Solar+battery project has Victorian town on target for 100% renewables

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Totally Renewable Yackandandah’s (TRY) Community Battery project, which couples a 65 kW solar PV array and a 274 kW battery system, was officially unveiled on Thursday, edging the town closer to its community-based goal of reaching 100% renewables by 2022.

Delivered by TRY and the community owned energy company Indigo Power, the battery project – dubbed Yack 01 – is one of the first community-scale batteries in Australia. It is expected it will power up to 40 Yackandandah households.

“Yack01 is Yackandandah’s first piece of community-scale energy infrastructure and will supply power through the network to Indigo Power customers,” the TRY website reads.

“It is a pivotal first step and pilot for larger community-scale projects that will follow in our quest for 100% renewable energy.”

Indigo Power will own and operate the solar+battery facility with the tracking and sharing of local energy within the minigrid made possible by a widget developed by Mondo, an independent subsidiary of AusNet Services.

The community solar+battery project is one of two renewable energy initiatives unveiled in Yackandandah on Thursday.

The Twist Creek Microgrid, which saw solar modules, low-emission hot water services and batteries installed in nine Yackandandah homes, was also officially opened.

It is the latest of four microgrids connected into the electricity network, allowing for the trading and sharing of locally generated renewable energy.

The town is also home to a public virtual power plant (VPP), 10 public buildings hosting a combined total of 74.8 kW of solar modules and 36 kWh of battery storage.

The Yackandandah battery is craned into position.

Image: TRY

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said Yackandandah’s latest renewable projects further highlighted the power of community action.

“Totally Renewable Yackandandah and Indigo Power are setting a great example with their ambitious targets and work to get Yackandandah on 100% renewable energy by the end of next year,” she said.

“Projects like these show the community is keen to embrace renewables. This grassroots enthusiasm is so important as Victoria works to halve its emissions by 2030.”

In a bid to progress the roll out of renewables in communities across the state, D’Ambrosio announced on Thursday the state government will provide $6.5 million to expand the Community Power Hubs program and provide grants for community groups to install renewable energy and undertake energy audits.

The seven new hubs, which include one to be convened by Indigo Power in Yackandandah, will be set up in regions across the state, with each hub supporting community energy groups in their region by providing support, funding and local expertise.

The Hume Community Power Hub, to be convened by Indigo Power, will commence work immediately having already secured more than $70,000 in funding to install two rooftop solar systems totalling 144 kW.

The other hubs will be convened by Healesville Community Owned Renewable Energy, Yarra Energy Foundation based in Richmond, Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions, Geelong Sustainability Group, Gippsland Climate Change Network and Bendigo Sustainability Group.

The hubs have been funded to immediately deliver 16 solar energy projects by the end of the year.

“These community-owned and operated hubs will bring local renewable energy projects to life, drive investment in regional Victoria, create jobs and reduce energy bills,” D’Ambrosio said.

“These Community Power Hubs – spread right across Victoria – will be a one-stop-shop for anyone after advice or ideas about how to get their business or community organisation more energy efficient.”

“This is all a part of our plan to halve emissions by 2030.”

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