Solar installations are on the rise in Australia, and with good reason. A solar panel can help you save money on electricity bills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make your apartment more energy efficient. Solar panels can be a great benefit for strata building residents – but there are also some important considerations to take into account before you decide to install them.
Deciding whether to install solar or not
For most major upgrades, repairs or expenses in a strata scheme, the works need to be voted on at a General Meeting, achieving a 75% majority. However, newly-introduced legislation allows strata schemes to implement sustainability upgrades (including solar) with a basic majority vote of 50% or more. This is in line with modern-day efforts to make apartment buildings more sustainable in general.
When many people think of solar panels, they think of a few panels on the roof of a house, powering just that residence. In an apartment building, however, solar panels are usually installed on the roof and generate enough energy to power all of the apartments or the common property within. It’s a more complex installation, however, modern solar technology allows for an equal amount of solar energy to be shared among all residents.
Who pays for strata solar installations?
In most strata apartment buildings, the sensible and most effective place to install solar panels is on the roof. As this is technically common property, it is usually the Owners Corporation’s responsibility to pay for the installation. Therefore, it is technically every lot owner who contributes to the cost.
Strata schemes typically have a capital works fund which is used for major upgrades or unexpected repairs. Lot owners pay into the fund through annual levies or fees. But if there isn’t enough money in the capital works fund, owners may vote to contribute special levies to cover the expense.
Can I choose not to have solar in my apartment?
The answer to this question is a little vague, depending on your type of strata property. Firstly, if your strata scheme includes several different units, there is a lot more flexibility in terms of who has what type of energy source. In apartment buildings, it’s a little different.
While it is technically possible to install solar panels on the building’s roof, with a system that distributes solar energy to selected apartments, this is less common. As we touched on, solar installations are paid for by your scheme’s capital works fund, or potentially by way of a special levy. As such, if the majority of owners vote for solar, it is generally expected that everybody benefits and contributes to the installation costs.
Need help with solar or sustainability upgrades?
For many Owners Corporations, installing solar energy is new territory. There is a lot to consider and a lot of information that needs to be gathered before putting such improvements to a vote. With More Than Strata as your dedicated strata manager, the job gets a whole lot easier. From product research, gathering quotes and arranging General Meetings and organising installation, it’s all part of our service. Contact us to find out how we can help streamline all of your strata management processes.