16 Mar 2023

How EnergyAustralia is about to change the way the world consumes energy

By Gary Miles, CEO, Gentrack

Last week, EnergyAustralia went live with its innovative, ground-breaking product ‘Solar Home Bundle’. The Solar Home Bundle is set to provide eligible homeowners with a solar and battery system that is installed and managed by EnergyAustralia, with no upfront costs, as part of a 7-year energy plan. This offering demonstrates the sort of innovative proposition which will be required in the future as globally people look to change the way they consume energy, and utilities help move people to more affordable and sustainable energy solutions. 

Generating energy from rooftop solar is not new in Australia, in fact Australia leads the world in terms of solar PV per capita, but over the past few years it has exploded – with almost one third of homes having a solar installation. At the start of 2022 rooftop solar was the second highest source of generation capacity in Australia’s National Energy Market, with industry groups forecasting that it is likely to eclipse the generating capacity of coal as soon as April 2023. 

To empower consumers, or prosumers in this context, to fully realise the benefits of rooftop solar, adding a battery to their solar installation has a profound impact on consumption patterns-optimising how they consume, store and export energy back onto the grid, and maximising financial incentives. It also increases customers’ self-sufficiency and resilience to external markets.   

Benefitting from abundant sunshine, Australia has also taken proactive steps to support the energy transition and prosumer engagement including:  

  • Generous government-backed incentives subsidising solar panels  
  • Dynamic feed-in-tariffs, forming part of the competitive retailer landscape 
  • Mature flex trading markets that reward battery systems where they help stabilise the grid 

This is a positive lesson for other countries who want to accelerate the path to net zero and maintain an affordable energy future.  

However, the upfront cost of adding a battery to home solar systems or installing both from scratch is still prohibitive for most users. This is where the new offering by EnergyAustralia is truly pioneering. Zero upfront cost means more homes can reduce their reliance on the grid and guarantee a renewable energy source, making their energy more affordable. EnergyAustralia help improve the economics of home solar and battery systems in their Solar Home Bundle offering by controlling them – orchestrating them – into a ‘virtual power plant’ (VPP) – effectively operating the individual systems as a single, much larger, generating resource to help manage cost volatility in the wholesale electricity markets, and to also stabilise the grid during times of peak demand. It also puts the infrastructure in place to take advantage of other “behind the meter” offerings that remove reliance on fossil fuel, such as heat pumps and EV’s.


Behind the scenes 

Technically this home and solar bundle represents a very complex offering and to ensure widespread adoption it must be rendered to consumers with a seamless digital experience. When EnergyAustralia partnered with Gentrack to deploy this market leading proposition, they defined three key design principles essential to a successful launch:   

The first was to keep it simple.   

EnergyAustralia’s proposition is extremely complex, and includes field services and installations, hardware monitoring and maintenance, constant tuning of distributed virtual power plants, seamless onboarding, and clear and accurate energy billing.  Making the customer experience digital first, clear and simple is essential to any utility looking to roll out such a program. 

The second design requirement was that new services and innovations could be rolled out easily and frequently, with a bi-weekly minimum.  

As we enter a brave new world of dynamic pricing and edge energy management, it is impossible to forecast the types of service bundles consumers will gravitate towards.  It was essential that the system would bring a flexible, composable architecture to allow for low code / no code service delivery at pace.  

Finally, the entire solution needed to be open and ecosystem friendly.   

The world of distributed energy management and solar/battery technologies is moving very fast.  New entrants will emerge that bring exciting benefits to active home energy management.  Walled garden systems that are closed and proprietary will handcuff a utility’s future optionality.  As Gentrack built its distributed energy management system as API and ecosystem centric, we are able to support seamless integration of fast-innovating partners in the behind the meter energy management space, in Australia and worldwide.  

Gentrack is proud to partner with industry leaders such as EnergyAustralia as they take the bold step to transform their businesses and shape a new future for all of us.  We are super pleased to see more and more energy companies actively upgrading their IT systems to lead the energy transition.  These leaders will capture the loyalty of tomorrow’s energy conscious consumers.   

More details on the launch can be found here or contact us to learn more at [email protected].  


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