Solar to power Access Housing’s White Gum Valley development

22 Apr 2016

Access Housing’s affordable housing development for artists and creatives in White Gum Valley will become one of the first strata residential developments in Australia to benefit from strata community-based solar energy capture, storage and shared usage infrastructure.

Access Housing’s SHAC development, located within LandCorp’s WGV estate, will be fitted with solar panels and batteries that will be used to power the development’s 12 residential dwellings and communal artists’ studio.

SHAC1The SHAC development (pictured) will be one of several strata developments within the estate to benefit from solar power infrastructure, which will allow for significant electricity bill savings to residents as they will not be solely reliant on the electrical grid. It is estimated that each strata development within the estate, including the SHAC development, will have the majority of their electricity needs met by captured solar energy.

Each strata development’s solar energy infrastructure is owned by the Body Corporate and managed by the strata manager on behalf of owners. The strata manager essentially becomes an energy retailer, selling captured solar energy electricity to owners and tenants at reduced prices and selling excess to the grid. In addition to being property developer and owner, Access Housing will operate as SHAC’s strata manager and take responsibility for the development’s electricity administration.

Access Housing General Manager – Property Assets Su Groome said Access Housing was delighted to be part of the solar project.

“This initiative will play a significant role in keeping down power costs for our tenants, who are already living on low to moderate incomes,” Ms Groome said.

SHAC2“Traditionally, tenants are excluded from the benefits of solar power because there is no business case for the building owner to invest in the infrastructure. We hope this project will demonstrate a viable model and business case for us to offer discounted solar energy to more tenants in the future.”

The WGV solar energy demonstration project is a partnership between LandCorp, Curtin University, Low Carbon Living CRC, Western Power, the City of Fremantle and Solar Balance and was supported by a $1 million grant from the Commonwealth Government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to purchase the solar energy infrastructure. Access Housing acknowledges the funding contribution made by partner LandCorp, which has directly assisted the SHAC development to harness solar power.

In addition to the solar panel and battery technology, the WGV residential estate also features climate sensitive technologies, creative urban greening and innovative water management strategies. The project is the first Western Australian community to receive international accreditation under the One Planet Living Program.

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