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Australian-first microgrid brings renewable energy to Melbourne apartment building

More people living in rental accommodation will soon have access to cheaper, renewable energy as part of an Australian-first microgrid project.

The Victorian Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio launched the first site of the $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.

The Australian Energy Foundation was engaged to provide our expertise of community engagement for a diverse group of residents to ensure a smooth delivery of the project. Information sessions and events were delivered for residents, breaking down the complexity of the project into easy to understand information, also ensuring CALD residents had the necessary translations and adaptations for their needs.

“We are delighted to see communities who are typically locked out of renewable energy, now able to access this opportunity and drive down their energy bills.” said Alison Rowe, CEO, Australian Energy Foundation.

“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.” said Ovida Executive General Manager Chris Judd.

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 through a $980,000 grant from the Victorian Government Microgrid Demonstration Initiative and includes project partners Ovida, 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.

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