Australia’s first solar garden unlocks benefits of renewables

A way forward for microgrids.



PUBLISHED BY
Christy Gren



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11 months ago




In October 2018, Enova Community Energy, Australia’s first community-owned renewable energy retailer, began providing sustainable, clean energy for more than 5000 New South Wales residents and businesses with $5.2 million in annual revenue. Enova Community Energy is a social enterprise, returning 50 percent of the profits after tax and reinvestment back into communities via innovative projects such as microgrids, solar gardens, energy education, and energy efficiency services such as installing solar on rooftops to make renewable energy accessible by all. In order to extend its services and projects across NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, Enova partnered with one of the country’s first equity crowdfunding platforms, Crowd88.

Enova is building a partnership between retailer, consumer and network to make this happen. In addition, it will also enable additional storage managed by networks, advanced technology managing network peaks, as well as household or street batteries which are subsidized by retailers for control. All in all, Australia’s communities cost and energy-efficient.

The community-owned renewable energy retailer is now working with a range of innovators including Enosi, an open-source community energy platform

Enova is working with a range of innovators including Enosi, an open-source community energy platform providing consumers with choice, transparency and efficiency.

Enova Community Energy New South Wales Australia Solar

The future of sustainable energy provision lies in the infrastructure for consumers who both produce and consume energy to play a unique role in distributed systems.

Enosi CEO, Steve Hoy, said Enosi’s mission is to enable affordable clean electricity services for all. For any new energy model to emerge, it’s pertinent to gain higher levels of consumer trust. Furthermore, one needs to introduce new technologies that enable distributed, decentralized renewable energy generation at the community level. Enosi will enable this in the Enova’s transition process across Australian communities.

Enova has partnered with Essential Energy to pilot a mini-grid in the Byron Arts and Industry Estate. According to Crook, the modeling has been carried out by UNSW PhD students under supervision of a senior researcher living locally.

LO3 Energy, a Brooklyn, NY based company, which built a platform to enable decentralized business models and innovative technologies is now providing its software, while Watt Watchers will be providing data loggers. Meanwhile, Essential Energy will install a grid side battery.

Enova has also raised funds for marketing to acquire newer participants from NSW Dept. of Planning, Clean Energy Programs. The project will highlight the value of local energy sharing for some 300 businesses.

The future of sustainable energy provision lies in the infrastructure for consumers who both produce and consume energy to play a unique role in distributed systems.

It is more than necessary to integrate software that enables energy trading and demand management in order to seamlessly deliver energy. For small providers, it is essential to be able to keep up with the ever-increasing demands. Enova is evaluating a number of Australian software solutions, and one US option which is in various stages of development right now.

Enova Community Energy aims to prototype solutions in different pilot projects to empower its customers to manage their energy use effectively while maximizing the benefits of being energy producers.

Most solar gardens and local energy trading is not yet permitted due to rising distribution costs. Enova has conjured a unique model to enable people who cannot install solar photovoltaic on their rooftops, to “subscribe” to panels in a solar garden which is then installed on a business rooftop. In this model, solar gardeners become customers of Enova Energy.

The unique subscription model would enable businesses under the roof to receive a 30 percent discount on all solar consumption, while the subscribers receive a credit on their bills for the energy purchased and the energy exported. Consumers who rent will also be able to take their subscription with them when moving from one place to another. Enova’s subscriptions can be gifted to low-income families by community organizations.

The community-owned renewable energy retailer intends to roll out the subscription model across rooftops as Enova scales.

Enova aims to facilitate Virtual Power Plants which involve the installation of solar PV and batteries on a number of households. The householder costs no money, is not involved in the maintenance and receives all energy at a fixed price for the next 15 years. Supply charges will be increased by the Consumer Price Index after the first five years.

Enova will have the ability to utilize the store energy to offset demand at peak times so that Enova has virtual generating capacity.

Investors in Virtual Power Plants will receive a return of 5 percent plus. Enova will be able to use the stored energy to offset demand during peak times. This way Enova will have virtual generating capacity. Investors in the Virtual Power Plants will receive a return of 5% plus. Enova is also empowering social housing providers to become involved in the process which would help lower prices to homeowners in return for accepting a lower return on investment.

Enova is currently crowdfunding to expand across New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia. In 2018, Enova achieved the minimum investment level of $600,000 and working towards the next goal of $1 million via a minimum investment of $100 for 100 shares.

Christy Gren
Christy Gren is an Industry Specialist Reporter at Industry Leaders Magazine she enjoys writing about Unicorns, Silicon Valley, Startups, Business Leaders and Innovators. Her articles provide an insight about the Power Players in the field of Technology, Auto, Manufacturing, and F&B.

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