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Clean energy knowledge sharing

NSW Clean Energy Knowledge Sharing Initiative

To help meet the NSW Government’s objective of net-zero emissions by 2050, the Clean Energy Knowledge Sharing Initiative assists businesses to share stories, break down barriers and directly support clean energy projects. 

The initiative gave 13 innovators and early adopters an opportunity to test and trial new clean energy solutions and supported activities to share their learnings. 

The following sections provide more information about the supported projects. 

Residential energy projects

Narara Ecovillage

Narara Ecovillage is a 64-hectare property designed to support 60 homes, located on the Central Coast of NSW. 

The Ecovillage operates a smart grid including their own residential and centralised renewable energy generation, storage and intelligent control mechanisms. The project shows how a housing development can be carbon neutral, and how the electricity grid can cope with high levels of renewable energy generation in suburban developments. Once completed, the Ecovillage will boast over 650 kilowatts of solar photovoltaics, 460 kilowatt hours of battery storage and its own wastewater treatment plant. 

The renewable smart grid is an essential aspect of Narara Ecovillage’s mission to demonstrate the feasibility of environmentally, socially and economically sustainable communities. 

In this case study you will find a description of the Narara Ecovillage energy project, guidance on navigating technical and regulatory challenges, and key outcomes of the project.


Australian solar energy management company Reposit Power is developing a technology that allows solar systems to play a crucial role in maintaining grid stability. A high concentration of solar installations in one area can present challenges to the network provider in terms of maintaining grid stability. An unstable grid voltage can also cause solar systems to shut down, resulting in additional energy costs for the customer and lost revenue from the solar that can’t be exported. 

With support from the NSW Government, Reposit Power teamed up with network service operator Endeavour Energy to trial the ability of the Reposit control boxes to alter grid voltages by adjusting the power output of the inverter. The project confirmed that the technology can both moderate grid voltages and protect the customer’s revenue by reducing the instances of solar systems switching off. 

Read the case study to learn more.

Solar Analytics

Australian software start-up Solar Analytics piloted a project aimed at maximising the benefits of sharing community solar energy. This trial encouraged solar sharing within a school community in Sydney’s inner west by providing a solar sharing platform that allowed participants to choose who they send excess solar to, or who they get it from. The trial found that it is crucial for the solar sharing platform to be engaging, informative and easy to understand and has provided valuable learnings for future trials that could involve price incentives. 

This trial was an important first step in establishing peer-to-peer solar trading.

Read the case study to learn more.

Solar for Rentals 

One in three Australian households are currently locked out of the rooftop solar market because they rent their home. Through an innovative benefit sharing model, Solar Analytics aim to make the installation of solar onto rental properties simple, fair and transparent, encouraging more property owners to invest in rooftop solar and helping more renters save money on their energy bills. 

This project trialled a solar calculator that helps renters and property owners negotiate a fair increase in rent when solar is installed, with reporting and analytical features that clearly demonstrate savings to both parties. 

Read the case study to learn more.

Commercial and industrial energy projects

InfraBuild Steel

Steel manufacturer InfraBuild Steel is one of the largest electricity users in NSW, consuming 310 gigawatt hours annually – the equivalent consumption of 52,000 households. In collaboration with the NSW Government, the company looked at how waste heat can be harnessed using a technology used overseas - Organic Rankine Cycle - to generate electricity. 

The feasibility study explored the different waste heat sources and compared different turbine sizes that could be implemented on-site. Although there were challenges associated with this process, the facility could potentially recover 30% of their input energy and save up to $870,000 in energy bills annually.

Read the case study to learn more.


Interface, together with ITP Renewables, investigated the use of cutting-edge solar thermal technology to generate process heat for its Minto factory. 

Interface is a carpet design and manufacturing company that uses large amounts of natural gas for their manufacturing processes. To reduce its gas usage and improve environmental performance, it is exploring renewable options to provide high temperature process heat for their manufacturing. 

With support from the NSW Government, Interface conducted a feasibility study into the use of solar thermal technology. This technology collects energy from the sun, which is then used in the manufacturing process. This is an innovative application for solar thermal technology which has never been used before in large manufacturing facilities in Australia.

By using a solar thermal system, the factory could reduce their gas use by 70-80 per cent and increase the factory’s energy use from renewable sources to 85-90 per cent. 

Read the case study to learn more.


