Australia, Policy, Projects, Renewables, Solar

Proa powers defense with solar innovation

Proa has successfully supported the operation of two solar farms in the Northern Territory for the defence force.

The solar farms, situated at RAAF Base Darwin and Robertson Barracks, have become the first installations to comply with the Northern Territory’s generator performance standards implemented in 2020.

Proa’s managing director Victor Depoorter highlighted the distinctive nature of these solar farms, operating as ‘scheduled generators’ with a stringent commitment to precise energy export levels.

“The two new solar farms comply as ‘scheduled generators’ like gas, coal, or hydro, which means they must at all times deliver exactly on their energy export commitments, no more, no less,” Depoorter said.

“The farms completely manage the uncertainty and variability of their generation caused by clouds, bad weather or scheduled outages.”

Supported by small battery energy storage systems (BESS) and proprietary intelligent tools, Proa’s technology dynamically determines energy market offerings through real-time calculations.

“These solar farms are backed with small battery energy storage systems (BESS), and our intelligent proprietary tools which act as the brain of the Defence sites, making decisions dynamically on how much can be offered to the market,” Depoorter said.

“Those calculations are made in real-time based on the forecasted weather conditions, the availability of the plant, the firming capacity of the batteries, and the compliance metrics.”

“For example, when there is the risk of clouds causing sudden ramps in the electricity generation, our system will pre-curtail the plant to a safe level that could be ‘firmed’ with the support of the onsite BESS.”

According to Depoorter, Proa’s new technology offered hope to solar farms in the Northern Territory amongst the strict government regulations.

“Proa’s system as well as all the experience we have accumulated at the Defence sites could help to get these sites up and running. We have a proven track record of cracking complex problems and creating innovative solutions in the energy industry,” he said.

“We’re confident our technology will change how solar will be integrated into the grid in the future, not just in the Territory but around Australia.”

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