More people living in rental accommodation will soon have access to cheaper, renewable energy as part of an Australian-first microgrid project led by energy solutions company Ovida. For more information see the IDTechEx report on Distributed Generation: Minigrid Microgrid Zero Emission 2018-2038.
The Victorian Minister for Energy Lily D'Ambrosio launched the first site of Ovida's $2.3 million Community Energy Hubs project - a 52-resident community housing apartment building in Preston with a solar and battery storage system making solar energy available to all residents.
"This initiative uses smart technology to bring renewable energy to people who were not able to access it in the past such as renters and low income earners. It will drive down their electricity bills by providing solar power that is cheaper than their grid electricity costs," said Ovida Executive General Manager Chris Judd. "Ovida installs, operates and maintains the solar panels, batteries and energy distribution technology free of charge. Residents and tenants have the opportunity to opt-in to the initiative and will continue to have choice over their electricity retailer. This is an exciting milestone as it is the first time this microgrid technology has been used to allow one solar and battery installation on an apartment building to be shared with all apartments."
At the heart of the installation is Australian-made technology designed by Melbourne-based company Allume Energy.
"Our world-first SolShare allows a single solar and battery system to be shared amongst multiple customers in the same building," said Allume Energy Chief Operating Officer Alex Marks. "We're excited to see the SolShare reduce electricity bills for renters in community housing."
The initiative is supported by a $980,000 grant from the Victorian Government's Microgrid Demonstration Initiative and includes project partners Allume Energy, Australian Energy Foundation, Housing Choices Australia, and RMIT University.
This apartment building is the first of several sites for the Community Energy Hubs project with more sites expected to be installed across Melbourne in 2020.
Source and top image: Ovida