In what is being described as an Australian first, a solar power trial for apartment blocks in northern Melbourne might be heralding how apartments will be powered in the future.
The trial, which is being organised by solar and battery company Ovida, plans to use smart technology to provide solar energy to residents in three sites for 10 years.
“Traditionally solar arrangements in multitenanted apartment blocks have been all or nothing – meaning all residents had to invest in and use the system for it to work,” said Ovida spokesperson, Paul Adams.
“We know this can be a challenge because apartment blocks often include long-term residents, owners, and short-term occupants who each have different energy needs and expectations.
“In particular, we are unlocking solar power for renters and tenants which, to date, have been undeservedly locked out of microgrid and renewable technology. Thanks to this initiative, they now also have an opportunity to experience solar generated power; a market traditionally dominated by owner-occupiers.”
The equipment for the trial will also be provided to the residents free of charge.
“This removes inequality in the market place and by trialling the microgrid technology, we can explore how companies can viably supply such solutions – again, with no financial commitment required from homeowners,” Mr Adams said.
“The solar power generated by the smart microgrid is designed to always be cheaper than the network supply, so the greater the amount of solar energy used by the resident, the lower their bills.
“We are confident this technology can be scaled up across Victoria, and nationally, giving more people the opportunity to cut their bills and utilise solar power,” Mr Adams said.
The Victorian government have assisted in this trial through a $980,000 grant and will consist of the installation of solar panels and batteries while also using cloud-based software and communications channels, enabling multiple residents to utilise a single solar system.