It makes a lot of sense to install solar panels wherever possible to make the most of free energy from the sun and cut down on electricity costs, but we’re regularly asked whether it’s possible to install them on properties within a strata scheme. The first thing to note is that the boundaries and use of common property can often blur the lines on approval.
In most cases the roof will be the shared property of the collective strata scheme, which means that the owner will need to work with the scheme in order to gain approval. The first step is to bring it forward as a motion at a strata meeting. Your strata scheme may need to consider factors such as:
- How much space would be required to install the panel/s.
- How much space would be left for other owners if they too wished to install panels in the future.
- Whether it may be beneficial to install solar panels collectively or to allow you to install your own solar panel/s at your own cost.
To install collectively or individually?
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to solar panels on shared roofs, and the right answer for your property will depend on its size, location and numerous other factors. There are typically three options for strata schemes:
- Your scheme may find the best returns by installing communal solar panels to power common areas like corridors, pools and heating/cooling to cut down on shared running costs over time.
- If the strata scheme is a small one, it may be worth approving individual solar panel systems for each owner where maintenance costs would be the responsibility of that owner.
- If the scheme is large and you have enough support from other owners, then you might collectively choose to upgrade to a solar embedded network.
Many apartment strata properties use embedded networks: where a single grid feeds to the apartment, yet electricity for each unit is metered and billed internally. There are already Sydney developers incorporating solar into embedded networks and offering unit owners more affordable energy as a result, and companies such as Allume making it much simpler for residents to choose to use solar or stay with their preferred energy provider.
If you have a strata manager we would suggest speaking with them about your options about installing solar panels and to get the wheels in motion in order to obtain free energy for some or all of your strata scheme.