Delivering a zero-emission neighbourhood


Songbird Oxley, an EnviroDevelopment certified project in Brisbane, Queensland, is being delivered as one of Queensland’s first zero-emission communities. What does this mean? The energy harnessed from each home will be greater than the energy used by the households that live in them. In addition, to amplify this effect, all homes will be grid connected so they can export any excess energy and bank the renewable energy from the grid.

As part of the Songbird Design Guidelines, every house must be equipped with the minimum renewable energy system specifications of:

  • 6.2 kW solar
  • 13.5 kW/h Tesla Powerwall 2 battery
  • Fronius single phase inverter
  • On/off grid backup capability
  • Virtual Power Station ready

A $5,000 Performance Rebate is available to eligible buyers who install the system with the preferred supplier, Natural Solar. The benefits of a single provider were to deliver cost competitiveness from a group buy and to ensure compliance with standards as set by Energex, the electricity network provider to enable a 100 percent solar / battery neighbourhood. Each renewable energy system has an export limitation of 4 kW (to help provide for the 100 percent local solar uptake in the electricity grid).

The cost of the system based on group buy by Economic Development Queensland’s (EDQ) deal with Natural Solar for homeowners at Songbird is less than half the market rate.

While every home and homeowner’s energy consumption varies, modelling of a typical family home show savings of around $1,800 to $2,000 per year, meaning a best in market return on solar plus battery investment for home buyers. Resilience is another benefit.  When there is a grid blackout due to a storm, most solar and batteries stop working. However, this is not the case using the Tesla Powerwall. The Tesla Powerwall is a battery that stores energy, detects outages and automatically becomes a home’s energy source when the grid goes down.

As the number of homes with solar increases, the value and return on home solar through the feed in tariff can only decline. The Tesla Powerwall with Virtual Power Station functionality, however, gives homeowners the option to join a trading platform that provides them with a choice to trade their excess solar and battery for a higher price. In order to provide the highest possible upload of excess solar energy across every home in Songbird, the inverter export is required to be capped to 4 kW. The Virtual Power Station though will help maximise a home’s excess energy export.

It isn’t just on renewables that the Oxley Songbird sings on sustainability. Songbird homes in addition to solar PV and battery storage also come with heat pump hot water systems, efficient WiFi air conditioning and will be electric vehicle ready with a dedicated circuit to the garage.

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