IKEA eleXsys Microgrid

Ikea

Game-changing solar and storage installation at IKEA Adelaide with eleXsys® technology

IKEA, a global thought leader on sustainability, has engaged eleXsys® Energy to demonstrate how businesses globally can be empowered to take immediate, cost effective action and accelerate the adoption of renewable energy. The flagship site for this initiative will be the IKEA retail outlet in Adelaide, South Australia (SA).

With the Government of South Australia committing to a Net Zero Emissions Target by 2050(1), there are significant challenges to be addressed – one of the biggest being voltage and frequency instability caused by increasing distributed energy resources (DER), like rooftop solar across the electricity grid.

South Australia has the second highest penetration of DER in the world with over 34% of residences having installed rooftop solar PV(2). Combined with its array of large wind and solar farms, South Australia provides an insight into the challenges that will be faced globally as more distributed energy resources are adopted by households and businesses around the world.

The IKEA eleXsys Microgrid will combine commercial-scale solar PV and batteries with the eleXsys Energy Management System to provide up to 100% of the IKEA Adelaide’s energy requirements in contrast to 10% with available technology and export restrictions in place. In the process, eleXsys Energy will demonstrate the ability for businesses to embrace optimised solar and battery storage at zero cost to the grid or taxpayers while saving energy costs and creating new revenue streams by supplying surplus energy to the electricity network.

Project Overview – IKEA eleXsys Microgrid, Adelaide (Stage 1)

  • Located adjacent to the Adelaide airport in an industrial park
  • 1.2 MWp PV Solar System
  • 3.4 MWh battery storage (Battery Energy Storage System or BESS)
  • 3 x Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers
  • eleXsys® Energy Management System
  • IKEA has signed 20-year Microgrid Services Agreement
  • The Microgrid is designed and constructed by eleXsys Energy
  • On commissioning the Microgrid will be owned and operated by a major energy infrastructure operator owned by one of Australia’s largest superannuation/pension funds
  • A range of eleXsys services will be provided over the life of the 20-year project, including voltage management to ensure full export, and trading algorithms to provide frequency services stabilising the grid and spot market energy trading from the BESS
  • The project was supported by the Government of South Australia’s Renewable Technology Fund.
  • Includes Schneider Electrics Distributed Energy Resource Management System DERMS technology to pilot its integration with SA Power Networks ADMS for future grid control of other similar type microgrids.

eleXsys® Microgrid benefits

For IKEA

  • Providing 50% of IKEA Adelaide’s annual electricity usage in the form of clean energy
  • Reducing power costs, approximately 25% cheaper than the grid
  • Creating a hedge against the grid’s power price rises for 20 years
  • Incorporating options to scale the system to provide 100% of power on-site
  • Building an urban 100% grid-interactive renewable energy site that demonstrates corporate leadership towards a clean energy world.

For investor

  • Securing a 20-year revenue stream with PPA (indexed with CPI)
  • Initiating returns on wholesale trading of electricity, optimised through AI software
  • Creating income streams from FCAS/VARS trading directly with AEMO through Australia’s National Electricity Market Dispatch Engine (NEMDE)
  • Adding a new asset class to investment portfolio; first BESS of this scale on the LV network
  • Generating an estimated project return of 12.5% (without FCAS)

IKEA eleXsys Microgrid FAQs

Issued by Planet Ark Power (V1.5)

Why is the IKEA eleXsys Microgrid in Adelaide considered to be world-leading?

Whilst there are other commercial microgrids connected to energy networks, we believe there are none, of its kind that provide the comprehensive range of services and solutions that the IKEA eleXsys Microgrid provides. The IKEA eleXsys Microgrid, enabled by Planet Ark Power’s proprietary eleXsys® Energy Management System (eEMS) and Schneider Electric’s DERMS technology, combines commercial scale solar and battery trading across energy markets on the distribution network.

This unique grid-connected urban microgrid not only will enable IKEA to become self-sufficient in its electricity supply, it will also provide the SA Power Networks with improved ability to better manage local network voltage issues with energy and security frequency control services from on-site battery installations.

The features that make the IKEA eleXsys Microgrid project in Adelaide world-leading include:

  • the size of the on-site battery (3.0MW)
  • the connection of the battery to the distribution grid via a single connection
  • the dynamic management of reactive power (VAr) to enable maximum export of surplus energy into the network
  • the trading of energy on spot and FCAS (Frequency Control Ancillary Services) markets
  • the installation of the eEMS behind the meter, combining and coordinating the performance of the solar PV array and battery installation
  • the unique energy services contract that benefits the microgrid owner (3rd party investor), the customer (building owner) and the grid from the provision of stabilising frequency services
  • the flexibility of the battery’s algorithms enabling it to dynamically respond to market price signals including the ability to absorb and store energy during periods of negative pricing
  • the IKEA eleXsys Microgrid is replicable on electricity networks around Australia and the world will play a significant role in transforming the world’s electricity grids into grids completely powered by distributed renewable generation – like rooftop solar.

The IKEA eleXsys Microgrid is over ten times larger than what would otherwise be installed. By managing the voltage volatility caused by exported energy from distributed energy resources (DER), such as the rooftop solar and batteries, eleXsys enables the safe and reliable export of surplus clean energy into the distribution grid.

By providing voltage and frequency control services to overcome curtailment restrictions commercial scale DER solutions can be designed to maximise the generation of clean energy, instead of only sizing systems to meet a site’s own energy requirements. The IKEA eleXsys Microgrid allows IKEA to get closer to achieving net zero energy consumption, while strengthening the project’s economic returns, adding resiliency to the grid, and generating additional clean energy for the neighbouring community.

Is IKEA installing eleXsys at all their stores in Australia?

