Evergen, Solar Service Group to jointly drive large-scale VPP deployment

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A new strategic partnership between Evergen and Solar Service Group aims to drive large-scale virtual power plant (VPP) deployment across Australia.

The joint venture matches Evergen’s optimization technology and ability to orchestrate VPPs via microgrids and demand response networks with Solar Service Group’s expertise in developing and distributing battery storage systems.

Evergen’s technology, developed by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and backed by AMP Capital, tracks household production and consumption patterns in tandem with weather forecasts. That helps the system to determine when it should utilize its solar generation, when it should store it, and when it should use the battery or the grid, to ensure that it is working in the most cost-effective fashion.

To boost its growth in Australia and expand overseas, Evergen kicked off a AUD 7 million ($4.8 million) capital-raising campaign last month to private and wholesale investors on VentureCrowd, which is scheduled to close today. The company hopes to use the funds lower the cost of energy for all Australians with renewable energy and its intelligent energy management software, by increasing the performance of single solar+storage systems and enabling their operation in VPPs and microgrids.

“After various trial programs around the country, this partnership with Solar Service Group and Evergen now puts us in a position to take our proposition nationwide to our combined network of customers,” said Ben Hutt, CEO and managing director of Evergen. “Blending Solar Service Group’s excellence in research and marketing and national deployed fleet together with Evergen’s software, this will be the biggest single fleet of batteries globally.”

Solar Service Group – which operates under its Solar Service Group, Sunbank Solar and SouthAus Solar banners – says its network of customers includes thousands of households that might be interested in making better use of their distributed energy resources. The companies plan to launch the first stage of the initiative to Solar Service Group customers in the first quarter of 2020.

“With more than 8,000 batteries installed nationally already, our current and future customers will benefit from Evergen’s world class optimization software,” Solar Service Group Chairman Rod Woolley said, noting that most VPP trials have had mixed success. “We’re starting from the other end of the equation, with an extensive and enthusiastic customer base on which we’ve built our business case.”

Solar Service Group and Evergen said they hope that their partnership will further support the adoption of batteries as part of network infrastructure and help fast-track the transition to a zero-carbon energy structure.

“Our partnership will enable all Evergen and Solar Service Group customers to be connected to energy markets, generating additional savings from participating in grid-scale initiatives,” Woolley said. “This will dramatically reduce the payback period for consumers and provide concurrent benefits for the network and other energy consumers.”