Our good friends in Yackandandah have pulled off yet another remarkable project. On the 8th of July, a crowd gathered in Yackandandah to witness the unveiling of a community-owned battery – affectionately known as Yack 01.
The town of Yackandandah set itself the goal of switching to 100% renewable power by the year 2022. So much has been achieved!
Now, a diverse range of contributors have facilitated the installation of a 274kWh Sungrow battery, coupled with a 65kW bi-facial solar array and a Mondo Ubi. Hosted on the old town sawmill site, the current owner, Ben Gilbert, explained Yack 01 is most definitely “the way of the future.” Ben himself is no stranger to courage and visionary undertakings. His business, the Agency of Sculpture, creates whimsical and bold steel, timber, and stone sculptures for clients across Australia and overseas, and he further notes, “…we have barely started to understand the art of the possible when it comes to clean, local and resilient electricity.”
The solar and battery system idea emerged some six years ago, noting the need to underpin town-scale microgrids with more significant generation and storage systems. Our community partner, Totally Renewable Yackandandah, received funding from the Into Our Hands Foundation to research and locate their first larger community generation and storage system and then set about fundraising $104,000 to seed the project.
The Victorian Government entity, Sustainability Victoria, put forward $100,000 to underwrite a low-interest loan with WAW Credit Union, an enthusiastic advocate for renewable energy.
In steps community-owned social enterprise Indigo Power, which also will share 50% of annual profits back to the communities in which they operate. Indigo Power will own and operate the battery on behalf of the Yackandandah community. They have determinedly worked through the funding, technical and physical challenges of transitioning the community battery from concept to completion.
Along the way, they also worked with Totally Renewable Yackandandah (TRY) to succeed on a $171,000 grant from the Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning. This funding boost allowed a doubling of the battery from the original size and addressed the breadth of engineering challenges that emerged.
Fast forward, and we can now witness the battery in position ready to store daytime solar generation for use by Yack residents who are retail electricity customers of Indigo Power.
These customers will see online the proportion of power from local sources – either a neighbours rooftop or the community-owned asset.
Mondo is pleased to report we have provided consulting services for Indigo Power to see the battery to fruition. This has included shuffling through an AusNet Services Connection Agreement, procurement, and shipping of the battery, and ongoing partnership with the battery management system.
Our smart energy controller, Mondo Ubi, will manage the battery’s daily charge and discharge cycles based on a set schedule. However, in partnership with Indigo Power, Mondo is progressively building smart algorithms to allow the battery to respond to network and market signals. This means the battery can help manage local power consistency in the electricity network in response to voltage, frequency, and weather conditions. Equally, the battery will adapt battery activity in response to electricity market cycles to optimise tariff value for Indigo Power shareholders and customers.
One thing is clear, great things can be achieved when determined people with imagination, courage, and focus draw work cooperatively. Well done Yackandandah!