As energy efficiency becomes a crucial deciding factor for many Australians, one of the most common solutions is to incorporate solar panels to homes. Is this, however, possible for apartment owners?

Smart Energy national sales manager Liam Navon said solar panel systems are relatively easy to install on roofs and they allow homeowners to produce clean energy while enjoying a significant return on investment.

“Unfortunately, switching to solar is a lot less straightforward for those who live in an apartment,” he told Your Investment Property.

“Still, there are many ways that apartment owners can enjoy clean energy, and potentially even reduce their electricity bills.”

Mr Navon shared some tips apartment owners can do as they explore their options for solar power.

1. Do research

Mr Navon said installing solar system onto a shared roof requires a little more research as it would require the right kind of system.

“You will need to check with your strata on the regulations in place, as well as making sure the building meets the correct requirements,” he said.

Furthermore, apartment owners need to reach out to several providers and ask whether they can install panels on apartments.

2. Seek approvals

When planning to install solar panels in apartments, owners must generally seek approval from the body corporate and their neighbours.

“It’s important to speak to all apartment owners within the building to ensure that no issues arise. It is also a great way to get an understanding of if anyone else is interested in having one installed,” Mr Navon said.

If more owners from the apartment building are interested in installing solar panels, it would be easier to gain the approval from the strata.

“It’s important that you make sure you request any licences or approval from the homeowners’ corporation,” Mr Navon said.

3. Check out alternatives

In some cases, even with the support of other owners, solar panel installation might not be possible due to legal parameters, such as the building being too high, available space being not enough, and lack of funds.

Portable solar panels are an option — Mr Navon said these have become progressively cheaper and more efficient in recent years.

“They are now a convenient source of power for those on the go and are widely used for things like RVs and camping. Since portal solar panels can work anywhere with sun exposure, they are suitable for an apartment or rental home,” he said.

“It’s easy to find small solar kits that can be set up on windowsills, balcony railings, and bannisters.”

According to MCG Quantity Surveyors solar systems and battery storage are easy retrofits — while they might not be necessarily cheap, they could be worth having due to their benefits.

A decent system can be installed at a cost between $5,000 to $15,000. This can be depreciated by 10% per year under the diminishing value method.

Mr Navon said apartment owners who are really passionate about renewable energy and sustainability but do not have the capacity to get solar panels can start slowly.

“Begin with small changes like building-wide recycling and compost drops, creating gardening spaces for homegrown vegetables, switching lighting fixtures to compact fluorescent lamp lighting, conserving water and making a building-wide pledge to try and be greener together,” he said.

Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels.