Three-year study helps to open solar opportunity for apartment dwellers


A few years ago Wattwatchers was invited to provide energy monitoring for a University of New South Wales (UNSW) led research project, backed by Energy Consumers Australia (ECA), to better understand the potential for solar PV for apartment buildings.

Our devices were installed at four apartment buildings in Sydney, and data streams were provided to support the research team.

The project leader was Mike Roberts, a Research Assistant with the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets (CEEM), in UNSW’s School of Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE).

Roberts has now shared the Final Report for CEEM’s Solar Apartments research project. His end-of-project message to stakeholders said:

‘Although Australia has over 2 million solar households, the 10% of Australians who live in apartments are still missing out on cheap, clean energy and the country is losing an estimated 3-4 Gigawatts of potential solar generation.’

‘This report presents a summary of the key findings from a three-year project, funded by Energy Consumers Australia and carried out at the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets (CEEM) and the School of Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE) at UNSW.

‘It includes an assessment of the scale and nature of this solar opportunity and analysis of the costs and benefits of different technical configurations and financial arrangements. We also identify some of the challenges preventing apartment residents from installing solar PV and suggest some policy reforms that could help overcome the key regulatory barriers.

‘We hope these findings can be useful in supporting advocacy for appropriate policy reform, as well as in informing decision making for strata bodies and other stakeholders. We’d be grateful for your help in circulating the report through your networks. (And please accept our apologies for any cross-postings!)

‘You may also be interested to know that the modelling tool developed for this project is being updated with the addition of a user-friendly interface, and will be made available on CEEM’s website later this year.’

Get more information on the Solar Apartments project:
Mike Roberts
Research Associate
School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering
Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets
UNSW Sydney
T:  +61 (0)403 211307