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Distributed energy on the network

Solar panels, batteries and other generators (also known as Embedded Generators) are growing in popularity and giving you more choice when it comes to how you power your home or office.

Here’s where you can get up to speed with this emerging technology, and what we're doing to support it.


Solar and batteries

Solar energy is generated when the light from the sun is collected and converted into power. Solar power systems generally consist of three main components:

  • Solar panels – create an electric current when sunlight falls on the solar cells.
  • Inverters – convert the direct current (DC) electricity generated by solar panels in to alternating current (AC) to be used in homes and businesses.
  • Meters – measures the energy imported and exported to and from the network.

Installing solar panels can help to reduce your energy usage and export excess energy to the grid for other customers to use. By teaming this with battery storage, you can also store energy you produce for later use, for example at night or during an outage.


Large embedded generators

Other connections to our network may include larger generation units (including solar, rotating or battery or combinations of those) that support our commercial and industrial clients. Batteries can also provide emergency back-up power during power outages.


Electric vehicles

Electric vehicles (or EVs) are quiet, efficient and powered by an electric motor, instead of a traditional gasoline engine. EV drivers can install a charger at home and charge their car when not in use, and top-up at public charging stations throughout the day. The future of transport is electric 1060KB PDF brochure talks more about EVs and how we are using them in our fleet.


Microgrids

A microgrid is made up of generators, batteries and renewable energy (like solar) shared between a number of customers. They can be connected to the network but can also operate independently which means power can still be accessed during an outage. A microgrid could be as small as three houses with solar panels and batteries, or as large as an entire community. We’re carrying out trials to better understand these microgrids, and find out what impact they have on the network.


Virtual Power Plants

A Virtual Power Plant (VPP) is made up of home solar and battery systems, spread over hundreds or thousands of houses, that work together to power these homes and then export any excess energy back to the network. We’re working with VPP operators to understand how this type of energy can be managed to benefit customers and what impact it will have on the network.


What are we doing to support this technology?

As the way we use power continues to change, our work and the way we meet your requirements will change too. Discover more about the future of the electricity industry, plus our focus, plans and strategies to support this emerging technology.