Huntlee Off-Grid Development

off-grid housing

“If it can be done for a house, why can’t it be done for a town?” was the solar powered thought running through the mind of Off-Grid Energy Australia’s NSW manager, Damien Griffith as a standalone power system was installed on his Hunter Valley farm in 2009.

Huntlee is a 7500 home development, with a planned large town centre and a number of neighbourhood village centres, servicing an eventual population of 25,000 people. It is a development that closely considers the creation of a new social fabric as the new community is born.

The beginnings of the “autonomous town” project began in earnest in early 2012 after LWP property NSW General Manager Ian Wilks, agreed to incubate and fund the challenging journey Mr Griffith was proposing to decentralise utilities and take the town off grid. This journey saw the creation of the Huntlee Energy and Technology Alliance (HETA) where a number of experts in their respective fields met regularly to collaborate on the vision of decentralised utility provision, with a major focus on energy.

HETA Members:
LWP Property Group (Developer), Worley Parsons (Project Manager), Lume Energy (Project Concept & HETA Chair), Off-Grid Energy (Solar PV & Storage), Simons Green Energy (Co-gen & Thermal), Flow Systems (Water), Opticomm (Communications), Jemena (Gas), Frank Klostermann (Waste to Energy).

System Design: 

Off-Grid Energy, together with co-gen and thermal network experts Simon’s Green Energy found that the levelised cost of energy per lot is substantially lower for the microgrid than if the development were to connect to the national grid.

The initial design found the optimal balance between sufficient baseload power, and maximum renewable content.

Load control at individual premises and demand side management functionality will be included in Huntlee house design. Electric vehicle (EV) charging at the premise has included in the utility design, and the potential for time-of-use EV charging incentives has been identified.

Project Development:

$442,000 in ARENA funding will allow global asset manager, Brookfield Energy, to complete a $1.1 million dollar further study into reglatory requirements for microgrid implementation in Australia.

Microgrid System on Luxury Farm Estate

containerised batteries

Objective:

The system was required to provide the equivalent reliability, capacity (kW), and energy (kWh) availability of the grid, whilst maintaining an economic advantage.

The buildings on the property which required power included horse stables, heated swimming pool, bore pump, workshop, 2x guesthouses, painters studio, and of course the main residence.

Site Considerations:

No consistent view of the solar array or equipment building, hear no noise from the backup generator at the main living areas of the property, and not disturb the resident wombats.

System Design: 

The system design provides an average yearly solar contribution of 117%, peak delivery capacity of 300A per phase, with a 250kVA super silenced generator backup. AC coupled configuration allows the inverter/charger, solar inverters and generator to ‘layer’ and provide high peak power capacity.

  • 264 x Trina 260W Modules (68kW)
  • Ground mounted frames at 30° pitch
  • 3 x SMA STP20000TL Solar Inverters
  • 18 x SMA SI8.0 Inv/Ch (144kW)
  • 144 x BAE PVV1800 VRLA Batteries
  • 250kVA FG Wilson diesel generator
  • SMA Multicluster 36 Box switchboard
  • SMA Webbox Monitoring system

Project Outcome:

Off site assembly of the containerised equipment housing allowed for cost reduction, quality control, and passive cooling techniques to be included. Significant ground-works removed system visibility from the main residence. Generator sound attenuation achieved 65dba at 7m distance, and efforts were made to ensure a high-quality aesthetic.

“Communication was excellent, the team was professional and had a great attention-to-detail. They made sure every step of the process was delivered on time, and without compromise.”

Grid Home With Energy Independence

Energy Independence

Objective:

Customer has a large house with large loads and wanted their property to have the latest technology, a level of energy backup and reduced energy costs.

