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Australia’s Ergon Energy has begun the rollout of low voltage static synchronous compensators which will enable more homes and businesses to export power from solar PV systems into the grid.

Manager Intelligent Grid New Technology Michelle Taylor said the compensators – commonly known as a statcoms – were installed in Mossman in May and would continue to be rolled out to other parts of regional Queensland.

“This is an Ergon initiative that will assist the network, which was designed in an era of one-way power flows, to adapt to the rapidly changing network environment where many homes and businesses are both consumers and exporters of power,” according to Taylor.

“Queensland has one of the highest rates of solar PV penetration of any state in the world with more than 140,000 systems connected to Ergon’s grid,” she said. “This has resulted in some sections of Ergon’s network reaching their acceptable voltage limits due to rising voltage levels caused by solar PV systems.

“Statcoms regulate the voltage on sections of the network where they are installed, enabling more households to feed solar power into the grid and managing peak load voltages also. While statcoms are not a new concept, Ergon’s innovative application of the technology uses small-scale statcom devices to help manage the low-voltage network.

“Ergon’s technology innovation engineers successfully delivered a proof of concept for the statcom equipment in 2014 and successfully trialled test versions of the technology in 2015. This device can now be a new tool in the tool-box for solving network issues.”