School of
Information Technology and Electrical Engineering

University of Queensland researchers are combatting forecast electricity price hikes of up to $430 a year by developing a system to enable more households and businesses to produce renewable energy, while also making it cheaper to feed that energy back into the grid.

UQ researchers from the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology, led by Dr Olav Krause, are working with industry and government partners to help electricity distribution companies improve approaches to assessing customer solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to feed into their networks.

Solar Enablement Initiative Project Director Professor Simon Bartlett, who has 40 years of experience in the power industry, said the $2.9 million project would benefit energy consumers, the Australian energy industry and the environment.

“Around two million homes in Australia already have a solar PV system, and this development will enable the energy industry to support its customers as this number continues to grow,” Professor Bartlett said.

He said the system under development would monitor the impacts of rooftop solar PV on Queensland, Victorian and Tasmanian electricity distribution networks via a new analysis technique.

“Researchers are filling a critical knowledge gap for how renewable energy generation should be integrated into grids, and this will have a lasting impact on the energy industry,” he said.

The two-year project is funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) – an Australian government scheme that supports the development of advanced renewable energy technologies – and industry and academic partners.

“The award of a $1.2million ARENA grant together with $1.5 million of industry support demonstrates UQ’s outstanding relationship with Australia’s energy industry and the industry’s confidence in UQ’s abilities to develop and trial innovative energy technologies,” Professor Bartlett said.

Project partners include the Australian Power Institute, Energy Networks Australia, Energex, TasNetworks, United Energy, Aurecon Australasia, Redback Technologies, Queensland University of Technology and Springfield City Group.

Media: SEI Project Director Professor Simon Bartlett, simon.bartlett@uq.edu.au, +61 0411 600 584; UQ Communications Coordinator Genevieve Worrell, g.worrell@uq.edu.au, +61 7 3365 8525.