Noosa strata community ‘making money from sunshine’

Owners have flocked to join this innovative rooftop solar project, enabled by a loan raised by the Body Corporate. It’s a first-of-its-kind in Queensland, and is now being heralded as a game-changer for strata communities.

MINI CASE STUDY: NOOSA LAKES RESORT GOES SOLAR

The Body Corporate at the Noosa Lakes Resort, a strata community in South-East Queensland, set its sights on generating more than enough solar electricity to power 70-plus homes and community facilities.

The vision, about two years in the making, includes making the resort community ‘carbon positive’ for energy use.

Key statistics

Solar system size: 550kW

Generation forecast: 125% of the resort’s total electricity use

Revenue stream: 108% of the resort’s historical electricity spend

Projected investment return: 20% in year one (owners received 10-year financial forecasts)

Participation: 94% of the resort’s owners

Local media interest

Ian Wright, the project’s leader, said he was ‘stoked’ with the outcomes thus far, including strong local media interest – with early coverage in the Sunshine Coast News (see image) and Resort News.

Wright told the local Sunshine Coast News that the project was already a winner for the Body Corporate: ‘We are making money out of sunshine.

‘Considering the short payback period and long life of the high-quality components, the investment in sustainable solar energy really is a no-brainer.

‘On the back of the success of this solar revenue project, I have already been approached by other Body Corporate Committees to advise them on a possible solution for their properties.’

Example of media coverage for project

The complex solar solution for Noosa Lakes Resort, spread across many different rooftops, was designed and installed by local Sunshine Coast firm Home and Energy. It went ‘live’ in August 2021. 

Gareth Duggan, CEC Accredited Designer at Home and Energy said ‘This was a tricky design, with a variety of roof gradients, orientations and shading issues which called for out-of-the-square thinking. The production data is even better than we had hoped’.

Wattwatchers monitoring and metering

The Body Corporate also needed monitoring for both performance and billing purposes, which is where Wattwatchers came in.

In tandem with the solar panels and inverters, Home and Energy installed Wattwatchers bundled solutions to monitor performance and provide data for billing purposes. 

Adam Derrick, Director of Home and Energy said ‘Prefabricating the bundles for multiple townhouses produced a smoother, quicker installation. The commissioning of the Wattwatchers’ tech was straightforward and the data produced is very useful for the Body Corporate client’.

In a one-off opportunity, the Body Corporate received a substantial discount on its monitoring and metering installation costs by participating in the Wattwatchers-led My Energy Marketplace national project*, which has grant funding support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Now, the vision is visibly paying off

Ian Wright is delighted that the project has already drawn interest from other strata communities, predicting that it may become the blueprint for additional investments in a clean energy future (Noosa has a community target of being carbon neutral by 2026).

The graphic below, from the Wattwatchers dashboard, shows that even in winter the project has been well on track, generating nearly 200% of the resort community’s actual total electricity consumption in this single day example. And below that is an example from mid-spring (October 19) where production is over 350% of consumption.

Of course the sun doesn’t shine all day every day, even in the Sunshine State, but Noosa Lakes Resort’s innovative solar solution has begun its working life with great early results.

A sunny day in Queensland … on August 23, 2021, the Noosa Lakes Body Corporate’s solar generated 1298 kWh of renewable electricity, but the resort community only consumed 677 kWh for the whole 24-hour period.
Another sunny day in Queensland with a near perfect ‘solar curve’ … on October 19, 2021, the Noosa Lakes Body Corporate’s solar generated 2638 kWh of renewable electricity, but the resort community only consumed 749 kWh for the whole 24-hour period. The sun doesn’t always shine, but there’s a lot of headroom built in to ensure the resort is carbon positive for electricity.

*ARENA ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The My Energy Marketplace project is receiving funding from ARENA as part of ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Program. The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of the Australian Government, and the Australian Government does not accept responsibility for any information or advice contained herein.