Our partnership with IKEA does not end with the launch of the IKEA eleXsys Microgrid in Adelaide. IKEA have announced that Planet Ark Power will help IKEA identify opportunities to install similar grid-connected microgrids not just on stores in Australia, but across the IKEA network around the world. Our ongoing involvement with IKEA also includes more opportunities in renewable energy integration, including EV charging.

How much does eleXsys cost?

eleXsys is provided to customers on a service basis. The eleXsys apparatus is only one component of the comprehensive suite of solutions eleXsys provides, including multiple layers of advanced AI software designed to optimise the system’s benefits to customers, investors, and electricity networks.

Where else can eleXsys Energy Management Systems be installed?

The range of market applications that eleXsys provides can be utilised anywhere distributed energy resources (DER) are installed. eleXsys provides the foundation voltage support required by electricity networks through which a variety of innovative, clean energy applications such as community microgrids, virtual power plants and vehicle-to-grid services are made possible. Specifically, the primary function of eleXsys is voltage control on the grid to enable the ongoing and safe expansion of DER across electricity networks.

Besides IKEA Adelaide, where else has eleXsys been installed?

We have several locations where eleXsys is performing energy export management with voltage control services. However, IKEA is the first commercial scale microgrid to utilise the full suite of applications. We are working with other commercial and industrial customers and networks to construct similar microgrids by resolving existing network constraints to deliver lower cost, clean energy.

Internationally, multiple eleXsys platform applications and market sectors are being examined to determine the optimal mix of solutions applicable to each region. Stay tuned for more exciting announcements as more eleXsys installations are confirmed.

Can eleXsys be installed as part of a residential rooftop solar solution?

No, not yet – but our exceptional R&D Department is on the case.

Is eleXsys a part of IKEA solar?

No. However, Planet Ark Power supports and shares the IKEA People and Planet Positive vision and is proud to contribute to their ambitious sustainability agenda.

Where was eleXsys developed and where is it manufactured?

eleXsys® was developed by a dedicated team of experienced electrical and software engineers under the leadership of one of Planet Ark Power’s founders, Dr Bevan Holcombe at our headquarters in Brisbane, Australia where the manufacturing of eleXsys also takes place.

Is the eleXsys Microgrid commercially viable without government funding?

Yes. The IKEA eleXsys Microgrid would not have been possible without the generous support of the South Australian Government. However, as this is the first project of such a scale, significant start-up costs were incurred which will not need to be replicated in similar microgrid projects in the future. The project also includes costs for DERMS integration covered by the grant that will not be present in future projects. Future projects are already in the design stage and will meet required commercial returns.

What is the difference between eleXsys and a Statcom?

A static synchronous compensator (STATCOM) is a regulating device used on alternating current electricity transmission networks. It is based on a power electronics voltage-source converter and can act as either a source or sink of reactive AC power to an electricity network.

STATCOMs on the market today are typically single-phase units and have a maximum of 5KVA rating. However, eleXsys provides many more functions to these devices which makes this technology solution so unique. For example:

  • eleXsys is a 4-phase device which means it performs real time balancing across the electrical phases on distribution networks;
  • eleXsys can detect upstream faults on the network and have the device act in a manner to mitigate that fault;
  • eleXsys’ rating is 30KVA which is six times the capacity of typical 5KVA statcoms;
  • eleXsys can be installed in-front or behind the meter;
  • eleXsys contains a patented algorithm that determines the best location for it to be installed to achieve maximum impact;
  • eleXsys has an integrated battery BESS function that enables demand management components to be added, avoiding the duplications of inverter costs. As a result, eleXsys can inject real power into the network when it is needed at peak demand periods or charge batteries to overcome minimum demand issues on the network;
  • eleXsys provides frequency and voltage ride through capability to remove network disturbances, to ensure inverters are not disconnected by network operators;
  • eleXsys enables networks to host further DER generation than the single-phase units of today however, when battery functions are added, network hosting capacity can be further expanded.
How does a project like the IKEA eleXsys Microgrid impact the local distribution network?

This goes to the heart of the benefit of the eleXsys Energy Management System (eEMS) and how it is creating a new investment asset class. The grid needs smarter power controls because of increasing DER (eg. solar PV and wind) across networks. The eEMS provides not only smart controls, but enables safe and secure connections for solar and batteries to the grid.

As DER increases, grids become more unstable. With the suite of smart controls, voltage, and frequency management provided by eleXsys, eEMS supports the grid from behind the meter (so consumers do not pay for this service). This grid support through provision of frequency services from batteries then enables more rooftop solar to be installed. Without eleXsys managing the voltage issues caused by increasing amounts of DER on networks, batteries would not be able to operate to provide the frequency services to enable optimised solar PV to achieve a 100% renewable DER powered grid.

By enabling these outcomes eEMS lowers electricity prices (rooftop solar is the cheapest form of energy production) and over time drives the decarbonising of electricity grids.

How do you intend to grow internationally?

Internationally, Planet Ark Power is known as eleXsys Energy. Our strategy is to increase our global footprint by licencing our technology to partner organisations. These partners will have access to the eEMS platform to integrate into solutions like the IKEA eleXsys Microgrid for their own projects in their licensed jurisdictions. We have commenced this process with a number of well aligned, potential partners, with a view to finalising licencing agreements in the near future.

Can eleXsys be used in applications other than commercial grid-connected microgrids like the IKEA eleXsys Microgrid?

Yes. Planet Ark Power offers a range of commercial rooftop solar and other distributed energy resources solutions for commercial, industrial and public infrastructure building owners. From conventional commercial rooftop solar installations that reduce energy costs for building owners, to providing solutions to enable the export of surplus solar with or without the addition of batteries, Planet Ark Power offers a comprehensive range of clean energy solutions that none of our competitors can match.