One student housing co-op's electricity needs will soon be covered by a solar array and battery storage system, in the first installation of its kind in Australia. The City of Sydney is providing the funding for the project as part of an environmental grant.
Lead image: The residents of Newtown's Stucco co-operative via stucco.org.au
Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore has weighed in on the project, saying that investment in renewable energy projects is vital to help these technologies become mainstream. With Australia having a disproportionately small number of large-scale solar projects compared to its high rate of household solar adoption, this attitude from the City of Sydney could indicate a step in the right direction from Australian government bodies.
The installation is a little more serious than the Tesla home Powerwall installations you might be thinking of -- the plan is for between 20-30kW of solar to be put on the roof of the complex, coupled with a battery capacity between 50-60kWh, or the equivalent of 5-6 of Tesla's weekly cycle 10kWh home batteries. The City of Sydney has said that this installation will be able to cover most of the 8 unit complex's electricity needs.
"Including battery storage allows us to store power and use it when we want for lighting, computers and other domestic electrical equipment. It’s a great way to manage a flow of clean energy that will cover over two thirds of our electricity use," Stucco resident Louis van Rensburg has said. "This is a ground breaking project that allows us to use our resources and enthusiasm to creatively solve the issues surrounding sustainable energy in the multi-residential sector. (Fellow student) Bjorn Sturmberg and I really value the sustainable transition to renewable energy, so we started looking into getting some funding to put some PV on the roof, we weren’t aware that what we’re trying to do hasn’t been done before in Australia."
While Australia has the highest rate of household solar adoption in the world, at 15%, it is far less common for solar panels to be installed on strata or multi-unit residences. As the push for renewable energy solutions continues into 2016, we can only expect more innovations that seek to close this gap.