Solar, batteries and microgrids
Microgrids in residential areas
Rob Catchlove has led a community project to develop a residential microgrid in Brunswick West. This is a pilot project, with a strong consumer push (80% interest based on face to face discussions with all residents) to explore new solutions for managing and sharing electricity in an established street. While the final goal is to create a microgrid run on renewables and enable consumers to spend less on electricity, the purpose is also to experiment and learn about the best technical, financial and regulatory solutions for established streets and precincts within a city. Though the best model is still unclear (for consumers, distributors and retailers), we intend to investigate and learn by doing. From our research we have ascertained there is a consumer willingness to participate and invest in new technologies, with the potential for reduced peak loads, increased knowledge base, and a transition to a low carbon economy.
Solar and battery options - Altona
Wave Consulting completed a feasibility study for a large electricity user and manufacturing plant in Altona, in the western suburbs of Melbourne. We reviewed the potential for more solar panels and battery storage, to offset grid purchased electricity. Subsequently, our recommendation was to proceed with solar at one site, but not the other.
Additionally, we recommended investigating other energy retailers to obtain a more competitive tariff.
Review of Building Integrated Photovoltaics - Impact Investment Group and Woods Bagot
Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) are clear glass windows that generate electricity! Wave Consulting reviewed some BIPVs as part of a project to develop energy and water options for a brownfield redevelopment site. We engaged with suppliers and researchers to consider the pros and cons of three BIPVs:
- Transparent glass containing photovoltaic technology
- Adhesive photovoltaic cells.
- Roofing materials embedded with photovoltaic cells.
We discovered these products are currently being developed in Australia, and trialled in different environments around the country. All options are relatively expensive, but represent innovations and have a powerful message when displayed in public places such as schools and leisure centres.
Residential battery solution for holiday home
There are 33 varieties of batteries for residential homes on the market in Australia (and more arriving every day). The technology is complex and can be difficult for consumers or owner/builder’s to determine what it all means and what product is best for their needs.
Wave Consulting has worked with battery suppliers and Brunswick Builders to design and select the right battery solution for a sustainable house in Point Lonsdale. This system, integrated with a 3 kW photovoltaic system, has enabled the residents to store excess electricity generated during the day to be used for cooking, heating, hot water and watching a bit of TV.
Zero emissions house conversion
Wave Consulting has designed and delivered a zero emissions house through a combination of energy efficiency, transition away from gas (cooktop, heating and hot water) and new photovoltaics and batteries. The house is now running on solar and battery power 95% of the time and doesn’t incur any cost for gas usage or connections. We plan to extend the zero emissions house to zero emissions transport through the adoption of an electric car!
We researched and reviewed other sustainable houses, completed the financial modelling, engaged with suppliers and researchers, and worked with a variety of installers to implement the best system. The most challenging part of the transition is the heating and cooling in a house.