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MELBOURNE STREET TO SHARE ELECTRICITY ON MINI GRID

20-04-2016
by 
in 

Under a new trial program, a suburban street in Melbourne will use a solar mini grid to generate its own electricity.

In Melbourne’s east, fourteen homes in Mooroolbark will be set up with solar panels and batteries so they can share their electricity with neighbours.

AusNet Services, the electricity company that is running the trial, is aiming to prove that home can be taken compleltly off the grid.

"We'll have some solar panels up in their roofs, we'll have batteries in their garages, and we'll have a smart control system that means they'll work together," AusNet's general manager of asset management, Alistair Parker, told 774 ABC Melbourne's Jon Faine.

"For the first year, we'll just have people supplying their own energy and they'll be backed up by the grid. But, after a while, we'll start playing with sharing energy between the houses."

Mr Parker said the trial would cost about $15,000 per household, but prices could drop as batteries become cheaper.

"We expect the price of batteries will come down reasonably dramatically.

"One of the really interesting questions is how do you pay for sharing energy with your neighbours?"

"We're treating this as an opportunity to learn so we've gifted the infrastructure to the people and we're just pleased that they've agreed to take part," Mr Parker said.

"In a sense, as an electricity distributor, we don't have an interest in this. But we just want to get ahead of the curve and learn about what our customers are actually going to want."

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