Swedish furniture giant and sometimes rooftop PV retailer Ikea is about to begin work on an industry-leading, grid-connected commercial solar and battery microgrid based on its Adelaide store.
The project, flagged by Ikea Australia in June at the launch of its Solstråle residential solar offering, is being developed in conjunction with Planet Ark Power, the South Australian government, SA Power Networks and Epic Energy.
The $6.6 million first stage of the microgrid, which will be owned and operated by Epic Energy, will install 1.2MW of solar on the rooftop of Ikea Adelaide and a 3MW/3.4MWh OilPower CATL lithium-ion battery storage system, also installed on-site in three 40 foot containers.
The solar and storage system will be managed through a combination of Schneider Electrics’ smart energy management software and, on the grid-connected side, Planet Ark Power’s award-winning eleXsys dynamic voltage control platform, the hardware for which will be housed in an additional 20 foot container.
For Ikea, the 3024 Q-Cell PV panels and battery storage will – at the end of stage one mid-way through next year – provide more than 70 per cent of the store’s electricity needs, which will be delivered via a power purchase agreement with Epic Energy.
But the project also gives the furniture giant some serious green cred – on top of having already met its company-wide target to produce and procure more renewable energy than it consumes by this year, 2020.
“Collaborations like this have always been a cornerstone of the Ikea way – this is more important now than ever in order to tackle the climate crisis,” said the global head of climate and energy for Ingka Group, Karol Gobczyński.
“Change will only come if we work together. …Ikea Australia is taking action together with our customers, partners and governments to do our part in creating society powered by 100% renewable energy.”
“Ikea Australia is excited to be working with such inspirational partners to help shift the dial on clean energy production in Australia,” added Jan Gardberg, Ikea Australia’s CEO and chief sustainability officer, in comments on Wednesday.
“Our ambition is to be the first mover and inspire other Ikea stores to install larger solar installations, batteries and digital solutions. Planet Ark Power’s eleXsys energy management system will support the balancing of the electricity grid not just on stores in Australia, but across the Ikea network around the world.”
For Brisbane-based Planet Ark Power, participation in the Adelaide microgrid and the ongoing partnership with Ikea marks the culmination of seven years of hard work developing a world-leading grid integration solution that manages two-way flows of energy by making smarter use of existing electricity infrastructure.
And the technology is attracting a good deal of interest beyond Australia. In April of last year, eleXsys won the 2019 Start-Up Energy Transition (SET) Awards supported by the World Energy Council in Berlin.
“The inclusion of Planet Ark Power’s unique eleXsys energy management system is the critical link that makes the Ikea, grid-connected microgrid project so innovative and world leading,” said the company’s COO, Jonathan Ruddick, on Wednesday.
“Our eleXsys technology solution functions to ensure certainty of revenue streams from the export of surplus solar energy and grid stability services into the grid without the risk of curtailment by electricity network operators,” he said.
“We are particularly proud to contribute to the IKEA journey to achieve 100% renewable energy at their Adelaide site while also helping SA Power Networks provide more secure, clean energy to the broader South Australian community.”
To read the full story on RenewEconomy sister site, One Step Off The Grid, click here…