Power shock

It’s a sign of our troubled energy climate that a new Hills housing estate will target power bills and security of electricity supply as its key selling point.

Glenlea Mt Barker’s solar promise highlights all that is broken with our State’s power network in its developers’ promise to deliver homeowners dramatically reduced electricity bills and continuation of supply.

It is a point of difference that may actually change the way we design suburbs and think about electricity generation and use into the future.

In a country such as Australia where sunshine is usually abundant, it makes sense to use this kind of technology.

Previously, solar systems provided a limited power solution, because they produced energy during the day when many users weren’t home to take advantage of it.

Now, coupled with rapidly improving battery technology, solar presents more of a base-load power alternative.

The Glenlea estate will take advantage of the leaps in solar technology, by coupling solar panels on roofs of its 600 homes with battery storage and back-up technology.

Its developers, Axiom Properties and the Gilbert family, point to expected power bill savings of about 80% for future residents.

The batteries will provide baseload power around the clock, while also presenting the opportunity to sell what is an increasingly valuable commodity back to the grid at a higher price in times of peak demand.

It’s a clever concept that taps into our mounting fears about the affordability of an everyday utility.

More importantly, however, it could become a blueprint for how suburbs are designed into the future.

Technology is advancing at such a rapid rate that it won’t be long until combined solar-battery systems are affordable for the average household.

And that will open up options for household-to-household electricity trading, bringing a new form of competition into the market, which can only be good news for consumers struggling with rising bills.

Certainly in years to come there can be no doubt that a well-designed, energy efficient house is going to be worth a lot more than a house without efficiency features.

The electricity landscape of this nation, if not the world, is set to undergo a significant restructure and it is pleasing to see housing developers taking a proactive rather than a reactive role.