August 13, 2021

Villawood Properties, one of Australia’s leading sustainable property developers, has partnered with Energy Australia and TownLiving by Metricon to bring a new-generation, solar-powered microgrid community to Melbourne’s northern green fringe.

Paving the way for more low-cost, sustainable, residential energy, The Solstice Precinct in Villawood’s new Rathdowne community at Wollert in Melbourne’s north will see 36 TownLiving by Metricon homes and a large residents’ club storing and sharing solar generated power from their roofs. Positioned in a prime setting within a broader housing development, The Solstice Precinct townhouses are at the leading edge of sustainable living design.

The Solstice Precinct will consist of 32 townhouses with 4kW solar systems, four with 3kW solar systems, and a 70kW solar system at the residents’ club, Club Rathdowne. All supported by the 100kW/270kWh battery system.

Each townhouse has its own solar system together with a smart home solution that provides visibility and control of energy consumption within the home and generation from the individual solar system. Energy not consumed within the home is stored at a centralised battery at the residents’ club and controlled by an intelligent microgrid platform that manages the energy flow across the whole Solstice Precinct and from the national grid. It is anticipated that townhouse tenants can effectively cut their electricity bills by up to 50 per cent through the combined benefits of their solar system and the microgrid. Any energy generated within the microgrid that is not consumed by the Solstice Precinct will be fed back into the national grid, delivering another environmental benefit and green contribution.

The Victorian Government is empowering local communities through renewable energy programs. The Victorian Government's Microgrid Demonstration Initiative has supported the microgrid for this project, which includes solar panels on every townhome connecting to the microgrid, and a microgrid controller and battery at the Residents' Club to store and manage energy flow throughout the precinct.

An innovative, energy-saving technology for housing in Victoria, this cutting-edge development by Villawood Properties and TownLiving by Metricon, spearheads the industry’s move towards a new class of sustainable living residential housing aimed squarely at cutting CO2 emissions, addressing climate change and reducing energy costs. Villawood Properties is leading the way with its values of innovation, creativity and passion underpinned by long-held environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials. With an eye to the future, homebuyers can be confident that they are making the most sustainable and ‘green’ housing choice available.

“For over 30 years, Villawood Properties has been committed to community growth, sustainability, environment enhancement, new technologies and social responsibility,” Villawood executive director Rory Costelloe said.

“Our latest Solstice Precinct microgrid project at Wollert embodies these values as well as delivering real energy savings to families, easing their financial burden whilst contributing positively to the health of the planet.”

Rory went on, “The microgrid combining individual solar PV systems and a centralised battery together with smart home capabilities is a game-changer that will help residents use energy much more efficiently and lower their bills by up to 50 percent in addition to maximising the benefits of renewable energy across the Solstice Precinct. A win-win all round.”

Mark Brownfield, Chief Customer Officer at EnergyAustralia, said the organisation is excited to have played a key role in this innovative project.

“Our purpose at EnergyAustralia is to lead and accelerate the clean energy transformation for all, from small community projects to providing clean energy for the state. That’s what’s so exciting about the Solstice Precinct microgrid at Wollert – it demonstrates what can be done at a local level. The technology helps residents become self-sufficient, gives them control over their energy use, reduces their bills as well as their carbon emissions. We believe what we’re doing in Wollert is the start of more community energy solutions being rolled out across Australia,” said Mark.

“The Solstice Precinct microgrid at Wollert is a great addition to our long list of sustainability achievements, done on a larger scale. This includes our commitment to building a battery in the Latrobe Valley by 2026 – bigger than any battery operating in the world today. And offsetting the energy emissions of over 250,000 EnergyAustralia customers who’ve chosen to Go Neutral, with over 1.6m tonnes of carbon dioxide offset to date,” he said.

Steven Jennings, Victorian General Manager of TownLiving by Metricon said, “As Australia’s leading home builder, we are very proud to be working with Villawood Properties and Energy Australia to bring a new- generation, solar-powered, lower-cost, sustainable energy-based future of housing, to the market.”

Villawood Properties has long championed the importance of sustainable urban development, the microgrid its most recent innovation. Existing initiatives include:
• Donation of a block of land to State Forest for every residential lot sold, totalling 580ha to date
• Development of Australia’s most water- and power-efficient community, Aquarevo, in Lyndhurst, that delivers a 70 percent reduction in water use and 60 percent in non-renewables, and incudes a minimum 7-star precinct
• Leading research and development into thermally designed housing to counter rising urban temperatures and limit reliance on fossil fuels
• Sustainability precincts are being incorporated into its master planned communities with minimum 7-star rating mandated
• Utilising survey stakes and pegs to finance thousands of new trees in the Otways

The Microgrid Demonstration Initiative brings energy affordability, reliability and local accessibility of renewable energy to communities, and contributes to unlocking the microgrid sector in Victoria. See more information at:

For more information head to Rathdowne Townhomes - Villawood Properties or the Rathdowne Sales Centre at 2 Broad Way, Wollert to speak to a salesperson and register interest. The sales release date is scheduled for Saturday 28 August 2021.

Construction of the Rathdowne Solstice Precinct at Wollert is scheduled to begin in late 2021 with the first residents arriving from 2022.