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, increase the re-sale value of their apartment and reduce their carbon emissions.
Willoughby City Council helped a 48-unit apartment building in Chatswood with the process of installing rooftop solar PVs by funding a free independent consultancy service to provide recommendations.
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%.'
Find out more about Brian's apartment solar story
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.
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?
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 funding for a free level 1 energy audit conducted by an independent consultancy service for a limited number of residential strata buildings. This service provides advice on the installation of a solar PV system unique for your building. If you are a member of a strata committee or own a residential strata and are interested in installing a solar system on your roof, please register your interest via the link below. There are eligibility criteria that strata need to meet in order to access this service, and there are a limited number available.
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.