IKEA has started construction on its grid-connected microgrid, clean energy storage initiative that will support the South Australian power grid and its Adelaide retail outlet.
The project will be powered by Planet Ark Power’s eleXsys energy management system (eEMS), which “enables building owners to improve tenant outcomes with no capital outlay and so maximise all stakeholder returns on investment from optimized rooftop solar and grid-connected batteries.”
“Our eleXsys technology solution functions to ensure certainty of revenue streams from the export of surplus solar energy and grid stability services grid without the risk of curtailment by electricity network operators,” said Jonathan Ruddick, chief commercial officer at Planet Ark Power.
This will mean IKEA Adelaide will transition to operating with 100% renewable energy and at the same time generate inexpensive clean energy for Adelaide’s power grid. This will reduce IKEA Adelaide’s energy costs by 30%.
Initially IKEA Adelaide will have 1.2MW solar panels installed on its rooftops, along with 3.4MWh onsite battery, managed by Planet Ark Power’s eEMS. Epic Energy, the owner and operator of the microgrid, will provide 70% of the store’s energy consumption.
This will allow the surplus of stored clean energy to be traded into the South Australian network when demand is at its highest, as well as generating extra revenue for Epic Energy.
“By attracting third party investors like Epic Energy, commercial building owners now also have the option to utilize their own infrastructure to generate cheap, clean energy without using their own capital,” said Ruddick.
“Epic Energy believes this project – and decentralised generation more broadly – sets the foundation for a sustainable new energy model for Australia, that will play an important role in Australia’s energy mix over the coming years,” said Clive D’Cruz, Epic Energy’s chief executive officer.
“Our involvement demonstrates the attractiveness of investing in projects that can safely, securely and reliably export surplus clean energy into low voltage urban networks,” D’Cruz continued.
The gird connected batteries will also enter the Frequency Control Ancillary Services market and be trading direct as a wholesale electricity trader, giving property owners the opportunity to offer tenants this zero-capital commercial structure.
The project will then construct sustainably sourced timber PV shade structures across the IKEA Adelaide car park. This will be comprised of around 800KW of solar panels, further increasing surplus energy to be sold into the grid. Upon completion this will generate a further 30% of the store’s energy, meaning it will be 100% powered by onsite electricity.
Additionally, EV chargers will also be installed onsite for customers, co-workers and the IKEA delivery fleet servicing South Australia.
Minister for energy and mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, called the this “a significant project for the state,” saying that “The project will let IKEA significantly reduce its carbon footprint and make it easier for other companies to adopt low carbon technologies”.