Israeli inverter company SolarEdge has targeted Australia as a key market for solar and storage technologies, thanks to its world-leading rooftop PV penetration, reduction in feed-in tariffs and high electricity prices.
“Australia is one of the markets where (solar) self-consumption systems make a lot of sense,” said Lior Handelsman, SolarEdge’s vice president of marketing and product strategy, in an interview with RenewEconomy on the sidelines of the All-Energy Australia conference in Melbourne last week.
“I wouldn’t say it is ‘use it or lose it’,” said Handelsman, “but it is ‘use it or almost lose it’.”
SolarEdge, like many other big players in the sector, has lately turned its focus to developing inverter technology that supports solar power storage and smart energy management.
Its StorEdge product, which was launched in Australia at All-Energy, is an inverter solution that supports batteries – at this stage, the 7kWh Tesla PowerWall – allowing residential solar customers to store and use as much of the energy they generate from their rooftop PV as possible, and to monitor this via an energy management interface.
And while the cost of adding the system is not insignificant, Handelsman notes that it instantly makes the solar energy you are generating worth around five times more.
“You buy the storage platform, our inverter, our meter, you connect that to the solar system – using our power optimisers on the roof – and then you have the Tesla battery, or in the future other batteries … to maximise self-consumption,” he said.
In just a couple of months, he added, it will be standard issue that “when you get to the point that you have a full battery, inverters will start using the excess PV to turn on appliances in the home,” to heat and cool it, or to heat water, as a back-up form of energy storage.
Of course, the Tesla battery is not yet available in Australia, but Australian customers of SolarEdge, as a partner with the California-based company, will be prioritised once they are ready to be dispatched here, according to Handlesman.
Another product SolarEdge was launching at the All-Energy event on Thursday was its 26.7kW HD Wave commercial-scale inverter, an incredibly lightweight specimen – 16 times lighter than the next smallest and most efficient inverter in the industry, which is 25kg – due to its use of digital technology in place of heavy magnetics.
“Australia is a focus market for us,” he said. “It’s a very interesting market. It seems to be, today, stable, in the sense that the regulatory environment is clean.
“I think the market is a good market, it’s an evolved market, it’s a market that appreciates value. It’s a very competitive market, also, but you can’t be afraid of competition.”
© 2015 Solar Choice Pty Ltd