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Solar battery revolution held back by red tape

Transgrid and City of Sydney chiefs have warned that red tape has threatened to flatten the solar storage battery revolution by restricting the use electricity suppliers and user can make of their solar panels and batteries.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore and Transgrid chief executive Paul Italiano said regulations are struggling to keep up with the pace of change in batteries, solar panels and smart grid systems, which could stifle the rollout of the technology.

The City of Sydney has solar panels installed at about 20 sites in its local government area but Moore said red tape penalised efforts to use panels at one site to meet shortages at other sites.

Transgrid plans to install 500 kilowatt hours-worth of batteries at City of Sydney’s Alexandria depot to allow the city to install more solar panels and also to meet network shortages at peak demand times.

“Energy market rules urgently need to be modernised for businesses and residents to take full advantage of clean technology,” said Moore.

According to Italiano, network operators and customers have to be able to unlock both sources of value to make it economic to deploy battery systems rapidly. But a proposed “ringfencing” rule will force them to choose between one use or another.

“We have got customers coming to us saying, ‘why can’t you do this new technology?’,” said Italiano.

“If we don’t get this rule change right, it can limit the full potential of new technologies such as battery storage.”

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