SwitchDin project selected for Victorian Microgrid Demonstration Initiative grant

Screenshot from the BCG Microgrid profile in SwitchDin’s Stormcloud energy monitoring & management platform.

UPDATE May 2019

The solar and battery storage portions of the BCG microgrid project have been installed and commissioned. SwitchDin will be presenting about BCG and other microgrid projects at the Australian Energy Storage Conference & Exhibition 13-14 June 2019. You can register to attend here.


SwitchDin and commercial microgrid developer Walnut Energy Systems will supply the solution in a Victorian government-backed microgrid demonstration project at the Birchip Cropping Group (BCG) headquarters in Birchip VIC.

The project has won grant funding under the state’s Microgrid Demonstration Initiative (MDI), which supports innovative microgrid projects that ‘showcase the use of energy storage in different settings and in combination with complementary technologies’.

Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio announced the project at the All Energy Conference & Exhibition on Wednesday.

BCG team.jpg

“The microgrid initiative … was a highly competitive one - we had 55 applications. I’m pleased to announce today one of the successful projects - and that is a project that has been delivered by SwitchDin” said D’Ambrosio.

The BCG project will demonstrate the value of energy resilience and self-sufficiency for rural industries. The microgrid will be optimised for solar (51kW) & battery (137kWh) energy self-consumption, and capable of islanding to keep power on in the event of a grid outage.

The system is slated to be completed and operating by mid 2019.

Researching energy relief for farmers

BCG is a not-for-profit agricultural research body founded in 1992 to help the local farming community improve their livelihoods through evidence-based best practice.

Rising power prices and unreliable supply have become pressing issues for regional farmers in recent years; this has led BCG to expand the scope of its research beyond cultivation.

The project will serve as a showcase for how farmers could adopt microgrids with solar and batteries to tackle these problems.

“BCG is all about assisting farmers by using science based research and extension to understand and assess innovations and new technologies. Having a Microgrid at BCG is exciting and we are looking forward to engaging with farm businesses and communities that are also keen to exploring the technology, said Cameron Taylor, business development & innovation manager for BCG.

“Energy security and pricing for farms, especially farms with intensive poultry, is vital to their business. BCG are delighted to work with the Victorian Government and the project partners in finding solutions to some of the current pain points.”

Control system by SwitchDin

SwitchDin’s technology has been designed to solve complex problems related to distributed energy resources (DERs), including microgrids and virtual power plants (VPPs).

SwitchDin will supply control solution for the BCG project, coordinating the solar inverter, battery bank and other power equipment to operate within network constraints - and keeping the power on during grid outages.

“SwitchDin is pleased to be involved in this innovative and well-targeted action of the Victorian government,” said Dr Andrew Mears, CEO of SwitchDin.

Technical diagram of the BCG microgrid system. SwitchDin will provide the energy management system for the project.

“Rural industries create jobs which rely heavily on access to affordable electricity. Solar & battery storage in microgrids are a cost-effective and flexible option to ensure farmers can grow and develop their businesses.

“SwitchDin ensures that microgrid systems will be smart, flexible, and integrate seamlessly with the grid - regardless of the solar or battery products used. We also ensure that these systems are ready for energy market opportunities.”

Solar & batteries by Walnut Energy Systems

Walnut Energy is a microgrid developer focussed on commercial & industrial scale projects, providing businesses a higher standard of energy supply whilst improving overall grid stability.

Walnut Energy will design and install the system, and will also be responsible for ongoing operations and maintenance.

“Demonstrating the positive impacts single-user microgrids can have on a rural business’ bottom-line and their wider community makes this an exciting project to be involved in,” said Walnut Energy general manager Tom Kuiper.

Specialist project support by Wade’s

Horsham-based specialist provider Wade’s will support the project with local installation expertise and electrical supplies.

“Our team is really excited to be part of this project. Combining the energy savings of solar with the security of a battery is something that just makes sense for business,” said managing director Adrian Wade.

Further resources: