Australian property group Stockland is developing a new suburb on the outskirts of Caloundra on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast that will offer buyers the option to build a house with solar and battery storage included – a combination that is said to be able to power those households from “dawn to dusk.”
The $5 billion greenfield community, called Aura, opened the doors to its display village last month, featuring 40 new 7 Star NatHERS rated homes, designed by 24 Australian builders and designers. Current land packages at Aura’s first suburb, Baringa, are priced from $203,400 to $344,150 and range from 250 square metres to 716 square metres.
Among the homes on display is the Oakdale 198, an offering from builder Integrale Homes, which includes a Tesla Powerwall 2 as part of what it describes as a “next generation solar home battery system offering home owners the chance to save substantially on their energy bills.”
The lithium-ion, 14kWh Powerwall 2 battery storage units, the latest residential offering from US giant Tesla, began being installed in Australian homes in May, offering double the energy storage capacity of the Powerwall 1, for nearly half the cost per kilowatt-hour.
Their arrival on the market was well-timed to coincide with what many are predicting will be a major boom in Australia’s home battery storage market, as households and small businesses – feeling the pinch of some of the highest electricity prices in the developed world – look to make the most of their solar power, and to minimise their consumption from the grid.
The solar plus storage option at Aura is one of an increasing number being offered at new-build housing projects, where energy efficient design and smart appliances – and even rooftop solar – are increasingly expected to be included as standard features.
As we reported here in July 2016, a mini-suburb on the outskirts of the Melbourne CBD being developed by Glenvill Homes included rooftop solar and the Tesla Powerwall 1 as standard design features of its 60 new homes.
A separate Melbourne green housing development – a 49 residence project owned by local developer Codstream and sited alongside Merri Creek in Northcote – included rooftop solar, a total of around 160kW, and Tesla battery storage throughout: 7kWh Powerwall 1s in each of the 20 townhouses and a larger “Powerpack” of as-yet undetermined size in the 29-residence apartment building.
And in two different collaborations between solar and battery installer CSR Bradford and building groups in Victoria and NSW, the Powerwall was being either as a standard in every new home, or recommended as an optional extra for off-the-plan houses.
In the ACT, a suburb is being developed where new-build homes must have a minimum of 3kW rooftop solar, with the option to add a 5.3kWh lithium-ion Panasonic battery storage system, installed under the ACT government’s Next Generation Renewables Energy Storage Scheme.
And back in Queensland, another of Australia’s major housing developers, the Melbourne-Based group Metricon, is offering customers who upgrade to their “luxury living” model a 5-6kW Solar ChargePack, including solar panels, a SolarEdge inverter and Tesla 2 battery pack.
As Tesla itself then claimed, the Metricon 5kW offer was expected to give the average house of four up to 90 per cent electricity self sufficiency on an average day, while the 6kW solar offer was said to give the average Australian family “little or no reliance on the grid.”
The companies behind the Aura offering are promising much the same.
“With double the storage of the Tesla Powerwall 1, this battery should power a home from dawn to dusk,” said Murray Riley, director of Intergrale Homes.
“The Tesla Powerwall 2 is proving to be a huge drawcard for potential buyers weary of being on the receiving end of endless price hikes in energy bills,” he said.
Beyond the Powerwall, Stockland says all homes in the Aura community will include peak smart air conditioning, water tanks, off peak wiring for appliances and a requirement for all roofs to have a solar absorption rating of less than 0.5 to reduce heat in the home and the heat island effect of the suburb.
Many of the homes also incorporate north-facing windows to gather winter sun, as well as “raked ceilings” to provide greater air volume and cross flow ventilation to help keep homes cool.
Features of the village include an electric car charging station and smart LED street lighting, that will use 50 per cent less energy than standard street lights.
“These features are highlighted throughout the village, and potential buyers can do a walking tour to see each technology in action,” said Ben Simpson, the regional manager for Stockland.
“Each home has been designed to world-class sustainable living standards and with affordability in mind, ensuring the homes are energy and water efficient to reduce household living expenses for their owners,” he said.
Current land sizes at Aura’s first suburb, Baringa, are priced from $203,400 to $344,150 and range from 250 square metres to 716 square metres.