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Deakin University’s enterprising plans for its new microgrid

By District Energy posted 04-28-2021 11:19


pv magazine


The new microgrid installed at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus  isn’t just a means to power itself renewably (though it is, of course, also that), it’s living laboratory – a chance to model, test, and optimise what’s possible with power. 

“We have 6,000 data points on our microgrid,” Director of Deakin’s Energy Initiative, Dr Adrian Panow, told pv magazine Australia. “So it becomes a very complex system very, very quickly.”

Last week, Deakin unveiled the new set up – attracting guests like Dr Alan Finkel AO, who was previously Australia’s Chief Scientist and is currently Special Adviser to the Federal Government on Low Emissions Technology.

The $23 million microgrid is comprised of a 7 MW solar farm (made up of 23,000 ground mounted solar panels – the largest on any Australian university campus), a 2 MWh lithium iron phosphate battery, 250 kW of distributed rooftop solar (833 panels) as well as a series of smaller battery systems with a collective capacity of 30 kWh.

With this extensive infrastructure at the university’s disposal, its aspirations are growing. With no time to waste, it is already underway with a number of projects as part of its university-wide approach to energy research.

“The research is beyond just the poles and wires, it goes into broader issues, social equity,” Panow said.