Gippsland’s First Solar Microgrid Powered Residential Development

Lourdes Garden Estate - Solar Microgrid

Korumburra in Gippsland, Victoria will soon boast a solar powered residential development backed by a microgrid, designed for those aged 55+.

Said to be a first for Gippsland,  Lourdes Garden Estate won’t be a huge development, consisting of just 12 two- and three-bedroom units.

“We’ve put a lot of thought into our design, so home owners can live independent of traditional electricity infrastructure,” said iCUE Homes Managing Director, Colin Ure. “From solar panels and batteries to 12-48-volt wiring for running low voltage appliances, we tick all the boxes.”

It’s hard to tell from the press release whether the solar panels and batteries installed with the homes form the entire microgrid, or whether additional solar and storage separate to the homes augments that. To live entirely “independently of traditional electricity infrastructure” could have done with some clarification and there was no information in the release on the size of the solar or battery systems.

A microgrid is a local network of electricity generation and energy storage sources capable of operating either connected to the mains grid or disconnected from it – such as in the case of a blackout.

Microgrids have been receiving more attention in Victoria recently, with the Andrews Labor Government splashing out cash to support their development through a $3 million grant program in the Latrobe Valley specifically, in addition to its $10 million Microgrid Demonstration Program announced late last year.

iCUE Homes evolved as a result of Mr. Ure being unable to find a suitable affordable and eco-friendly kit home for his own use – so he designed his own.

Major components of the homes will be prefabricated and flat-pack delivered to the Korumburra site at 124 Gabriella Way.

  “We’re minimising waste, production time and environmental impact through our prefabrication process,” says Mr. Ure.

Other features of the units include optimised orientation, double glazed windows, insulated floor and roof panels, underfloor insulation and low energy appliances and lighting. Among the facilities at the development will be a community veggie garden and electric vehicle charger.

Pricing/ongoing fees information isn’t available on the iCUE Homes web site, but you can register interest in receiving further details there. A couple of rushed questions I sent yesterday regarding the solar/storage specifications weren’t answered at the time of publishing, but it was pretty late in the afternoon when I emailed the company.

This will be the first residential development from iCUE Homes, but it is aspiring to similar developments in regions within two hours from major capital cities across Australia.

Construction of Lourdes Garden Estate is expected to commence in the next couple of months.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. Hi Guys,
    I’m catching roof run off for home use in a rural area Sth of Korumburra without water reticulation so I’m wholly dependent on the quality of the water I catch. Do you know if there is any recent research into the possible contamination of runoff washing over rooftop solar panels and brackets resulting in leaching of heavy metals or additives or nanoparticles from PV panels?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Chris

      I personally am fine with drinking water that has run off solar panels. I would recommend removing any broken panels just in case, but that’s common sense for electrical equipment. There is very little in the way of dangerous materials in a modern silicon solar panel. Compared to other potential sources of contamination such as rubbing my fingers across a smartphone everyday I feel safe.

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