There used to be a time when a new development next to your apartment block just meant a loss of amenity. Less sunlight on your building which was less enjoyable, more dampness within your apartment and common areas and maybe some more moss buildup on courtyard tiles.
The advances in solar technology means this is no longer the case. Shadows passing over your building now represent future economic loss, rather than just a loss of amenity.
Imagine solar panels on the roof and even on the sides of your building. Imagine solar panels replacing glass doors, windows and balcony fences. This is something which has already been done in China.
Just a couple of hours of “solar deprivation” each day will add up over the lifespan of your building which could be up to 100 years. The efficiency of solar panels is increasing each year and the cost of solar panels is falling each year. The Tesla gigafactory is now coming online early, which means affordable batteries for common area solar installations sooner, rather than later.
One building in Sydney calculated the future economic loss of two proposed towers being erected next to them to be $11m over the next 80 years.
If you are based in Australia, smart grids and energy efficiency fall under s.51 of the Australian constitution. We may see a test case on this very issue in the next couple of years.
In the meantime, it is one more issue to raise with a municipal government seeking rezoning to increase the height of new developments.
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