Community centre showcases renewable technology

Children from the Sorrento Early Learning Centre being shown the new technology

The Sorrento Community Centre has unveiled its newly installed solar and battery system, funded by the Victorian Government’s New Energy Jobs Fund.

The community centre has 7kW solar panels on the roof with a 6kW Fronius solar inverter and a 14kWhr Tesla Powerwall 2 battery installed on site.

Funding for the technology and installation was granted to the Community Grid Project through the Vic New Energy Jobs Fund as an innovative project that will demonstrate how to both avoid costly infrastructure and facilitate the connection of more renewable energy to the grid.

A partnership between United Energy, the Mornington Peninsula Shire and GreenSync, the Community Grid Project is focused on delivering a safe and reliable supply of electricity to the lower Mornington Peninsula during peak times and facilitates the uptake of new renewable energy technologies.

“The Community Grid will allow us to defer expensive upgrades to the network that would have catered for just a handful of peak days, supporting us to continue delivering affordable and reliable power to homes and businesses in the Mornington Peninsula region,” United Energy planning and strategy manager Rodney Bray said.

GreenSync COO Bruce Thompson said the project was a fantastic opportunity for the community centre to educate visitors about renewable energy technology.

“Community centres such as this are real ‘hubs’ for the local neighbourhood,” Mr Thompson said.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to be able to come and experience this new technology, see it in practical use and understand how they might apply that in their own home or businesses.

“The centre can now store up the solar power they are generating and make it available for other times of the day when the sun isn’t shining.

“The connection through GreenSync allows it to connect to the grid and provide that stored energy back to the grid when it needs it, for example, during a heatwave when the grid is at high demand.”

Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor and Nepean Ward Councillor Bryan Payne said with the drive to become a carbon neutral peninsula by 2021, the Community Grid Project is a great solution.

“This initiative will help residents save money on their electricity in the long-term and benefit their local community,” Councillor Payne said.

“The shire supports GreenSync and the Community Grid Project as it works towards assisting the community respond to climate change.”

The Mornington Peninsula sees peaks in energy usage on a handful of hot days in summer when the population doubles due to tourism and seasonal influx of holidaymakers, and energy demand is high.

During times of peak demand, these local businesses and others on the southern tip of the Mornington Peninsula will be offered financial incentives to temporarily reduce their electricity, or delay non-critical energy use.

By utilising a range of energy technologies, the Community Grid Project will defer a $30 million expenditure on a new transmission line from Hastings to Rosebud.

The project will support households and businesses to adopt new technologies such as solar PV and battery storage.

The coordination of these technologies benefits the network by reducing overall demand for grid electricity at times of high use.b