Hi all, welcome to the Community's Virtual Power Plant thread!
This is the place to discuss all things Virtual Power - whether that be to share your experience, discuss progress, or to ask any questions you may have about the project. We'll also keep you up to date with how the project is progressing.
The first question most will ask, is, does that price include everything required hardware and software wise regardless of what the AGL customer has installed? I can imagine that as there are so many solar systems, brands etc. that the cost to make the customer's current system compatible could easily outstrip the quoted figure in your proposal. In say my case, SAPN here in Adelaide had much the same offer but what I had to purchase to make mine compatible was an expensive exercise and I figured I had a very good Sunny Boy inverter etc. so in that case their proposal was of no use to me.
At the moment the price of the battery fully installed is $3,499 (the first 150 sales) for a standard installation. You’ll no doubt be asking what is covered in a standard installation so we’ll draft an FAQ for the Knowledge Base to cover this in more detail soon.
If you're interested it's important to note that there needs to be a solid platform for the battery to be installed on due to the fact that it weighs about 270kg - a number of customers wanted it installed in areas that did not have existing concrete or paving.
Remembering I am just replying to your VPP discussion, the correct wording in your FAQ will become very important, I realise AGL are well versed but my two bob's worth is to spell out ever so clearly what a standard installtion is and what is it based on, who hardware, models of panels and more importantly the inverter, even SAPN's offer here in SA was based on certain criteria and although I have a state of the art Sunny Boy inverter it still needed a second inverter etc.all of which can be done but at a cost and I canot see AGL quoting for a complete system without detailed regard to existing.
This below is part of the conversation from SMA, granted it is based on a Tesla Powerwall but it shows how complicated it can get!!
You can certainly integrate a Tesla Powerwall in your system with the addition of the new Sunny Boy Storage 2.5: http://www.sma-australia.com.au/products/battery-i
The Sunny Boy Storage 2.5 is the inverter to which your Tesla Powerwall would be connected to, and it will interact with your existing inverter along with the SMA Energy Meter. I have attached a wiring diagram explaining how things would be installed if you go ahead with a SBS2.5 + Tesla Powerwall with your installer.
This below is from the original installer, they would not have an interest to install a Tesla Powerwall but they did suggest:
Called SMA and confirmed that you will need both the Energy Meter and the Sunny Boy Storage if you wish to attach a Tesla Powerwall to your existing installation.
If I was to wholesale these items to you they would be Smart Meter around $800 inc. and the Sunny Boy Storage would be about $1,800 inc.
Rob - batteries being installed as part of the VPP project will be installed as AC coupled, meaning the existing solar system remains intact and there is no need to interfere with it unlike a DC system.
The Sunverge systems have an advantage over the Tesla systems in that they can be considered a 'plug and play' system - everything that you require from is built in to the battery unit itself (inverter, monitor, etc).
Wow, seems like it is the way to go, I have space in my garage, my garage is part of the foundation so if it copes with the weight of my car I'm sure it won't be a problem, but I am no longer an AGL electricity customer, only for gas so I guess that rules me out as ineligible?
Sounds as though your garage would indeed be able to support the battery Rob. That's correct, the project is only available to AGL electricity customers - if you'd be open to returning to take up the offer I'd be happy to arrange for someone to give you a call.
Hi to the community, I'm told that the VPP is just starting to roll out in metro South Australia, a very exciting time for us in this state.
I would love to hear from anyone who has had one installed, how the installation went, what was the eventual cost of the installation given that there are extras like if you have 3 phase power or want to reconfigure your switchboard to utilise battery backup for say lighting, fridge etc. how long the actual installation took, anything I suppose that would help in making a decision to sign up or anticipate a result if have already signed up.
I can see being locked in to five years of the VPP has its ups and downs, you’re at the mercy of price rises but one has to outweigh that with the potential savings as well as the inconvenience of an outage.
The last major outage in our state was perhaps a one off but it spawned a mad rush at Bunnings were at my local one it cleared out most all their generators as well as 90% of all their torches, funny in one sense but deadly serious in others as it showed we all took power for granted and most were ill prepared.
I'm not a doomsday prepper like in the USA but the VPP does seem logical in so many ways that it's worthwhile.
