SA battery scheme VPP-ready requirements: How to tick all the boxes

The South Australian government has released details about what it means for systems to be virtual power plant ready (VPP-ready) under the new home battery incentive scheme.

As a provider of hardware-agnostic, VPP-enabling controllers (our Droplet device), SwitchDin allows solar retailers, installers and integrators to make VPP-ready systems while continuing to use their favoured battery & inverter products - and satisfying customer demand.

Let’s look at the equipment eligibility criteria laid out under the SA Home Battery Scheme and how SwitchDin helps solar companies & integrators create systems that meet the VPP-ready requirement.

How SwitchDin fits in

 

Get Switchdin’s SA Home Battery Scheme application pack

We’re putting together an application pack to make it easy to apply for South Australia’s Home Battery Scheme.

 SwitchDin’s Droplet device functions as the ‘smart controller’ described in this example illustration of possible system configuration options for battery-equipped systems under South Australia’s Home Battery Scheme. (Image via SA Dept of Mining & Energy.)

SwitchDin’s Droplet device functions as the ‘smart controller’ described in this example illustration of possible system configuration options for battery-equipped systems under South Australia’s Home Battery Scheme. (Image via SA Dept of Mining & Energy.)

The SA Department of Energy & Mining (the institution overseeing the Home Battery Scheme) has published a document with examples of different acceptable configuration options for systems to be eligible for the scheme.

The configuration options document offers a high-level overview of:

  • ‘Requirements for product functionality and system functionality of the system being installed’; and

  • ‘Requirements for the design, means of installation and installer of the system.’

In this document, SwitchDin’s Droplet device is classified as a ‘smart controller’ under the program’s list of components that may be included in a system.

A Droplet can be installed as part of a brand new ‘greenfield’ system, or ‘retrofitted’ onto a pre-existing, legacy system. In both cases, the Droplet acts as the primary, internet-connected device that relays data to and from the system - and issues commands to the system’s components (e.g. battery & inverter).

 
 

SwitchDin does more:

Going beyond the bare requirements of the Home Battery Scheme, Droplets also enable demand response (via DRED control), provide detailed system monitoring for end users and fleet management for installers, retailers & integrators.

droplet pic.png
 
 

Home battery Scheme equipment eligibility criteria

Ticking the boxes with SwitchDin

There are ten requirements that the government has outlined for equipment under the Home Battery Scheme. The table below provides an overview of how SwitchDin helps solar installers & system integrators to meet these requirements.

 

 

South Australia Home Battery Scheme - Equipment eligibility criteria.

How SwitchDin helps systems meet requirements


Category Requirement SwitchDin
Electrical interface Battery systems may be AC- or DC coupled. SwitchDin Droplet controllers work with all solar & battery system configurations, connecting directly with hardware via protocols and acting as a 'virtual inverter' between the grid and the home
Physical communications interface The battery system shall include an ethernet port that is capable of being used for communication with the system by authorised parties. It is not a requirement that the ethernet port is used in the installed system. SwitchDin Droplets have ethernet ports
Internet accessibility The system shall be provisioned with at least one means for forming a reliable internet connection accessible by authorised parties (examples include a 4G/5G modem, Wifi connectivity to a homeowner-provided internet-connected LAN, or hardwired ethernet connection to a homeowner-provided internetconnected LAN). The means for forming a reliable internet connection need not be the wired ethernet port. SwitchDin Droplets can connect to the internet via WiFi, mobile or LAN
Remote registration The system shall support registration of the system via API to remote services (e.g. retailer, OEM, aggregator). SwitchDin Droplets can be registered remotely by API to SwitchDin's Stormcloud cloud platform
Remote monitoring

System shall include a communication function that supports remote monitoring and reporting of system state at 5-minute intervals via an API, with measured/reported parameters to include:

  • Battery SOC
  • Battery real and reactive power
  • Connection point voltage
SwitchDin Droplets support reporting of system data in increments as fine as 1sec including (but not limited to) the parameters required under the Home Battery Scheme
Remote control

System shall respond to remotelyprovided commands from authorised parties to:

  • Charge battery
  • Discharge battery
  • Perform the mandatory Demand Response Modes required under AS/NZS 4755.3.5: DRM 0 (open the disconnection device), DRM 1 (do not import energy), DRM 5 (do not export energy).

In addition, for a site on which both the battery and solar systems are new installations (‘greenfield’), or for a site using a hybrid inverter, the system shall respond to remotely-provided commands to:

  • Dynamically maintain site net power output below or equal to specified export limits that may be required from time to time.
SwitchDin Droplet can issue a range of commands to common solar system component, including those required under the SA scheme
Remote configuration System supports remote changes to firmware and operational settings by authorised parties. SwitchDin Droplet firmware can be remotely and securely updated via SwitchDin's Stormcloud platform
Product performance and safety

Inverters shall comply with AS/NZS 4777.2-2015 Grid connection of energy systems via inverters – Inverter requirements and shall be listed on the CEC Approved Inverter List.

Batteries shall comply with the Battery Safety Guide (Best Practice Guide: Battery Storage Equipment – Electrical Safety Requirements, Version 1.0, Published 06 July 2018) and shall be listed on the CEC Approved Battery List (under development). Refer to http://www.batterysafetyguide.com.au/ for more information.

SwitchDin integrates easily with a wide range of inverter and battery products
Security System shall be designed such that it is protected to a suitable standard against electronic intrusion and tampering by unauthorised parties. SwitchDin supports utility-grade security in cloud-device data transfer
Warranty

System shall be provided with a warranty providing, at a minimum, the following coverage:

Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) or Battery System (BS): 7 years under daily cycling operation

Any Inverter: 5 years

Balance of system (e.g. enclosures): 5 years

Workmanship: 5 years

Whole of system: 5 years

SwitchDin Droplets come with a standard 5 year warranty
 

Here is the document detailing the full list of Home Battery Scheme equipment eligibility criteria.

 

Get Switchdin’s VPP-ready application pack

We’re putting together an application pack to make it easy to apply for South Australia’s Home Battery Scheme.