Welcome to Tesla Town: the new Melbourne suburb with a Powerwall in every home

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Homes in Glenvill’s new-build Melbourne development, YarraBend, will have rooftop solar and Tesla Powerwall battery storage as standard features. Is this the new normal for suburbs of the future?

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One Step Off The Grid

Less than six months after Australia received its first shipment of Tesla Powerwalls, plans for what could be the world’s first “Tesla town” – a mini-suburb on the outskirts of the Melbourne CBD whose new-build homes will include rooftop solar and Tesla battery storage as standard design features – are being unveiled by local property group Glenvill, as the green development’s first 60 homes go on sale this week.

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The new 16.46 hectare suburb, which will be called YarraBend for its 300 metres of Yarra River frontage, will include around 2,500 new dwellings – a mix of free standing houses, townhouses and apartments with three to five bedrooms, ranging in price from $1.48 million to $2.1 million.

The project is being designed, developed and built by Glenvill, which bills it as a “world first Tesla suburb” for its inclusion “within houses” of the iconic US company’s sleek-looking 7kWh lithium-ion Powerwall batteries, presumably to store energy from the houses’ rooftop solar systems, the sizes of which are not yet disclosed.

Houses in the development will also feature electric car recharging points, while residents will have access to high-speed internet, a “tech-concierge”, and a YarraBend app, that will connect them to a variety of amenities and information within the community, including public transport timetables, home delivery menus, carpooling arrangements and social events.

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Just how many Powerwalls will be installed at YarraBend is not yet clear, but going by the estimated number of dwellings, it could number in the thousands. One Step Off The Grid has sought more information from Glenvill on the estimated number of battery installs, as well as the size range of the rooftop solar systems, and will update the story with any new information once we have it.

In previous comments, however, Glenvill sales and marketing manager Nick Marinakis has stated that the solar and storage on the homes, combined with green building design and energy efficient lighting and appliances, will see YarraBend achieve a 6-star ecologically sustainable development (ESD) rating – a first for an infill development site in Melbourne.

Danni Addison, the Victorian chief executive of the Urban Development Institute of Australia, which developed the ESD rating system, says the project is one of the most environmentally sustainable developments in Australia, with a water reduction of 43 per cent, landfill reduced by 80 per cent and the potential to reduce energy use by 34 per cent.

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“The Powerwalls, combined with solar panels (also standard), will mean that future residents will be able to benefit in a variety of ways, including dramatically smaller power bills and knowing that the majority of their energy usage is coming from a clean and renewable source,” Addison told the Heidelberg Leader.

“The electric car charging points will be another available option,” she said. “Combined with the Powerwall and solar panels, it is likely that ‘refuelling’ future residents’ electric cars will be free.”

Marinakis says that official contract signing for the houses is expected to begin in August, with residents expected to begin moving in by late 2017.

The site – which previously housed the Alphington paper mill – could accommodate almost 5000 people, which would effectively double that suburb’s population of 4600, as per the 2011 Census.

Source: RenewEconomy’s sister publication One Step Off The Grid. You can sign up to the weekly newsletter here.

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11 Comments
  1. Martin Male 2 years ago

    This is brilliant. We need governments to support this. This can easily replace coal fired power.

    • Brunel 2 years ago

      No. We need government to pay $2 billion to get a battery gigafactory built in AUS instead.

      That would provide jobs, boost exports, and cut battery costs.

      • simzy 2 years ago

        Sounds too logical; you might as well suggest using the empty Holden factory and reopening the Silex solar manufacturing facility that shutdown at Homebush.

        • Brunel 2 years ago

          Tindo makes solar panels in South AUS.

          May as well ban government buildings from installing solar panels that are not made in AUS/NZ.

      • solarguy 2 years ago

        In fact we need both, we need to reduce energy consumption in new build homes, by designing and making them more efficient. And for those homes to produce as much affordable energy as possible.
        An Aussie gigafactory, would be good too.

      • Ronald Brakels 2 years ago

        Brunel, if you look at how a modern lithium-ion battery cell factory operates you’ll see it is a high capital, low employment type of operation, so a $2 billion dollar factory isn’t going to employ many people. And soon after people are employed in that factory the employment/unemployment ratio would probably soon return to equilibrium, most likely resulting in no real net effect on unemployment levels.

        But if we instead invested the $2 billion in the Australian stock market it would on average provide a return of around $350 million a year which would be enough to pay for around 19,200 minimum wage jobs of 20 hours a week or around 10,700 full time jobs of 36 hours a week.

        If these jobs were concentrated in providing public goods and meeting needs that otherwise probably wouldn’t be met privately then it would probably be much more successful at increasing the total number of jobs in Australia than a battery factory.

        • Brunel 2 years ago

          The LNP are spending $50-100 billion on building 12 submarines.

          Anything is cheaper than the 12 subs.

          Israel and Ireland do not get computer chip factories for free.

          What I meant was, Nevada spent U$1 billion to get a U$5 billion gigafactory built in Nevada.

          There needs to be more gigafactories.

          If AUS has local deposits of lithium, which I think it does, then it would save on shipping.

          Add local aluminium and a lack of earthquakes/tornadoes to the equation.

          Need to think like Mr Oswal, although a crook, he built a massive factory in WA to produce the 2nd or 3rd cheapest ammonia in the world using locally available raw materials.

    • JohnM 2 years ago

      Yes it is brilliant, but it should be noted that the government has no desire to replace coal.
      Support is for coal not renewables.
      The bright side, however, is that the price of solar and battery storage is falling rapidly and coal will soon be priced out of the market.
      But they’ll hang on to the bitter end…

  2. John Knox 2 years ago

    Perhaps better would be a Tesla PowerPack to take advantage of economies of scale and provide greater capacity at a reduced cost…

  3. Ian 2 years ago

    Sounds great, and it would be interesting to see if solar energy is also stored in the hot water systems….as a far less expensive energy storage method.
    If it a gas – free suburb then that would be a real move to greater efficiency and lower living costs.

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