Community Leadership Award

People and projects that benefit the New South Wales community now and into the future.

This award recognises outstanding community leadership and commitment from NSW not-for-profit organisations whose sustainable initiatives are locally relevant and have widespread benefits for communities.

2017 Green Globe Award winner

Stucco: Stucco solar + storage community project

Stucco members on a rooftop amongst solar panelsWhat started as a housing cooperative for low-income students at Sydney University has produced the first successful installation of a solar-plus-storage renewable power system in an Australian apartment block.

Planning the new solar system was a community effort led by students, with various NGOs, pro-bono lawyers, academics and technical experts offering assistance.

‘There were lots of hurdles,’ says community coordinator Sarah King, ‘including technical issues around wiring and power flows across many meters, fire-proofing the batteries, plus some major regulatory challenges.

‘We needed permission from the national energy regulator to convert the building into an embedded network with a single grid connection but with metering and billing managed internally.’

The system now supplies more than three-quarters of the building’s electricity, saving the 40 residents an average of 20% on their bills. The surplus gives the cooperative an additional income stream to continue providing low-income housing.

Stucco provides a great precedent for other renters and apartment dwellers who are often locked out of access to cheap solar electricity.