The first Sydney apartment block to install solar panels, Stucco Cooperative, managed to halve its energy bills over 2017.
Stucco Cooperative is a student housing cooperative at the University of Sydney which houses 40 students in eight units, and is made from a heritage-listed converted glass factory. Stucco received an $80,000 grant from the City of Sydney Council in 2016, which was used to install 114 solar panels and 36 batteries.
The members of the cooperative then worked with lawyers to develop a framework that would allow the owners of the building to become power providers.
This involves the owners of the building selling power to the tenants, which allows the owners to get their share of the profits and eventually pay back the original investment. Meanwhile, all tenants get the benefits of solar, including reduced energy bills.
The tenants have revealed that in 2017, they saved about 55 percent on their usual electricity bills, paying an average of $240 a year, compared to an estimated $540 a year if they were still relying on the grid. The tenants were also able to produce more hours of renewable energy than they could use, which they sold back to the grid.
The tenants have recommended this model for use in other apartment blocks as a way of increasing sustainability and decreasing energy bills.