Renewable energy company Goldwind investigated the concept of co-locating a renewable fuel peaker plant at the Gullen Range wind and solar farm site. The case study outlined the advantages and disadvantages of co-location, the challenges of implementation and the next steps required to progress the project.

Although there were significant challenges uncovered by Goldwind throughout the feasibility study, this project provides a valuable insight in the complexities of co-locating renewables.

Read the case study to learn more.

Community energy projects


Community energy group Enova Energy is leading the charge in establishing the Byron Bay Arts & Industry Estate Microgrid. 

With its eyes firmly set on reducing energy prices and emissions for the local community, Enova launched the microgrid project to allow the excess rooftop solar from local businesses to be shared with others within the microgrid.

The Clean Energy Knowledge Sharing Initiative helped fund the development of a preliminary pricing model for the microgrid, as well as recruiting businesses within the estate to join the pilot project. This resulted in most of the businesses agreeing to participate, as well as the creation of a pricing model that can calculate the potential cost savings.

Read the case study to learn more.

Lismore floating solar farm

Lismore floating solar farm were invited to share their insights on clean energy innovation, and Clean Energy Workshops were also run.   

The Lismore Community Solar Initiative has created Australia’s first ever council-operated, community funded solar farms. Two companies, each with twenty community shareholders, have lent capital to Lismore City Council to build two solar farms. The project initially received support from NSW Government under the Growing Community Energy program.

One of the solar farms is a 99-kilowatt floating assembly at the East Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant, where the solar panels float on the surface of an overflow pond. The installation will provide 12% of the site’s energy usage and is expected to save at least $24,000 annually.

Thanks to its design and innovation, the panels will generate more energy on hot days than ground-mounted or roof-mounted panels plus have a longer lifetime. Additional benefits include reduced water evaporation and reduced algae growth.

This technology is ideal for other space-constrained sites with existing dams or ponds combined with high energy usage.  

In late 2017, the NSW Government in conjunction with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and Frontier Impact Group invited community energy groups, local government, businesses and residents to learn more about community energy finance.  

Chrysalis School for Rudolf Steiner Education 

A partnership between Chrysalis School for Rudolf Steiner Education and energy consultancy Enesol brought a clean, innovative energy solution to life in the Bellingen Shire.

Chrysalis School needed additional air-conditioning to improve its learning environment for students, however this required a costly upgrade to the electricity grid connection. By working with Enesol to investigate alternative options, Chrysalis School were able avoid the significant capital cost of an upgrade.

With the help of a $30,000 grant from the NSW Government, the school installed a solar system, battery storage system and smart energy management program. This reduced upfront costs, cut electricity bills on an ongoing basis and provided a healthier learning and teaching environment for students and staff members.

Read the case study to learn more.


Community energy group CLEAN Cowra is looking to establish a solar and battery microgrid in Cowra’s local industrial precinct. This is the first part of a larger bioenergy project that will eventually supply over 60 per cent of Cowra’s energy needs. 

The Clean Energy Knowledge Sharing Initiative helped fund a study exploring the feasibility of the microgrid. The study included a concept design, cost estimates and preliminary grid inquiries to the local network provider, Essential Energy. 

Through this innovative community-led microgrid project, CLEAN Cowra aims to increase the region’s access to locally produced renewable energy. The study provides an excellent insight for other regional communities around NSW looking for renewable solutions to their wider energy challenges.

Read the case study to learn more.


This pre-feasibility study investigated recommissioning a mothballed hydro-electric power station in Mullumbimby on the NSW North Coast. The proposed hybrid mini-hydro system would add a reservoir for pumped hydro storage, providing on demand generation while helping to balance the local electricity network.

This case study outlines the challenges and potential solutions for the hybrid mini-hydro project, which range from regulatory to technical challenges. If the project goes ahead, it has excellent potential to pave the way for small hydro projects around the country.

Read the case study to learn more.

Community Renewable Energy Toolkit Workshops

The Community Renewable Energy Toolkit Workshop series has concluded and workshop resources and in-person support can still be accessed via Frontier Impact Group’s website.  

The Toolkit provides:  

  • Microsoft Excel templates to assess the financial viability of a community energy project  

  • A how-to guide for getting community renewable energy projects off the ground  

  • Tips for operating a renewable energy project with sound economic outcomes for all involved stakeholders.