Solar power’s been slow to take off in the strata space, but new developments might help this become more attractive for enterprising property owners.
The Victorian government recently made a $1 million grant to explore how strata properties in Melbourne could make use of solar panels and battery storage. For strata owners across the border in NSW, the development might leave them looking at their own properties and wondering how they can get a slice of the solar revolution.
Key to whether or not a strata property can use solar power is that the units are stored on a roof, which is usually common property of the strata title. If you’re lucky enough to fully own a roof space that gets the sun, you may be able to install solar panels purely for your own use. If you aren’t in this position, you’ll need to talk to the body corporate to secure a majority vote in favour of the installation for the whole building.
There’s also the issue of billing if units are installed for communal use, so part of these negotiations will have to cover how each individual unit is billed for electricity they’re drawing from a shared generation source. One alternative here might be to use solar power purely for lighting and heating shared spaces, that way you’re reducing the whole strata’s overheads without trying to split bills for private electricity use.
While this might sound like it’s too much work, there are also new developments in the solar space that are making it easier for strata complexes to go green. The Victorian trial uses technology to easily track usage and billing between different strata units, keeping the installation and maintenance of the system much simpler in the long-run.