I also realise AGL may have other motives but as it's Government etc. backed and subsidised heavily it's a relatively safe bet for the future.
So, what does the community think?
I am having my virtual power plant installed right now. I have more electrical brains on my driveway than anyone needs... except me right now.
I am excited about the whole process and the potential.
I have posted my own blog comment about it all and invite you to take a look.
I am very happy to be the first of these to be installed here in Adelaide. The process has been excellent so far. The people on site right now are serious professionals who have a great committment to what they are a part of.
I do plan to continue to post here and to my blog to let those interested know how it is working.
Firstly, in 8 months on a 5.5kw solar system my clock has just kicked over Total: 5009.00 kWh which is 5mWh, so, like most I'm doing my bit for the greener side of life.
Second, well, not much so far from the community, even those who said they would keep us informed on their installation. I'm told a few have gone in to date, hoping someone will still share their experiences, so far zero!!!
So, let me start then with what I know so far, I registered my interest, was sent a contract, signed it and paid my small deposit. I was then contacted by AGL with a date and time for an audit to be done on my property - this was actually done by the same guy who actually installed my digital meter who works for AGL Active Stream.
He was spot on in time for the appointment but due to the size of the home and other factors, the audit took about 3 hours.
I have a meter board absolutely full bar two empty spaces (my electrician has made available) and before AGL arrived I went through every power point and light switch both in the home and garage and produces reports by each circuit breaker and were it pertained to and by each room with what circuit breakers pertained to that room, 16 circuit breakers, 3 phase and heaven only knows how many light switches, single and double power points. It turned out to have been a good idea as it helped the guy ascertain what circuits should be ok for battery backup in the event of a power failure, like lighting, roller doors, pc’s/router and etc. it also maybe my electrician has to swap some cabling over to other circuits so that logical power points etc. are covered to keep to the 4 circuits.
Location of the battery cabinet was very important it seems, apart from logical things like solid concrete base and under cover like a garage, I was given two ideas in the garage, one to the left near the front of the car and one to the rear as I drive past it, the former ‘may’ be a problem in case AGL think I might drive in and hit the cabinet, just about impossible but they get the last word including a bollard installed to protect the cabinet. I also have a steel and timber rest on the ground to stop me at a pre-determined spot to avoid hitting the front brick wall, that could be a problem as it’s say 10cm high, higher than the bottom of the full size cabinet door so the cabinet has to be set back so it can full open, that then does not allow for my passenger to alight when in the garage, so many small things that need to me taken into account.
Things I did not know, like, you cannot have the whole of the house on battery failure back-up, your limited to 20 amps and 4 circuits, that includes a power point that may not ever be used so both AGL and I need a re-think of that part. Working on the 20 amps etc. at full bore all used I will expect about 3 hours of back up till the batteries are expended. Strangely the fridge is considered a no no on battery back-up in case you go away and there is a total power failure as supposedly someone may need to be there to kick start the whole system.
I have lots of questions now on the actual running procedures so my eyes are fully open before I decide on the next move.
Right now, am awaiting for the audit to be presented to the guys at AGL to get a formal quote, the quote is needed to advise me that I will need a sub-board outside of my meter box to accommodate the circuits needed to run just the power failure aspect, I need two free circuits or blanks for the first part, the main installation. So, $3500.00 approximately for the main install, $110.00 to convert or whatever from 3 phase to single phase which entails something coloured red, cable wise to bunch together, this still needs to be explained to me in writing, $650.00 plus to run one cable 22 metres from the battery cabinet to the meter board plus other associated costs to be determined. These costs are known and seem reasonable and I have no qualms this is a profit making centre, I really think it’s important to do your homework carefully and methodically first. I also have the option to install the first stage and then do the battery backup aspect at a later date, there will be no doubt a call out fee as an extra, I’m also told my electrician who is licensed can also do this work under the knowledge and help of AGL.
Some say the actual battery backup in case of power failure is a dead loss and can be expensive and return on investment a long way off, hence why after the quote I need to know final cost of main install and final cost of battery back-up stage, so I can ask and get answers in writing on the missing info I need to make an informed decision.