SwitchDin plots DER testing lab to help tackle clean energy transition
Australian energy management software company SwitchDin has announced it will build the Southern Hemisphere’s largest lab dedicated to researching and testing distributed energy resources at its headquarters in the New South Wales Hunter region.
SwitchDin said the new test lab will emulate Australian and international microgrids and provide a complete test environment for a broad range of distributed energy resources (DER) including solar inverters, battery energy storage systems, electric vehicle chargers and smart loads including air conditioners and heat pumps.
The Newcastle-based company said the testing will enable it to support different operating regimes that can affect the efficiency of DER for the provision of grid services and participation in energy markets.
The lab, co-funded by the New South Wales (NSW) government, will emulate grid events and faults in order to test how a wide range of different manufacturers’ DER, including rooftop solar and residential batteries, will respond.
The facility will utilise PV and grid simulators to run testing scenarios such as phase imbalances, harmonics issues and the dispatch of Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS).
SwitchDin Chief Operating Officer Marc Sheldon said the lab will also provide an opportunity for the company’s customers to understand how different manufacturer DER will respond on their networks to deliver new grid services.
“This will be instrumental in supporting development work, the test lab and expanding our customer base,” he said. “In particular, the lab will support our work using SwitchDin’s cloud orchestration platform, Stormcloud, to coordinate a diverse fleet of solar inverters, batteries, EV chargers and other flexible loads.”
The lab, being built at the company’s newly expanded headquarters has secured financial support through the NSW government’s $250 million Jobs Plus Program. SwitchDin said the support will lead to the creation of 55 direct and 33 indirect full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs by June 2024.
NSW Trade Minister Alister Henskens said the Jobs Plus Program is helping to unlock the enormous potential of home-grown businesses, as well as attracting global heavyweights to the state.
“These jobs will boost the state’s thriving economy, help to develop even more world-leading products, and cement NSW as Australia’s innovation capital,” he said.
Sydney-based modular solar array manufacturer 5B has also secured funding as part of the program with the company to grow its headquarters in Mascot to centralise its business operations. The government support is expected to deliver 30 direct and eight indirect FTE jobs by June 2024.
UK-based clean power and EV infrastructure company Zenobe is another recipient of funding under the program. The company said it will establish an office in Sydney as it looks to expand its operations across Australia and New Zealand.
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