While the current La Niña weather pattern has brought many rainy days recently, we are generally blessed with glorious sunshine. Households are taking advantage of the sun’s rays by converting them into electricity. Installing solar panels on the roof to generate energy is common with many single dwelling houses as they can assist to reduce electricity costs and carbon emissions. There may also be government incentives.
While it is more complicated, it is possible to install solar panels on apartment buildings under a strata scheme. Here’s what you’ll need to consider.
An individual lot owner may wish to install panels just for their use and cover the installation cost themselves. The strata committee would need to work through the available space on the roof to ensure that there’s enough to cover all owners, should everyone elect to install panels themselves. Individually installing systems could be more costly for each owner than pooling resources together.
As the installation will most likely be on the roof, which is common property, a new by-law will need to be drafted and passed by the owners corporation at an EGM or AGM.
On the other hand, the owners corporation may wish to install panels for all owner’s convenience. If roof space is tight, solar panels could also be used to power only the electricity in the common areas for the lights, lifts and air-conditioning; this option is equitable and all owners would benefit equally.
While owners will be saving indirectly by powering the communal areas with solar energy, owners may wish to enjoy savings in their own apartments.
It’s worth considering a single solar system that’s engineered so that the energy is shared with all individual apartments – the same amount of solar energy could be allocated to each apartment regardless of whether it’s used or not. Under this model, you’ll get the most value from the installation costs and each owner would have access to the same amount of electricity.
It’s best to chat with registered solar panel installation companies prior to putting forward motions at an EGM or AGM because apartment buildings also provide their own challenges.
The company may need special access, use cranes or stop traffic. Diverting the electricity to all apartments may also require additional cabling. Also, if the roof is flat or concrete, the installation company will have to find a way to tilt the panels.
If you have any questions about installing solar panels, please contact your Strata Manager at Netstrata.