a growing ‘chain’ of timestamped data ‘blocks’ amongst all peers – making it almost impossible to tamper with. Here is a great TED talk on blockchain if you’d like to learn more.
3# Arbitage and taking on the wholesale market:
Companies like Reposit Power have developed programs to help you actively take part in the wholesale electricity market. By adding their device to your battery storage system, you can sell your solar energy to market when prices are at their best.
4# Australian lithium-ion recycling:
PF Metals has just come on board with lithium-ion recycling in Melbourne. Unlike lead acid recycling, lithium-ion recycling is in its infancy in Australia and finding a company who can do it (without sending it overseas) is tricky.
5# Aussie manufacturing is not dead:
Geelong company IXL Manufacturing is showing just how the transition from automotive manufacturing to renewables manufacturing can be done. The 150 yr old business is now producing solar framing right here in Australia. Here’s a 2014 article from Renew Economy about the business.