Shared solar power on trial in Australian first

Wednesday, September 9, 2015 | News

A vision for shared renewable energy in strata housing as well as its implications for future sustainable housing was today showcased at a special event with the Property Council of Australia.


The ground-breaking technology, which involves creating a micro-grid using battery storage and shared solar panels, will be trialled in an Australian-first in the Gen Y Demonstration Housing Project, part of LandCorp's WGV residential development.


The Gen Y Demonstration Housing Project provides an innovative housing solution for a new generation of home buyers, consisting of three interlocking one bedroom, one bathroom apartments on a compact 250m2 block - making it an ideal opportunity to trial the shared solar power approach.


Speaking to the 150-strong crowd at the event, Lands Minister Terry Redman said more than 1.4 million households in Australia had rooftop solar panels, however very few of those were on strata housing developments or apartments.


Shared Solar Power - Australian First 


"The few examples of solar panel use in apartments have units wired individually to each dwelling. This means if one dwelling is using more energy than its panels generate, it has to buy electricity from the grid, instead of using excess power being generated on the same rooftop," he said.


"By creating a micro-grid using battery storage, the building can generate and store its own power, and the tenants pay any bills to a strata company, which manages the monitoring of the system."


The innovative trial has the potential to unlock renewable energy options for thousands of Australians and set new benchmarks for the property industry.


Construction is about to begin, and its success will be the subject of a four year research project supported by the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living, to monitor and assess energy efficiency and technology performance.


Joining the Minister to explain the technology today were key project researchers from Curtin University, Jemma Green and Professor Peter Newman, along with Balance Group's Rod Hayes.


The trial results from research collaboration between LandCorp, Curtin University, the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living, Solar Balance, Balance Group and the CSIRO.


A fact sheet outlining the trial can be viewed here.


Photos from today's event can be viewed here.


Minister Redman media statement marking today's event can be viewed here.


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