When you join Members Energy, you become an integral part of our Virtual Power Plant, or VPP for short. But what exactly is a VPP? And more importantly you may ask, how do they benefit you?

Until recently, Australia has relied on large, centralised plants to provide power to its electrical grid. This means our infrastructure is designed for one-way power traffic flows; from the power plant into our homes and businesses. However, our nation’s energy sector – and the world’s, is changing fast. In just 5 years, the Australian renewable energy industry has increased its contribution towards electricity generation from 17 to 27%. (Clean Energy Australia, 2021).

Percentage contribution to total annual electricity generation in Australia.
Image credit: Clean Energy Council.

This shift in energy generation hasn’t just happened due to the implementation of mass-scale renewable energy projects, like solar farms. In a recent report, our partner Evergen revealed Aussie homeowners are ready for energy innovation technologies. Much of our progress has been driven by world-leading renewable energy policies and targets, influencing everyday Aussies to install solar rooftop systems in numbers. By the end of 2020, more than 2.66 million households and businesses in Australia have now a solar rooftop system – more than 20%. According to the latest numbers, we have the highest number of rooftop PV installations per person in the world.

Now, it is clear these small and independent systems are producing more and more power from renewable sources, with wind and rooftop solar leading the way. We are also feeding some or all of that power back into the grid, and that is disrupting the traditional energy model. Simply put, the grid is not designed to receive power from our solar PV systems at home.

In order to provide reliable, renewable power to all Australians, we need new ways of integrating the increased production of decentralised, smaller sources. And it is here, where Virtual Power Plants play their part.

 

How does a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) work?

VPPs work by combining a number of independent energy producers into one cohesive, stable, community-scale system; doing so through a cloud-based network that results in a sophisticated balance between electricity supply and demand. Essentially, VPPs are not just power to the people, but power by the people (Transformable, 2021).

Let’s break the definition down by identifying the 2 most important keywords: cloud-based and community.

Software, like Evergen’s Intelligent Control, allows for solar battery systems that are physically apart to communicate and be controlled together as a single fleet – smartly distributing power generated during periods of peak load.

Ultimately, it is the aggregated generation capacity of lots of smaller rooftop solar PV systems what makes all this possible. Without you, without the community, there is no VPP. When lots of homes and businesses work together as a single power plant, they can match or even exceed traditional power stations. Strength is definitely in numbers!

What benefits does a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) have?

One of the most exciting capabilities after joining a VPP, is the access it provides the homeowner to selling their excess power on the electricity market. The VPP technology is a win-win, because it makes a lot of financial sense, extending its benefits beyond feeding the grid with clean, renewable power at the right place and at the right time – which is already pretty important!

The spot market, where you participate as a customer of Members Energy, is usually out of reach for other solar homeowners. Many other electricity retailers pay you what’s called a feed-in tariff (FiT), which is the fee they pay you for any solar energy that gets sent to the grid from your house. Your FiT is usually a set rate you get per every kWh exported, depending on where you are in Australia. Unfortunately for you, even if the spot prices in the market exceed that minimum, you will still see the same amount of money. Why should your energy retailer be the only one to profit from your investment?

At Members Energy, we understand the frustration of selling your solar energy for less than what it’s worth. By becoming our member, you have made a proactive step into taking power back into your own hands. We help you optimise the performance of your home’s solar and battery system by storing energy when prices are low (like at night) to use when prices are high (like during the day), lowering the average cost of the energy you use. We also help you trade the excess solar power you generate through the spot market, doing so at optimal times to maximise your returns.

You read it right, when the spot market exceeds the minimum feed-in tariff, Members Energy passes on 100% of the additional revenue to you.

Welcome to the future of renewable energy with our game changing Virtual Power Plant energy plan.