Schneider Electric and Planet Ark Power have been awarded a $1.95 million grant by the government of South Australia to help build a $13.9 million solar and battery pilot project at a major distribution centre in Adelaide’s north.

The project combines solar power and battery technology optimised by a Schneider Electric-led micro-grid management system integrated with an advanced distribution management system to deliver more secure and reliable energy back to the grid.

“The South Australian Government leads the way with its vision for renewable energy generation, and this project is a significant stepping stone towards a future where the whole of Australia has reliable and affordable sources of renewable energy,” said Schneider Electric Australia and New Zealand zone president and managing director Gareth O’Reilly.

“Nationwide, there is potential for 10,000MW or more of demand side response and load shifting, equivalent to five Liddell power stations, and 20% energy efficiency improvements across the National Electricity Market.

“At Schneider Electric we believe demand side response and energy efficiency should be explored as a first priority to make energy for all Australians safer, more reliable, more sustainable and more affordable.

“Full adoption of demand side response and load shifting solutions will reduce the need to open new large-scale power stations. It will also provide the network with the flexibility to allow high levels of renewable penetration into the system,” O’Reilly said.

The grant is part of the state government’s $150 million Renewable Technology Fund, designed to support projects in four categories: renewable generation, bulk energy storage, bioenergy and hydrogen infrastructure.

Planet Ark Power general manager Jonathan Ruddick said the project allows the demonstration of a technology that will harness the full potential of renewable energy by dealing with the intermittent nature of solar.

“This project is an example of South Australian leadership in building a stable and affordable energy future,” he said.

The project will include a grid-connected micro-grid with 2.9MWh of smart battery storage, demand management, new network integration technology and up to 6MW of rooftop solar power.

Central to the project will be Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Platforms, including its Advanced Distribution Management System and Microgrid Advisor, which will optimise the site’s solar PV and battery storage.

Work is expected to commence early in 2018.