New hope for solar panels in apartment buildings

6 years ago
2 minutes

For a while now, solar panels in apartment buildings have been a point of contention in Australia. There’s an age-old battle between apartment renters and strata committee regulation, that is; the people who live in the apartment and the people who own the apartments and, collectively, the building. In a typical apartment block, the external walls and rooftops are owned by Body Corporate (otherwise known as owners’ corporation or strata committee). In order to get approval to make a change to any facet of the external building, everyone on the committee needs to agree on the changes, and more often than not… they don’t.

The good news is, solar panels are becoming increasingly more affordable and sensible. There are more companies providing solar panel installations than we have ever seen before, meaning costs are kept low while these providers try to keep up with competitors. Those of us who were lucky enough to have solar panels added at the beginning, or even included in the construction of our off the plan apartment, are well and truly seeing the return on investment.

We first mentioned Stucco, a small apartment project in Sydney, in a previous article. With the help of a government grant, this co-op in Newtown installed their own solar panels in their apartment complex. By 2017, their system had saved each resident over 55% of their usual bills. For a co-op made up primarily of low-income earning students, this was a revelation. And by adding 36 battery cells to their 114 solar panel cells, Stucco’s residents were able to capitalise during off-peak periods. Batteries can be used at times when cells don’t receive enough sunlight. This can be different times of the day depending on the direction your apartment faces.

The above is a great solar success story, and if you’re thinking of having solar panels added to your own apartment building, there are a few things to consider:

Do the research and you will get the most out of your solar panel investments, or if you are a renter, you will be able to approach your strata committee with confidence. Find more lifestyle articles on apartments here