Strata schemes seeking to install solar panels have had a major win with the NSW Government passing new amendments in Parliament in February that make it easier to install renewable energy in strata complexes.
The amendments mean strata schemes now need only a simple majority of 50% to pass instead of an often-prohibitive voting threshold of 75%.
The legislative change follows commitments made by the Berejiklian Government in 2019 to remove barriers preventing strata schemes from benefitting from sustainability-related infrastructure, including solar panels, battery storage and electric vehicle charging points.
Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, Kevin Anderson said, “The reality is that apartment buildings have been held back when it comes to installing renewable energy, and that had to change.
“For too long, the high voting thresholds needed to approve these types of installations have made it far too hard for owners and tenants living in strata.
“Today, we’ve changed the law so that strata communities only need 50% of owners to agree to install clean energy infrastructure in their apartment buildings, making it drastically easier to make the switch.”
Next Steps for Strata Schemes
Now that the process has been simplified for strata schemes in New South Wales, determining the right renewable energy solution for your building is the next step.
There are many factors to consider, including the amount of space required for solar panels, the amount of remaining space available, and whether solar panels will be installed for communal or individual benefit within your building.
The first step is to bring the matter forward as a motion at your next meeting, so all factors may be considered, and the appropriate option voted upon.
There are primarily two options for solar panel installation in strata complexes, including:
- Install collectively – whereby communal solar panels are installed for the benefit of all owners and tenants in the complex
- Install individually – whereby solar panel systems are installed and maintained by individual owners for their own benefit
In most cases, collective installation is a viable option for large strata schemes, cutting down the shared running costs of large buildings. For small strata schemes, installation and maintenance of individual solar panel systems may be a more appealing option.
If supported by the majority of owners, large strata schemes may also consider upgrading to a solar embedded network. To learn more about embedded networks, click here.
The Future for Greener Strata
The NSW Government has made it clear that they are now consulting with key stakeholders to identify and overcome any other barriers restricting the uptake of sustainability-related infrastructure in strata schemes.
Mr Anderson said, “Now that we’ve made it easier than ever to get approval to install sustainable infrastructure, we want to ensure there’s nothing else standing in the way.”
Strata schemes in New South Wales can be confident that more positive changes are on the way and a greener future for strata has the support of the NSW Government.