Renewable energy technology, such as solar panels and battery storage, has revolutionized the way households consume and trade electricity. One of the key players in this growing market is Amber, a company that allows customers to maximize their consumption of solar power and make money by selling excess energy back to the grid. While the concept is promising, there are both advantages and challenges to consider.
By setting their own terms, customers using Amber’s app can determine the minimum battery or electric vehicle (EV) capacity they want to start the day with. During periods of ample solar power and low prices, the app charges their batteries, enabling them to maximize their consumption. Conversely, when energy supply is low and prices are high, customers can discharge their batteries, selling the energy back to the grid.
One customer, Mr. Nankivell, experienced the benefits of this system firsthand. During a market disruption, he earned hundreds of dollars a day by utilizing his solar panels and battery storage. On most days, he generates enough credit to cover his household’s energy costs, leaving him with either no utility bill or a small credit. This level of independence from retailers has been a game changer for him, reducing his monthly expenses significantly.
However, there are obstacles to widespread adoption of this technology. For example, some households have chosen not to join virtual power plants, where consumer energy resources are aggregated to manage electricity supply and demand. Large retailers have offered unappealing terms, seeking control of customers’ batteries for minimal compensation. Amber’s approach is different. They aim to empower consumers by providing them with the tools they need to unlock the value of their batteries and EVs themselves.
Another challenge is the limited number of EV models currently capable of discharging energy back to the grid. However, this is expected to change as more manufacturers, including Tesla and Volvo, plan to introduce two-way charging capabilities in their vehicles. As more EVs come online, the potential for widespread adoption of battery and EV trading increases, leading to reduced energy costs for customers and the entire electricity market.
Amber plans to expand its vehicle-to-grid charging service in South Australia next year, with other states likely to follow suit. The company believes that by unlocking the capacity of batteries and EVs, both individual households and the overall energy market will benefit from lower costs during peak demand.
Q: How does Amber’s app work?
A: Amber’s app allows customers to set their own terms for battery and EV trading, maximizing consumption when prices are low and selling excess energy back to the grid when prices are high.
Q: How do customers benefit from battery and EV trading?
A: Customers can earn money by selling excess energy from their batteries and EVs back to the grid. This reduces or eliminates their monthly utility bills.
Q: What are the obstacles to widespread adoption of battery and EV trading?
A: Some households have chosen not to join virtual power plants due to unappealing offers from large retailers. Additionally, the limited number of EV models currently capable of discharging energy back to the grid is a challenge, although this is expected to change in the future.