Solar for Apartments

Over 40% of homes in Willoughby are apartments and only a small portion of these buildings have solar. By installing solar, apartment owners can save money on electricity bills and future proof their building.  

Willoughby City Council helped design a 30kW solar system at 14-16 Freeman Rd, Chatswood. Brian Peck, the Strata and Property Liaison for the building said 'Owners are looking forward to saving around $6,000 per year on electricity and at the same time they’re happy about reducing CO2 emissions by 75%.' 

Solar Apartment


To install solar on apartments requires strata committees to decide on the best model with respect to the building’s physical characteristics and the desires of the owners. 

  • Will a simple majority of 50% of owners agree to install clean energy infrastructure in the apartment building?  The Strata Schemes Management Amendment (Sustainability Infrastructure) Act 2020 requires a simple majority vote of 50% to implement a ‘sustainability upgrade resolution’. 

  • What strata approvals are required for the installation of solar? A legal review of strata by-laws may be required to identify if any updates are necessary. 

  • Is Council approval required? If the system is over 100 kW, on a heritage item, or is in a heritage area then seek approval. 

  • Is a suitable roof space available? 

  • Will the solar system provide power to the common areas, the apartments, or both? How is this going to work?
  • A structural engineering assessment may be required to confirm the building can handle any proposed increased weight on the roof and assess windspeed safety. A solar supplier would usually include this in their costs once the installation is confirmed. However, it can be worthwhile doing this independently to help inform any system size limitations. 

  • A metering and switchboard assessment is required to determine the suitability of existing switchboards and distribution boards, the suitability of existing circuits, and how the solar power can be used once installed. The assessment would also include an analysis of electrical usage patterns over a minimum 12 month period. 

  • What is the cost and the payback period for solar installation and are there any government rebates available? Systems under 100 kW will get Small-scale Technology Certificates through to 2030, which can help recoup a portion of the cost of purchasing and installing the system.  

How Council can assist

Council can help simplify the process of choosing the right solar system by providing a free consultancy service to design a solar system for a limited number of residential strata buildings. This service will help the residents save money while reducing emissions. If you manage or own a residential strata and are interested in installing a solar system on your roof, please email us. Strata that meet the criteria will access the service based on the date that they apply, until the assessment limit is reached. 

(Please note that we are also able to assist small commercial businesses). 

Relevant links

  • See the information on solar for strata by Wattblock

What else can my apartment building do?

Apartment owners and building managers can also consider installing communal electric vehicle charging points and implementing sustainable waste solutions to responsibly manage waste.