We have received questions about installing solar for apartments from a few of our NSW lot owner and Committee Members. The response has been provided by Natalie Fitzgerald, More Than Strata.
Question: To install solar panels for an apartment, I believe I need to engage a lawyer to draft a new bylaw and the vote may not be successful anyway. Is there an easier way?
I live in a complex of 8 villas and share a common wall with 1 of the villas.
I have been told there is a by-law that states the maximum number of solar panels permitted for each property is 3 panels. Everyone has 3 panels for their hot water.
I want to install solar with 20 panels for my apartment. I was told I would have to engage a lawyer to draft a new by-law which would be put to the committee. If I couldn’t get 75% in favour then the vote would fail. The money paid to the lawyer for the bylaw would be wasted. Is there an easier way to do this?
Answer: There is no requirement that a lawyer draft a by-law, however, it is recommended.
The first thing to note is that a by-law requires a special resolution, which requires that no more than 25% of owners present and entitled to vote, cast a vote against the motion. A slight technicality, but on occasion, this can make a difference.
There is no requirement that a lawyer draft a by-law. However, as it is a binding commitment, it is recommended. In this case, your by-law and resolutions will need to cover off on several sections of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015, including s108 (making changes to the common property) and Division 3 (By-laws conferring right or privileges over the common property). As there is an existing by-law, consideration on how to deal with that will also be required. It’s more complicated than it may seem on the service.
If you do decide to put a by-law forward to a meeting for consideration and it is not passed, you can seek relief from NCAT, by seeking orders that the by-law be made on the grounds that the refusal was unreasonable. You’ll find details on this in s149 of the SSMA.
This post appears in Strata News #341
Question: We are looking into solar panels for apartments. As all roof areas are invariably common property and there are both good (solar efficient) and not so good areas on any roof structure, how does the strata committee go about defining where individual lot owners can position their solar PV panels?
There have been a number of incentive programs to encourage owners corporations as well as individual lot holders to take advantage of solar for apartments. As all roof areas are invariably common property and there are both good (solar efficient) and not so good areas on any roof structure, how does the strata committee go about defining where individual lot owners can position their solar PV panels?
Our townhouse complex has sufficient roof space to accommodate solar panels for any lot owner wishing to take advantage of solar for apartments. There are however significant variations in the roof’s solar collection effectiveness. This will mandate far more costly solar panel installation for the less solar efficient areas.
Not all owners’ PV arrays can be accommodated on the optimum roof areas. So what guidelines can be applied to logically (and equitably) assign any common property roof area to any one owner for their solar collection panels?
Is it reasonable to allocate the premium collection site to PV panels collecting electricity for the strata, requiring lot owners to accept a lesser power option for their personal electrical needs?
Here are some resources which may assist with your research into Solar for Strata Apartments:
- Raising the roof: Solar for renters and apartment dwellers
- Get in on the ground floor: how apartments can join the solar boom
- More of us are living in apartments. Where does that leave rooftop solar?
- SOLAR POWER – including Case Studies
We are looking for information from our community on this topic. Have you installed solar panels in your building? What is working / not working? Do you have a solution to dividing up the roof space equally? Are you researching the topic of solar panels in your building? Please comment below.
This post appears in Strata News #219.
Have a question or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
- QLD: Q&A Solar panels and strata – which account do we debt?
- Solar on Strata [Whitepaper]: Strata Energy News
Looking for strata information concerning your state? For state-specific strata information, take a look here.