TWO renewable energy projects that brought solar panels to the North East could return with a commercial slant.
That possibility arose yesterday by the boss of Zen Energy Systems.
Zen was the commercial partner in the local government schemes, Solar North East Project and Pure Towong Energy.
Now Zen has spoken to Border developers about creating energy-sustainable housing estates not connected to the electricity grid.
Zen founder Richard Turner said the vision for the company had always been to create energy storage systems that allowed customers to store and use power 24 hours a day.
He said the industry had changed a lot in the two years since governments slashed such initiatives as solar-power rebates.
He said those changes, along with the axing of the carbon tax, had brought sharper focus on storage systems.
Zen’s strong connection with the Border began in 2008.
“The Pure Towong Energy project was very successful,” he said.
“That extended into the Solar North East program, where we got about 5000 residents and created a megawatt of solar energy.”
Mr Turner and his fellow head office staff met staff from Alpine, Indigo, Moira, Wangaratta and Indigo councils at Wang- aratta on Monday.
Yesterday he met Border developers, builders and small businesses to explain the company’s 24-hour renewable energy technology.
“We were talking to all the shires about the potential for a commercial solar North East program, following on from the residential program,” he said.
Mr Turner said that involved businesses renting a solar system they would pay off with accrued energy savings.
“Over five years, they own the system and it’s not cost them anything to do so,” he said.
Mr Turner said Zen was also working closely with most of Australia’s and New Zealand’s major electricity utilities.
“They have lots of problems now with peaks and troughs and energy stability in the grid,” he said.
“We’re now able to work with them with technology to store power when there’s low demand and pull it back during high demand.
“We can help them balance and optimise their power grid.”