The Beehive Project Q&A
What is The Beehive Project?
The Beehive Project will allow households, whether they have solar or not, to share and trade rooftop solar between themselves, and access benets from the community battery when it is needed.
The project is a pilot which aims to:
- enable participating households to get more out of their rooftop solar as a community.
- test whether the battery can help small and mid-size electricity retailers, like Enova, better ride the impacts of days of very high electricity demand, by accessing the stored energy, and;
- share the knowledge and learning generated from the project with the wider community and industry
A battery on every street corner, more and more roof tops with solar, homes powered by stored solar at night and neighbours sharing, selling and buying their solar energy... That’s local energy self-suffciency!
Why did we call it The Beehive Project?
We chose this name because we realised that the project works in a way, like a beehive:
It’s like an energy ecosystem, in which the solar energy generated is made even more valuable, by extending its life through storage and sharing.
How will The Beehive Project work?
This project paves the way for distributing solar energy throughout our streets, neighbourhoods and communities - and helping everyone get the most out of the solar energy generated from their rooftop panels.
Instead of unused solar energy going back to the grid, it provides a way of enabling it to continue circulating amongst a community of participants so that more value can be gained by all.
Who are the project partners?
Enova Community Energy is working with Enosi Australia, the University of Newcastle, and Ausgrid, to deliver the multi-million dollar project
As a social enterprise Enova invests half its profits in community projects through our non-profit arm. Enova relies on this funding for the battery project and does not pay indirect costs for partners on any Enova project.
How is this project different to other large batteries?
The Beehive Project is different in a number of ways:
- The battery is not designed to store and discharge power connected to a particular building or group of buildings, or to a wind or solar farm.
- It’s called a “shared community battery” because the stored energy will be distributed amongst households that don’t have to be geographically located close to the battery, thanks to smart technology.
- The peer-to-peer trading aspect of the project means every day households have the opportunity to greater access more renewable energy, at a price they can decide on.
Where is the battery?
The battery will be located in Kurri Kurri, in the Hunter Region of New South Wales. Participants in this project can be located anywhere in New South Wales.
I want to participate - how can I get involved?
We’d love you to join us! This project is a pilot with a maximum of 500 participants.
To make it easier to work out if you can participate, we've listed some of the eligibility criteria here:
Three Easy Steps
We are currently taking registrations for individual households and businesses who are interested in participating in The Beehive Project. If you meet the criteria above, here's what you need to do:
Enova’s mission is to build stronger communities and transition to 100% renewable energy, and part of achieving that involves encouraging things like residential solar uptake and the adoption of local energy storage solutions such as batteries.
With more than 50 per cent of our customers already with roof top solar (that’s three times the national average), we saw the opportunity to better share the benefits of solar.
Solar panels generate electricity when the sun is high resulting in accumulated generation during the day. Excess unused solar gets fed back into the grid, putting it at the mercy of wholesale energy market prices.
Smart technology that shares renewable energy between households across the grid is a missing piece of the puzzle in the great transition to zero emissions. Enosi’s Powertracer fills this gap, helping to enable localised and cleaner energy solutions. Enosi’s Powertracer fills this gap and by pairing it with a big battery, The Beehive Project is innovating localised and cleaner energy solutions.
The Beehive Project is supported by a grant from the NSW Government’s Regional Community Energy Fund.
Enova will work closely with our project partners to review all registrations of interest in order to select the participants.
The battery itself will be owned by Enova Energy. Once the pilot project concludes, all the data from the pilot phase will be collated and analysed with a view to understanding the overall benefits.
Project partners University of Newcastle will be ensuing that the results of the pilot will be publicly available as part of the knowledge sharing principles of the project.
The findings will provide evidence of the viability of a community battery trading model. The results will provide impetus for further innovation and deciding which services to offer our customers that will benefit them and the community at large.
When you are selected to participate in the pilot project, you will receive a welcome pack with all the information needed to get involved and get started.
If you are not selected, we will keep your details on a waiting list for future projects or if we offer a Peer to Peer – Community Battery Trading Service as a product. You are welcome to opt out at any time.
For this pilot project we are limited to 500 participants who are residents of NSW. If you move to a different state during the pilot period, you will have to withdraw from the project.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. We will recruit 250 households with roof top solar and 250 without. Any household in New South Wales can register their interest to participate, as long as you are willing to become an Enova customer and to have a smart meter.
A household with solar panels in this project is called a “prosumer” and a household without solar is called a “consumer” - meaning you either produce and consume or just consume electricity.
Peer-to-peer trading allows households to trade their excess solar energy with friends and family they know or the community more broadly.
The solar and non-solar households who participate in this project will be able to trade solar energy between each other as well as with the big battery.
The trading will occur via the Powertracer platform that connects all participants and the battery. In this sense the big battery is treated like another ‘peer’ in the system.
Energy production from solar households will be matched with the usage of non-solar households using Powertracer. The software will allow customers to set their own trading prices, and trades will be settled on the customers’ bills from Enova Energy.
Our battery projects are currently conducted on a virtual basis, and therefore does not require you to be in a specific location, which means you can take part as long as you are an Enova customer.
Our vision is to make the community battery a solution to the current restrictions placed on solar home owners and how much solar rooftop generated energy can be exported back into the grid, ensuring that more of the renewable energy from rooftop solar is consumed by the community.