Jennifer Pooley | 12 Apr 2022
With over 2.2 million Australians living in apartments, units or flats, it’s great to know that it’s now possible for them to access affordable solar energy solutions. This means that they too can reap the benefits of renewable energy. Australia is the world’s leader in harnessing residential solar, and with the introduction of new tech that enables multiple apartments to connect into single solar energy systems, we are likely to remain in the number one spot. This is just one of the options we’ll discuss in this article when it comes to solar for apartments.
Whether you are a developer, building manager, landlord or tenant, it pays to understand what’s available.
Let’s look at the following:
- Option 1: Common Areas Only
- Option 2: Individual Solar Systems
- Option 3: Shared Solar Systems
How To Use Solar Energy In An Apartment Building
Option 1: Solar for Common Areas Only
When you install apartment solar panels on a shared rooftop area, energy generated can be used to power lighting and any other electrical systems like air conditioning. These can be used in common areas such as gyms, recreational settings, lobby and foyers and shared pathways.
This option is preferable if there’s extremely limited roof space or several shared areas that use more energy. It’s likely to be the only option in high-rise buildings. It’s a straightforward solution as only one meter and electricity account is linked to the system. This overall cost can then be split evenly across the apartment owners through the owners corporation or strata corporation.
What’s the downside of solar for common areas only?
There will be no direct benefits to the owner-occupiers and renters in the building, as the rooftop solar will not be connected to their apartments.
Option 2: Individual Solar Systems
When there are only a couple of residents interested in having solar for apartments or townhouses, then individual systems could be the way to go. The individual solar installations are placed on the roof and separately connected to electricity meters for individual units. If the building block is a only one or two stories tall, this option can work, as it’s likely there will be sufficient roof space to fit each apartment’s individual system panels.
Will I need permission to install my apartment solar system?
Yes. If you own the apartment you will need the approval of the owner’s corporation or strata corporation to install the system. This will require a motion to be passed at a meeting, which may raise questions as to why common roof space is being reserved for solar that won’t benefit all the apartments.
What if I’m renting – are apartment solar panels still an option?
If you are a tenant, you will need to speak with your landlord or agent to get permission to install solar panels, and in turn, it’s most likely that they will need approval from the corporation. You will also need to pay for them, or persuade your landlord to pay for them, which may be a challenge!
What’s the downside to individual systems?
It can be costly to install an individual system, plus there could be tension in the owners committee/strata corporation of available roof space and roof space ownership to contend with. It is with these downsides in mind that we created the SolShare – which enables shared solar for apartments.
Option 3: Shared Solar
With this option, a single rooftop solar installation can be shared between multiple neighbours within the same apartment building. Currently, there is only one company that has developed and offers the technology to support this new approach.
Here at Allume Energy, we are proud to offer the SolShare.
To ensure that this setup is fair for everyone, The SolShare provides the same amount of solar energy to each residence over one month but supplies it as it is required by each apartment. Our solution also includes monitoring, so users know how much solar power and grid power they are using.
Any apartment that is metered can be connected to the SolShare. Common areas can also be powered with this system. Anyone who doesn’t want to participate can ‘opt out’.
How is the solar energy shared fairly and evenly?
Throughout each month, the SolShare algorithm monitors and logs the quantity of solar energy delivered to and used by each apartment. It also ensures that every dwelling connected to the system receives the same amount.
This means that even if your neighbour is using a high amount of solar energy, you will still receive the same solar benefit as them over the month.
What are the benefits of the SolShare system?
- Reduce CO2 emissions to help stop climate change.
- Cut down your electricity bills by over 30%.
- Allow you the freedom to keep or change your electricity provider.
- Use air-conditioning on hot and sunny days without fear of a massive electricity bill.
Which Solar Power Option is Right For You?
Advancements in solar technology have made it possible to reap the benefits of solar power for all dwelling types, including apartment buildings. Whether you want to power shared common areas, opt for an individual solar system or are ready to explore a world-first technology, we have the solution. The SolShare is easy to install, financially straight forward and an affordable process.
Can The SolShare Work For Your Apartment Building?
The SolShare is the world’s only hardware for solar sharing within apartment buildings. Whether you’re a developer, building manager, landlord or tenant, there are many benefits to tapping into solar energy and this world-first technology makes solar for apartments possible.
To discover if The SolShare can work for you and your complex, contact the team at Allume today!