Load Analysis:

20-24kWh average daily winter/summer demand; large potential peak loads

Site Considerations:

3-phase grid power; ground mount solar array frames required

System Design:

  • OEA Grid Autonomy 180-48 (Smart Home) System – 18kW 3-phase output
  • OEA Adapt mount – installs in customers shed
  • 32kWh sealed gel battery storage
  • 9.2kW Polycrystalline solar array on ground mounts
  • SMA Home Manager energy management system and monitoring

 

Award-Winning Off-Grid Sustainable Home

Tilted solar array

Objective:

Customers existing standalone power system was insufficient for their needs. Required larger capacity for a new build. Integrate old solar modules too.

Load Analysis:

11.1-11.7kWh average daily winter/summer demand; 6kW design surge

Site Considerations:

Large shed available for installation; bring old solar PV up to standards

System Design:

  • OEA Complete 80-48 System – 8kW 1-phase output
  • OEA Adapt mount – install in shed
  • 57kWh sealed gel battery storage
  • 4kW Polycrystalline solar array on optimal tilt frames on shed roof – yielding an estimated 132% of average demand, and 110% in winter
  • Integrate old solar array also via dc-shunt and FM80 controller
  • 5KVA backup generator (autostart)

Off-Grid Independence & Cold Beer!

SMA Inverters and Batteries

Objective:

Facing a cost to connect grid power to their new block, the customer wanted to avoid relying on the grid anyway due to poor local network reliability. Significant load demand requirements, and stressed the importance of their temprite beer cooler too.

Load Analysis:

40-41kWh average daily winter/summer demand; 18.5kW design surge

Site Considerations:

Ground mount solar array frames needed; equipment shed available; long underground cable runs necessary

System Design:

  • OEA Complete 160-48 System – 16kW 1-phase output
  • OEA Adapt mount – install in shed
  • 99kWh sealed gel battery storage
  • 14kW Polycrystalline solar array on ground frames – yielding an estimated 139% of average demand, and 106% in winter
  • 9KVA backup generator (autostart)

Large New Home with High Cost of Grid Connection

off grid battery storage

Objective:

Had a cost of connection, which encouraged him to explore off grid. New build home with 2 semi-detached dwellings (both occupied). Needed a large capacity and robust system to deal with a large potential demand.

As an accountant understood the benefits/economics of owning your own power station supply.

Load Analysis:

51-45kWh average daily winter/summer demand; 16.5kW design surge

Site Considerations:

Large shed available for optimal system installation

System Design:

  • OEA Comprehensive 160-48 System – 16kW 1-phase output
  • OEA Adapt mount – install in shed
  • 136kWh sealed gel battery storage (made to order)
  • 3kW Monocrystalline solar array flush + optimally tilted on shed roof – yielding an estimated 119% of average demand, and 90% in winter
  • 9KVA backup generator (autostart)

Off-Grid Solar EnergyBox

off grid solar array

Objective:

Wanted power on site before family home and shed build commences. Had strong sustainability motivations. The system was required to power a shed initially and a house later on.

Load Analysis:

22-24kWh average daily winter/summer demand; 10.2kW design surge

Site Considerations:

No infrastructure available. Solar ground frames + self contained EnergyBox required

System Design:

  • OEA Complete 130-48 System – 13kW 1-phase output
  • OEA EnergyBox System – install under solar ground frames
  • 79kWh sealed gel battery storage
  • 5kW Polycrystalline solar array on ground frames – yielding an estimated 168% of average demand, and 123% in winter

No Electricity Bills

Solar panel installation

Objective:

Strong green motivations and also to negate electricity bills.

Was very keen to incorporate the system design into the home. Actively involved throughout planning, and this provided an excellent integrated result.

Load Analysis:

14.2-17.5kWh average daily winter/summer demand; 5,2kW design surge

Site Considerations:

Custom built equipment room, and large optimised solar roof area

System Design:

  • OEA Grid Autonomy 60-48 (Import Only) System – 6kW 1-phase output
  • OEA Adapt mount – install in plant room
  • 31kWh sealed gel battery storage
  • 5kW Polycrystalline solar array on north roof surface – yielding an estimated 120% of average demand, and 73% in winter