EnergyAustralia has launched pilot program that will allow its Victorian solar customers to give their excess rooftop PV generation to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, in exchange for a range of VIP experiences offered by the iconic sports stadium.
The innovative energy sharing scheme gives the MCG – which has an annual electricity demand equivalent to around 4,000 average Australian homes, but which cannot currently install its own rooftop solar system – the opportunity to be powered by renewables, locally generated of the roofs of sports fans and stadium members.
Participating solar households can bask in the glow of helping to power the “G” – including its iconic light towers and giant scoreboard screens – while being rewarded with offers like a kick-to-kick session on the hallowed ground, or special game-day packages.
The EnergyAustralia-MCG pilot is just the latest example of the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that the Australian Energy Market Operator, among others, has called for from market players and innovators, to meet the nation’s energy security challenges and drive down power prices.
Last week, the same utility launched its smart solar energy management system, in partnership with Australian company Redback Technologies, which will offer its customers a “seamless” plug and play platform that maximises solar self-consumption, and minimises reliance on grid power.
“The Redback system is the next generation in energy storage and management with a sharp ability to learn and respond to how people consume their energy, based on their preferences,” said EnergyAustralia executive, NextGen, Andrew Perry, in comments last week.
“This is the future of energy technology, created with one aim: to put the customer in the driving seat so they can decide how they use, store and even sell their solar energy.
Similarly, the MCG pilot scheme puts the customer in charge of their household or business solar output, allowing them to choose to trade the excess for sports-related perks, rather than to sell it back to the grid for a minimal return.
The MCG, meanwhile, is also working with EnergyAustralia and the CSIRO to explore the use of hybrid fuel cells to better manage its electricity consumption and reduce its emissions.
“The MCC has a strong belief in the importance of operating the MCG in an environmentally responsible manner,” said MCC CEO Stuart Fox.
“These sustainability initiatives will not only significantly improve the stadium’s carbon footprint, but will also ensure greater energy security at the MCG and lead the way with innovative energy solutions.
EnergyAustralia managing director Catherine Tanna said the partnership with the MCC was about finding better, smarter ways for all Victorians to use energy.
“Our partnership will do more than just revolutionise energy at the people’s ground. There’s great potential for applying what we learn and the technology we develop for the MCG to helping households and businesses across Victoria use energy more efficiently, so they save money and help protect the environment.
“It’s exciting working with the MCG to address some of the big energy challenges Australians are facing,” Tanna said.
EnergyAustralia solar customers can register their interest in the trial and find out more about helping power the ‘G by emailing MCGsolarpower@mcc.org.au.
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