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Reposit gives solar users the power of choice

How's this for a world-first radical idea?

Instead of selling the power you generate during the day for 6¢ a kilowatt hour and buying it back at 60¢ an hour when you get home, use your free clean energy when you need it and sell it at 60¢ an hour to your retailer when they need it.

Thanks to plucky Aussie game-changing software start-up Reposit Power, Australians are now able to store the clean solar electricity they generate when the sun is hottest, for their own use or to sell at peak times.

Storing your own energy is the happy medium between paying through the nose for energy and going completely off the grid.

But Reposit's chief technology officer Lachlan Blackhall is not urging people to leave the grid.

"People are frustrated with the rising cost of energy, but we don't encourage going off the grid," Dr Blackhall said.

"The grid promotes power security. We want people buying storage and using our software while remaining connected to the grid allowing them to sell energy back into the market at a profit.

"That is the best way to extract value from residential energy storage and allows us to maintain a healthy grid, which is beneficial to everybody."

Dr Blackhall, whose PhD is in systems and control theory and who maintains an adjunct researcher position at the Australian National University, said uptake of the software had been steady since the announcement of Tesla's Motors lithium-ion storage Powerwall in April.

"People can still use lead acid, but the Tesla Powerwall has captured consumers' imagination.

"We have a lot of units in the pipeline and that will increase as more storage Tesla Powerwalls come to Australia."

BRAND CONSCIOUS

Demand is outstripping supply for the Tesla Powerwalls, with the Palo Alto, California-based automotive giant shipping them to Australia as fast as they roll off the production line.

"Consumers are brand conscious about energy and people are looking to the Tesla units as they become available.

"We work with companies that produce lead-acid storage and that's also a viable option.

"The challenge is the size of lead acid and in the mind of consumers that it's older technology."

Consumers also get a web-based app that shows their energy usage, how much it's costing and how many energy credits (GridCredits) they have as well as how much solar power they are generating – all in real time.

The ACT-based Reposit is already working with customers in the National Electricity Market.

Their footprint extends to Queensland, NSW, Victoria, the ACT, Tasmania and South Australia and they hope to export their technology to the world.

ACT Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for the Environment Simon Corbell praised Reposit for its innovative approach to encouraging the use of clean, green power.

"Reposit is exactly the kind of innovative start-up that the ACT government is keen to see thrive as the territory continues to deliver policy that encourages renewable energy investment," Mr Corbell said.

"By selling services to networks and energy wholesale markets, this kind of technology can improve the return on investment for solar and battery storage.

"Distributed battery storage is often described as the missing link in providing a stable, affordable and ultra low-carbon grid."

He said the ACT government's legislated target of having 90 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 led the nation.

Corbell said the territory was on its way to achieving this target.

"We are on schedule to reach 60 per cent by 2017 and 80 per cent by 2018 as large scale wind and solar projects come on line.

"Importantly we have been able to show that making the switch to renewable energy isn't just achievable, it's also affordable.

"Australia is at a crossroads where we need to decide which energy path we are going to follow. On the one hand we have ageing traditional power generating infrastructure that is rapidly reaching the end of its useful life and would need a massive investment to renew.

"On the other we have an incredible opportunity to create jobs and investment, nurture innovation, improve our environment and lock in lower power prices in the medium to long term."

Source: The Australian Financial Review

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