Over 2 million rooftops in Australia have solar panels, representing over 22% of residential houses. However, if you are an owner of a townhouse or individual apartment in a low-rise strata scheme you have most likely been locked out of the solar revolution. Less than 0.6% of residential strata buildings in Australia have solar panels today.
There are a few unique challenges for the owner of a townhouse or individual apartment in a low-rise strata scheme to jump through, before you can install a private solar system. You need permission to install your solar system on a common property roof, which is technically owned by all the owners in the townhouse or apartment block.
To get permission from your strata scheme, you need to spend a bit of time educating your strata committee members on:
* Understanding the units of measurement. The difference between kW, kWp, kWh etc
* Rules of thumb for sizing a solar system for an individual apartment or townhouse, with without air conditioning, with or without electric hot water heating, with or without electric vehicle charging etc
* Explaining feed-in and why it isn't a government rebate
* Why the strata scheme might want to upgrade its meterboard to house smart meters
* Who pays for what when the common area roof that the solar panels are attached to needs waterproofing or renovation
* How to pass an ordinary resolution (yes, that is ordinary, not special!)
* What a special use by-law is in favour of a single apartment or townhouse owner and what happens when that persons sells their townhouse or apartment
* Why more than one owner might want to get a solar system installed at the same time and maybe the common area/house services might want to get their own system installed at the same time
Townhouses, duplexes, town-homes, gated communities (the American's call them HOA's which stands for home owners associations) and over 55's communities have all been slow on the uptake of solar. However, this is going to change as solar continues its inexorable roll to cover every residential and commercial rooftop in Australia.
Wattblock's Solar Education Kit for individual apartments or townhouses in strata will save you hours of research.
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