Solar powered apartments

7 years ago
2 minutes

Free energy – is there such a thing? Solar power seems to be the closest, easily implemented solution. But whilst the difficulties of implementing solar power in residential building projects might need an overhaul to make the approach simpler, some smaller apartment projects are showing the way forward.

Stucco, a small apartment project in Sydney, has become the first multi-unit residence in Australia to achieve a unified solar panel and battery network.

Utilising 114 solar panels and 36 batteries to store the energy they create, the system saves each resident around $35 per month. At this rate, and with an installation cost of around $130,000, the solar system is expected to pay for itself within six to seven years.

Image credit: Monique Duggan

Managed by two former residents of the building, the project provides cooperative apartment accommodation for students and successfully applied for an Innovation Grant from the City of Sydney to undertake their own self-contained solar system.

The process wasn’t easy, putting the Stucco team up against electricity regulators and enduring months of pro-bono legal wrangling (kindly provided by yet more former residents) to reach a resolution. But the result is an apartment building that aims to be 80% self-sufficient.

There are more solar panels in Australia than people

When you consider the owners corporation fees related to large apartment blocks, a considerable proportion goes towards the costs of lighting common areas, ensuring fire detection systems run smoothly and those all-important pool filtration pumps keep pumping.


Finding a renewable energy source to take care of all of this is in everyone’s interests. The needs reduce the amount of energy an apartment building consumes is paramount to reducing its carbon footprint. But it also comes in pretty handy when the quarterly owners corporation fees roll around.

Australia now has more solar panels than people, so the future looks like a bright one. And projects like Stucco are paving the way for greater change.

source: abc, stucco

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