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Author: Sophie Vorrath
Date: 18th of July 2016

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.

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.

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.

“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.

 Read Article at Reneweconomy