Community mini grid trial shows power of solar + batteries

home storage

Australia’s first mini grid trial in an established community is being launched in the Melbourne suburb of Mooroolbark today by Victorian Energy Minister Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP and AusNet Services managing director Nino Ficca.

Fourteen homes with residential solar systems and batteries are taking part in the trial, which is hoped to demonstrate homes can generate, store and share renewable electricity with each other as a ‘mini grid’ via their local powerlines.

Mr Ficca said it’s an groundbreaking experiment, and thanked the residents for their willingness to participate.

“AusNet Services is excited to partner with the community to develop systems that may give consumers the choice to share their solar-generated electricity with their communities, potentially lower their bills and support the electricity network,” he said.

Throughout the next 12 months, AusNet Services will focus on monitoring consumption levels and behaviours for each participating household so individual houses can be disconnected from the electricity grid, operating solely on the solar energy generated and stored in their batteries.

The final stage of the trial will use AusNet Services’ control system to share stored renewable electricity between the homes in the street as a genuine ‘mini grid’ system.

“We’ve developed a control system that will monitor and manage energy flows within the mini grid. This system will enable the energy that is stored in batteries to be shared between houses, based on the needs of the individual houses, the diversity of customer loads within the mini grid and the needs of the network,” Mr Ficca said.

“This project builds upon the learnings gained from a residential battery trial we recently completed, which identified benefits for both consumers and electricity networks, and the need to find ways for both parties to work together to realise these benefits.”

AusNet Services’ three-year battery storage trial tested how residential batteries can export electricity into the grid to support the network during peak demand times, during unplanned outages, such as storm events, and as a solution that may delay or offset network investment.