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  • #48554

    hi Jimmy,  we are thinking of installing solar panels. we use about 30kwh per day which could be covered by a 10kw system, however, on our roof space we could install 10 times that capacity. question – could the excess income from the feed in tariff be paid back to lot owners in the form of reduced strata fees once the system has paid for itself from the electricty bill savings and excess return? the rebate money would be calculated on a lot entitlement basis. thanks hope this makes sense

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  • #48562
    Strata Answers
    (from NSW)

    How large  a solar pv system should you install ?

    The optimum size is  dictated by the usage associated with your common property areas between approx 7.00am and 3.00pm, i.e when the solar pv installation is operating. Any electricity produced beyond the OC’s requirements has to go somewhere, and in the absence of batteries, is exported back to the grid.

    Electricity exported will earn your OC just 8 cents per  kWh credit on the electricity bill, whereas the electricity saved through “Own Consumption” of your home produced power might be saving  the OC 25 cents per kWh in reduced charges.

    You can see how  sizing a system according to the OC’s daytime needs  might give you a 20% return on investment (say payback in 5 years), whereas producing for “export” might return the OC just 7% ( say a payback period of 15 years)

    So really getting into the business of selling your surplus solar pv isn’t attractive even before you start thinking about the tax and other financial complications mentioned by Jimmy, (as well as additional technical requirements for systems exceeding 30 KW)

    Blessed as you are with an abundance of rooftop space ( for most  this is the limiting factor ).  You could consider

    1. Reconfiguring your building so that individual lot owners could make use of solar pv for their private electricity needs. You might allow (by Special by-law)  lot owners to place their own solar pv units on the roof or you could extend the OC’s installation so that it services all apts through an embedded network owned by the owners corporation but with benefits flowing back to lot owners in the form of reduced electricity rates
    2. Looking  at investing in battery storage (cost, space and safety considerations here ) so that the OC could generate more solar pv during the day and store the surplus for night time use.

    We hope this is helpful

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    You could certainly reduce their levies by pumping profits from your excess solar power back into the general admin fund.  However, actually handing back cash is a strata law and taxation minefield that you might want to avoid.

    In fact, when the solar panels start generating profits as well as power, even if you just reduce the levies, you might have to issue a tax statement for all your owners then, as they are effectively making an income from a shared facility.

    But that’s no reason not to do it.  Paying more tax just means you are making more money.

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