Solar for Apartments: What Are Your Options?
If you live in an apartment in Australia, you probably think having rooftop solar is out of the question. It does not seem probable for you to put panels on the roof. So, is there a way for you to enjoy solar for your apartment? Let’s talk about it in this blog.
Clean energy is the future, and we must start harnessing it now. But if you live in a city apartment, you may be among those who can never have access to solar power and its benefits. That’s unfortunate, especially with the continuous rise of power bills and electricity prices. More Australians are now searching for ways to be less reliant on the grid. And one of the best solutions is through a solar system installation.
However, it is not feasible for apartment dwellers to have solar because they cannot put solar panels and probably even an inverter due to the rules they have to abide by. But there’s always hope. If you’re among those who live in an apartment unit or rental property, you can now join the solar movement.
Solar Options for Apartment Renters
There are a few ways for apartment dwellers to gain access to solar power. However, they are not applicable to everyone. Before you think about which option to choose, consider the restrictions set by the landlord. There may also be issues concerning apartment location, orientation, size, and shape of the roof, blockages, and other factors.
With those considerations in mind, here are the top solutions if you seek to have solar installed for the apartment:
- Solar Garden
A solar garden is a smaller version of a solar farm used by the industrial sector. It is an alternative model where you share solar power with other apartment dwellers. Solar gardens are not so similar to traditional installations, where a homeowner can buy several panels and connect the system directly to the grid to power their homes.
In a solar garden arrangement, the solar array will be connected to the grid, as well. However, the network will receive all the energy generated instead of using the power for the apartment.
How can this setup help you save? The savings come automatically because the energy from the panels will come as a rebate against the bill. The rebate is applied no matter where you live.
This scheme will benefit those who cannot install panels and batteries, which include people who live in apartment units. The most attractive component of using a solar garden is that you can sell the panels onwards, so you are not tied to an investment. It is, therefore, perfect for those who plan to change residence in the future or even move to another country.
- Peer-to-Peer Energy Trading
The uptake in battery storage is driving peer-to-peer trading of energy to a major revolution. Excess power from solar panels generated will either be wasted or sold back to the retailer in a traditional setting. But usually, the exchange does not seem fair. Now, new technology lets you sell excess solar energy to other people. It’s even used in tandem with blockchain technology through cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, to ensure transparency in trading solar energy with neighbours.
- Common Solar Installation
This approach consists of a dedicated metre where lights and other communal facilities operate. The power bills are paid through strata levies. This method works well for tall apartments with little roof space. The benefit here is that everyone in the property will equally benefit from the reduced bills. The capital expenditure will also be a lot smaller for those blocks that do not have air conditioners, lifts, or pools.
- Exclusive Use of Solar
Sometimes, bills for common areas may already be small, so it may not make sense to use solar for the common areas. A good alternative is to install a solar system for the unit itself. Of course, this solution always depends on whether there is actually enough roof space for the panels. When you rent or purchase the unit, you don’t think about the roof of the property unless you already have a solar installation in mind.
But let’s say that there is viable roof space, which means you can have solar installed. Most of the time, other unit owners will want the same thing, which means there should be enough space for everyone in the building to have solar panels on the roof. For this to work, units should be wired up to their individual metre. It’s efficient, especially because there are actual savings depending on how you use solar throughout the day.
What Landlords Can Do
If you are a landlord, you probably want to make sure that you get a return on investment if you decide to install solar for your apartment.
One way is to have an agreement with the tenant. You already know that even though the whole solar system packages have gone down in prices, they are still a hefty expense, especially for larger properties. You can choose to share the costs, as well as the benefits that come with solar installations.
For example, you can provide solar for the apartment units, but it means you have increased rental prices compared to other apartments in the area. It’s not a bad idea because your apartment may be the only one that promises solar power. Also, some tenants will overlook the added costs in exchange for the solar system benefit. If you increase the rent, it should be explicitly described in the contract why and how much the total price will be.
Another option is to use the pay-for-consumption approach. If your property has solar panels, you can turn them into additional profit by sharing energy with the renters. This method works exactly like peer-to-peer energy trading and exclusive solar use, as mentioned above, where each tenant has a solar monitoring metre. That way, they only pay for their solar consumption, which they will forward to you as the landlord.