A microgrid is designed so that a small number of property owners and tenants can generate, share and store their own energy.
Microgrid participants who have their own renewable source, like rooftop solar, generate energy to power their own building.
Excess energy is then supplied to others in the collective microgrid community who do not have the roof space or capital to buy solar panels.
Any excess energy generated beyond that can be stored in a centralised super battery for reuse within the microgrid community, or sold back to the main grid. The microgrid can stay connected to the main grid to sell excess and ensure continuity of energy supply.
By sharing renewable energy that is locally generated, stored and distributed, people can cut their energy costs while reducing carbon emissions.
It also helps keep money local so that instead of spending money outside the region, dollars stay circulating in the community, providing jobs, and helping fund local initiatives.
More than 30 businesses taking part
Enova is the leading partner in a microgrid pilot project at Byron Bay Arts & Industry Estate, in collaboration with Essential Energy, LO3 Energy, Wattwatchers and the University of NSW.
More than 30 businesses in an industrial estate are taking part in this project and it’s the first of what we hope will be many self-sufficient electricity microgrids Enova helps to roll out.
We aim to develop a model that can be copied by communities across NSW and ultimately Australia – starting with industrial estates and similar commercial areas, and eventually residential areas.
LightnUp Inc. is a not-for-profit community organisation situated in the heart of Lismore. It runs the Lismore Lantern Parade, an annual community arts festival attracting over 300,000 people on or around the winter solstice: the longest night of the year.
After having their premises devastated by 3-metre flood waters in the wake of Cyclone Debbie, LightnUp Inc had to rely heavily on the generosity and kindness of the local community as it cleaned up its workshop and rebuilt lanterns in time for this year’s parade.
To help them thrive in their new location, Enova Community assisted them to access an interest free loan through CORENA to install energy efficient lighting and solar panels on their new building.
RED Inc. was established 30 years ago and is a much loved disability services provider in the Northern Rivers. We’ve supported RED Inc. using the assistance of philanthropic co-funding and crowd funding to buy solar panels. This was Enova Community’s first social benefit project.
Enova Community has also partnered with COREM (Community Owned Renewable Energy Mullumbimby) to support other local community organisations to place solar panels on their rooftops, with an ongoing arrangement to contribute $1000 for Community groups supported by COREM’s revolving solar fund from the Enova Regional Development Initiative (RDI) Fund. Other groups that have been supported via this initiative to bring solar to the community, include Jasper Corner, the Federal Community Hall and the Mullumbimby Commons.