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House, land and solar

How a community approach to sun-powered living is spreading the solar love

Solar…differently

With solar on rooftops becoming highly desirable (and highly common) developers are now looking at different ways they can include it in new builds.

While many include it as an add-on to the build package, a new development in suburban Perth is taking a different approach to solar that involves no upfront or extra cost for homeowners.  

Built-in solar

At Amble Estate, a new development in Girrawheen by the Department of Communities, Infinite Energy is installing solar for residents at no cost.  

Property owners pay nothing for the system, but they do pay for the solar energy the system generates, at a discounted rate of 40 per cent lower than the usual A1 tariff. 

It means they can save money on their power bills, and live more sustainably, without having to fork out upfront costs for solar installation.  

Solar panels being installed on a residential roof

Getting the measuring right

Because residents are partially paying for their solar use, there needed to be a way to measure it at the meter.

While Western Power’s advanced meters provide a lot of capabilities around automatically reading power or notifying our control centre of faults, they don’t measure the amount of solar people are using, only the amount of solar going back to the grid.

“That meant for this purpose, advanced meters needed even more smarts,” says Ben Stanton, our Head of Business Development and Strategy.

“So we came up with a solution of using a more sophisticated model of advanced meter, that could help Infinite Energy measure exactly how much solar was used by that property, so they could be billed accordingly under the estate’s solar model.”

The project is a trial which is underway, and the hopes are that if this is successful, it may become a new opportunity at new estates for developers and residents alike.

“It’s great to be able to get a chance to try out new solutions in these situations, so we can take the learnings and continue to apply them where needed as the way we make and buy energy continues to change.”