Perth Solar City demonstration concludes


Paul Italiano,
CEO, Western
Perth, Australia — (METERING.COM) — February 7, 2013 – The Perth Solar City demonstration involving over 16,000 households and more than 30 energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Perth’s eastern region has concluded with the publication of the final report.

This, the most comprehensive energy efficiency initiative in Western Australia, was launched in November 2009. It received $13.9 million in seed funding from the Australian government’s SolarCities initiative. A further $33.3 million of cash and in-kind support was contributed by the Perth SolarCity Consortium.

As a result of the project the 16,000 participating households collectively saved over $1 million (US$1 million) on their electricity bills last year. And individually the households reduced their electricity use by from $25 to $1,000 per year, by doing things differently, joining smart meter enabled trials, and investing in solar technologies.

Among the results, the smart grid trial involved over 9,000 smart meters installed in four specific locations to prove the end-to-end smartgrid technology, including the establishment of the home area network as an open platform for delivering additional customer focused products and services.

The results of this trial in turn enabled energy efficiency trials such as anair conditioning trial to demonstrate the feasibility of air conditioner demand management, an in-home display trial and a time-of-use tariff trial. In the latter participants showed an average 9%in electricity consumption during the super-peak. When combined with an in-home display, the average reduction increased to 13% during super-peak.

The program also led to the installation of 673 solar PV systems and 1,151 solar water systems, with average reductions in daily electricity use of 41% and 18% respectively.

“Perth Solar City’s extensive and professional community engagement programs have helped our customers make real savings and deliver ongoing behavior change,” commented Paul Italiano, chief executive officer of Western Power, the consortium leader of Perth Solar City. He added: “A key benefit of this comprehensive research is that Western Australia has a platform of solid information to support its future energy decisions.”

According to program implementation manager Andrew Blaver in the report, the key lesson from the Perth Solar City program is that without fostering customer participation through education based community engagement,the successful deployment of new technologies and energy efficiency programs will be compromised.Energy efficiency programs must engage customers to demonstrate value, encourage participation and realize benefits.