Solar for apartments and townhouses

If you are living in an apartment or renting in the Inner West, you can still join the solar journey.

New strata legislation makes solar approvals easier for NSW

In February 2021, a Strata Schemes Management Amendment (Sustainability Upgrades) Bill was passed to make it easier for owners and owners corporations to make sustainability improvements including installing rooftop solar panels, solar batteries and electric vehicle charging points. 

What's changed? Instead of a special resolution by-law usually needed for changes to common property,  which requires a 75 per cent vote in favour at a general meeting, owners corps or committees (if they have delegated power) will only need a simple majority of over 50 percent of the vote to get solar projects passed.

Solar support options

If you are interested in investigating solar for your apartment building, you can read the FAQs below, request a solar quote from Council's partner the Australian Energy Foundation or visit the Solar for Strata page for details on Council support for an independent solar feasibility report for your strata property.

If you can't install solar panels on your roof, why not consider a Solar Garden. This is a new community energy initiative where you can invest in 3kW plots for a regional NSW solar farm and receive a credit on your electricity bill from the participating electricity retailer.

Another option is GreenPower, an Australian Government scheme that enables almost every household and business to choose renewable energy to meet all their electricity needs. Choosing GreenPower is a quick and easy way to support solar and a renewable energy future. Simply call your energy retailer to switch to GreenPower, or use the Government's Energy Made Easy site to compare GreenPower plans.

The Green Living Centre runs free workshops and can link you to GreenPower, Community Renewable Energy groups and other solar initiatives.

Solar for apartments FAQs

What is the solar opportunity for apartments in the Inner West?

There are over 200 great apartment block and mixed use strata buildings in Inner West LGA which would see a payback on a solar system in 5-7 years.

How much electricity do apartments consume nationally?

Strata buildings in Australia consume 7% of the national electricity grid, equivalent to $1.7bn of electricity per annum. 

What is the current rate of solar uptake in apartment buildings?

Approximately 0.6% of apartment buildings have solar, compared with 22% of residential houses.  

What is the average sized solar system on an apartment block?

Average sized solar system on an apartment block is 12kW. The largest solar system on an apartment block in the Inner West local government area is ~80kW.

The largest solar system being installed in NSW on a residential complex is 2.5 megawatts (MW) at Ed. Square complex in Edmonson Park in South Western Sydney  

Can I use the shared solar on the roof for my apartment?

Yes, by using solar sharing gateways, which share solar fairly and equitably between participating lots. These have been approved by Ausgrid, the electricity grid provider in the Inner West council area, in 2020. 

This means that a single solar system can be shared between multiple residents and the common area “houselights” meter for the first time. Also, not every lot owner needs to participate, a shared solar system can be installed just for those who are interested.  

Can a business in a mixed use strata scheme also participate?

Commercial tenants operating in mixed use strata schemes have not previously had a way to effectively engage with the strata on a shared solar system. A solar sharing gateway makes this possible. 

Can the solar be used for electric vehicle charging?

Shared solar systems on residential strata buildings in NSW are already connected to electric vehicle charging stations in the basement carpark, giving electric vehicle owners the ability to charge their vehicles with clean energ

Can solar help with reducing hot water costs?

Yes, the combination of solar photovoltaic on the roof of an apartment block and an electric heat pump, which uses ambient air temperature, can provide the lowest cost hot water to an apartment building – up to 90% cheaper than gas storage tanks.

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Page last updated: 14 Jul 2021