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Electricity and gas provider EnergyAustralia has signed a deal with California-based microinverter company Enphase Energy to supply a solar photovoltaic (PV) system to its customer base.

Through the partnership, Enphase has won exclusive rights to supply its microinverter and monitoring platform for EnergyAustralia’s promotion of solar to cut energy usage through its Next Generation Solar product suite.

Enphase said in a statement that its system is designed to increase the energy generation for each roof, even in low light conditions such as partly shaded rooftops.

Commenting on the deal, Nathan Dunn, managing director, Asia Pacific, at Enphase Energy, said: “The partnership with EnergyAustralia is a big win for our Asia-Pacific operation - the first with an Australian utility - offering Enphase access to approximately 10% of the Australian population."

The retailer, which serves more than 2.6 million customers, will resell the Enphase Microinverter System as an upfront purchase or through an interest-free payment plan.

Australia's energy players adopt solar

EnergyAustralia is one of several Australian energy suppliers including AGL, Origin Energy and Synergy, which are "beefing-up the parts of their business that sell solar systems, energy storage and energy management technology", according to local media Business Spectator.

Jason Waters, CEO of Western Australia’s Synergy, is reported to have said he believes within the next decade that solar plus batteries will be cheaper than remaining connected to the grid.

In an interview with Business Spectator, Enphase's chief executive Paul Nahi said that he believes his company will be at the centre of "the revolution of energy via IT hardware plus software".

Using inverters as grid sensor

Enphase inverters relay up to a terrabyte of data daily on the performance of solar panels as well as how well power is flowing on the grid.

This means that Enphase can have as good an understanding of what is going on with the grid as a utility, the Australian news source reports.

Giving an example of how Enphase worked with Hawaii's grid operator, Enphase was able to tell the grid operator where they had voltage issues and where they didn’t.

"Enphase actually had far better understanding of what was going on with the Hawaiian power grid than the utility (they don’t have smart meters rolled out)," said Business Spectator.

"Enphase was also able to adjust the settings of its inverters where there were potential voltage rise issues to resolve any problem. And this was all done remotely from their head office in California."