Giving back big with solar

SGCH is a not-for-profit community housing provider with over 30 year’s experience providing housing assistance to those most in need. SGCH is a Tier 1 provider under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing and is recognized as one of the largest community housing organisations in NSW; providing a place to call home for more than 8,500 people in 4,500 properties across the Sydney metropolitan region.

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Personalised yet professional approach

As part of a joint initiative with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage under the Home Energy Action Program, over 1,400 SGCH new and existing properties were being upgraded with energy efficiency measures, project managed by renewable energy experts Enesol. The initiative aims to improve the health and wellbeing of low income renters by reducing their energy costs and better thermal comfort in their homes.

One of the measures included in this program was the installation of solar PV systems across 60 sites at approximately 750 multi-residential dwellings. The retrofitting of rooftop solar PVs has the potential to deliver an average of over $500 in energy savings per year per property. After a vigorous tender process, Solgen Energy Group was awarded the solar engineering, procurement and construction of 474 systems across the 750 sites for a combined total of 764kW and were chosen based on our experience, quality engineering, value for money and capability to do multiple sites within a relatively short space of time.

Solar power project details

Client: SGCH (St George Community Housing)
Location: Sydney, NSW
Date completed: June, 2017
Solar system peak capacity: 764kW combined
Panels:  Trina Mono 290W
Inverters: Fronius and Enphase

The rollout of this project was quite challenging given the high volume of occupied residential systems during install and the tight deadline we were required to adhere to with installation only commencing in January 2017. As a result, the project featured a mix of Fronius string inverters and Enphase micro inverters which were chosen as they are more flexible and require less equipment. Fronius inverters have an in-built DC isolator which eliminates the need of an external DC isolator, which means less components for the tenants to interact with. Enphase micro inverters are more flexible in terms of installation, cabling, space and system
sizes.

In addition to this choice of equipment our highly experienced project management team rolled out the installation in three stages with three different groups of crew. Installation began with the roof crew to install the panels and micro inverters, then the electrical crew with the string inverters and connections inside the units and finally the metering crew for grid connection and testing. This allowed our team to manage the project in a timely manner but still keep quality and consistency.

Tenant interactions were also required to explain the construction and general operations of the systems which was another major challenges due to language barriers, old and disabled tenants and tenants being overseas. There was also a huge amount of admin work required to collect documents and data and create Operations and Maintenance manuals for each individual unit. Despite these barriers the project was completed to budget and to a high standard with all stakeholders pleased with the results.

From the 474 sites 21 tonnes of carbon emissions will be offset and 3 MWh of clean energy will be generated all of which will go toward the benefit of the tenants of these community housing centres.

Benefits

The installation of a 474 photovoltaic systems is expected to:

  • Offset 21 tonnes of carbon emissions annually;
  • Deliver an average of over $500 in energy savings per year per property;
  • Generate an estimated 3,000kWh per year.

To enquire about how solar can facilitate your business, contact our energy consultants today.

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