Swiss fund manager SUSI Partners has acquired a 50% interest in Starling Energy Group, an Australian installer of integrated solar PV and energy storage systems for the residential sector.
Carried out through SUSI’s Energy Transition Fund (SETF), the deal will see the fund manager provide additional capital for the rollout of more than 10,000 distributed solar and storage systems over the coming years
Through its Plico Energy arm, Starling helps homeowners to become largely self-sufficient energy consumers through a combination of rooftop PV, battery storage and dispatch optimisation.
SUSI said that once sufficient scale has been reached, individual systems can be operated as a virtual power plant (VPP), using software to optimise consumption and dispatch patterns of multiple distributed energy systems while also providing grid services.
“SETF’s funding commitment ensures that customers face no upfront costs, thus significantly increasing demand and accelerating the deployment of the systems,” SUSI Partners said.
The announcement comes after Starling secured an AU$50 million (US$36 million) infrastructure funding agreement with SUSI in 2019 to support the rollout of residential solar-plus-storage systems in Western Australia.
The potential for VPP’s featuring solar and storage to ease demand on the grid is being explored through a pilot programme unveiled by the state government of Victoria earlier this year, as part of efforts to encourage the take-up of rooftop PV.
Elsewhere, US solar installer SunPower last month launched a VPP solution that it said allows homeowners to earn “hundreds of dollars per year” in exchange for allowing utilities to discharge their battery during times of peak energy demand.