Over the past two years, the words “renewable energy” and ” battery storage” have been on the lips of Australian homeowners.
Rising electricity prices, coupled with grid uncertainty have made it an absolute necessity for people to feel they are in control over how, when and where they use their power, while also saving money.
This large-scale consumer appetite for incorporating this new emerging technology with the proven benefits of solar power means it’s time for savvy property developers to consider adding renewables to their future developers.
Here are the top five reasons why developers should consider incorporating renewable energy solutions including solar and battery storage solutions within their future builds.
As more developments emerge around the country, the words “smart city” are on the lips of many property developers.
“The definition of a smart city is not necessarily all automated, but it’s certainly tech savvy,” founder and chief executive of Natural Solar Chris Williams said.
With the rise of Google Home, Amazon Alexa and more people seeking options like electric vehicles, the trend for future development is focused on fully integrated solutions.
Advancements in home battery power intelligence will seamlessly incorporate batteries that can activate lights and appliances, giving residents a seamless living experience.
“Developers are now more than ever wanting to leave behind more than just houses in a development,” Williams said.
“For many it’s about creating a legacy that builds brand value, makes an impact and is aligned to their core beliefs.
“These are visionaries inspired by technology integrations, net zero housing developments with no carbon emissions and sustainability for the next generation.”
In the current falling housing market, there’s never been more of a need for developers to find ways to speed up the sales process and appeal to a wider range of buyers.
Incorporating battery power within a development is a big selling point for many buyers, and can easily generate more leads and interest in a property that can convert to sales.
“The consumer demand for battery power shows the wide range of people who are interested in exploring battery solutions,” Williams said.
“Developers who don’t focus on integrating these options into properties, and offering solutions such as sonnenFlat which offers a flat monthly rate for electricity when coupled with a sonnenBatterie, may be removing themselves from the consideration process for buyers.
“Interest in solar and battery power is a huge selling point for prospective buyers, giving them the opportunity to save more than $2,000 each year on their power bills.”
The recent government subsidies for batteries are making this an even more attractive prospect for homeowners, allowing them to save more money and future proof their home all while adding considerable asset value to their home.
“We’ve seen it behave as a huge motivation when it comes to making a purchase for many developers,” Williams said.
Reduced reliance on the grid is a big selling point for both developers and buyers.
“Microgrid and virtual power plant technology not only promotes power sharing between neighbours and homes, but also means properties within a development need to draw from the grid significantly less as a group,” Williams said.
Microgrids and virtual power plants are increasingly gaining more attention from both developers and buyers with the integration of blockchain technology in Kurnell (south of Sydney) making global headlines.
“At Natural Solar, we’ve employed a team of microgrid specialists able to develop customised solutions for new properties.
“We see this as a huge investment in the future of how groups of people can use their power, which will take a great development and transform it into something exceptional,” Williams said.
In any building, some of the largest costs involve powering communal locations including lights in hallways, gym facilities or lifts.
This is leading to the exploration of embedded networks for many developers and strata companies who are looking to offset these costs.
“Embedded networks not only benefit residents by using solar and battery power to run these communal elements, but can also act as an additional revenue stream for strata and developers,” Williams said.
“Additional and ongoing revenues can be created through embedded networks, while still offering far lower electricity rates for homeowners than what is available through a traditional retailer.
“Additional flexibility through customised configurations for a development can allow surplus solar power to offset communal facilities.
“In doing so, an ongoing reduction in strata levies can be achieved, further increasing the attractiveness to buyers by way of ongoing reduced living costs.
“This can be a key driver for consumer decision making, particularly in the current normalising market where a point of difference is more important than ever.
“We also see consumers feeling a greater sense of community by using an embedded network.
“By joining together to purchase electricity in a larger scale, this greater buying power reduces the cost for everyone within the development.”
For many developer scenarios renewables aren’t a luxury – they’ve become a necessity when it comes to allowing a build to occur.
“Many of the developers we work with are driven to move to battery storage based on the sky-high costs of grid upgrades,” Williams said.
In some instances where it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to make these upgrades, developers can instead elect to power these homes through a combination of battery, solar and the traditional grid.
“Our team of engineers at Natural Solar have developed a range of solutions designed to reduce the volume of power drawn from the grid by up to 90 per cent.
“This solution has meant that in certain cases developers have had to spend a fraction of the anticipated price, while receiving all of the added benefits of battery power and storage solutions,” Williams said.
These costs are based on the SA Power network in Adelaide but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes a general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on Energy Locals Time of Use Tariff – (TOU – Peak, Off-Peak & Solar Sponge).
The reference price is set by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) for a financial year in relation to electricity supply to residential customers in the distribution region and is based on an assumed annual usage amount. Any difference between the reference price and the unconditional price of a plan is expressed as a percentage more or less than the reference price. The terms of any conditional discounts are shown, along with any further difference between the reference price and the discount applied if a condition is met, expressed as a percentage more or less than the reference price.