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A 52-resident community housing apartment with a solar and battery storage system has been launched in the Melbourne suburb of Preston – the first site of Ovida’s $2.3million Community Energy Hubs project. 

The Australian-first microgrid project will allow all the building residents to have access to solar energy.

Ovida Executive General Manager, Chris Judd, said, “This initiative uses smart technology to bring renewable energy to people who were not able to access it in the past such as renters and low income earners. 

“It will drive down their electricity bills by providing solar power that is cheaper than their grid electricity costs.”

Mr Judd said Ovida installs, operates and maintains the solar panels, batteries and energy distribution technology free of charge, meaning residents and tenants have the opportunity to opt-in to the initiative.

“This is an exciting milestone as it is the first time this microgrid technology has been used to allow one solar and battery installation on an apartment building to be shared with all apartments,” Mr Judd said.

SolShare, the technology used in the installation, is designed by Melbourne-based company Allume Energy.

Allume Energy Chief Operating Officer, Alex Marks, said, “Our world-first SolShare allows a single solar and battery system to be shared amongst multiple customers in the same building.

“We’re excited to see the SolShare reduce electricity bills for renters in community housing.”

The initiative is supported by a $980,000 grant from the Victorian Government’s Microgrid Demonstration Initiative and includes project partners Allume Energy, Australian Energy Foundation, Housing Choices Australia, and RMIT University.

This apartment building is the first of several sites for the Community Energy Hubs project with more sites expected to be installed across Melbourne in 2020.

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