Flat Chat Forum By-laws and outlaws Current Page

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  • #52240
    AvatarKenuppa
    Flatchatter

    My property is in Queensland.

    The Committee is trying to regulate the installation of solar for exclusive use on the roof above our units.

    There is no guidance on how to do this.  The Committee Members are trying to act in the best interests of all owners by limiting roof space and location to be used by individual owners, so that suitable space remains available for others who may choose to install solar in the future.

    Is there any information available on how to regulate the area and location of solar installations?

    Can the Committee just make their own rules on how they believe roof space should be allocated?

    How can the Committee refuse an application if they consider the size or location requested is not fair to other owners?

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Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
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  • #52272
    Sir HumphreySir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    PS. There are more ambitious schemes whereby the OC sets up an ’embedded network’ behind a meter for the site. Then the OC can sell electricity to the individual units like a mini-retailer having its own large solar array and being able to negotiate a cheaper supply to the whole building. The retailer to the OC only has to read one meter and so off-loads a whole lot of admin to the OC. An embedded network supplying premises must comply with strict requirements of the Australian Energy Regulator.

    #52271
    Sir HumphreySir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    I am accustomed to the ACT’s ‘class B’ townhouses where each unit’s roof is their own. The owners corporation (OC) can regulate erections and alterations to units and consider the appearance of the development but it can’t just out-right prohibit the installation of ‘sustainability infrastructure’ such as solar panels.

    Is the roof configured so that each unit has a bit of ‘its own’ roof over it, even if it is common property as per Qld legislation? If so, I think it would be sensible for the OC to adopt a policy that each unit can be given permission to use the bit of roof that is over that unit but no more. It might be possible to pass a resolution for a by-law or rule or whatever Qld calls it that says that the individual unit owners can expect that subject to approval and over-sight of the details from the committee.

    Perhaps the roof is such that each unit could reasonably and practically be allocated a portion even if it is not as simple as above. Then, a question would be: Could you have an array that looks like one big array but is actually a set of electrically independent smaller arrays, one for each unit? Whether that would work would depend on where your meters are among other things. An advantage of this is that each unit with a small system might be able to largely self-consume their production with their fridge, dishwasher, washing machine and other appliances set to run during the day. In contrast the OC might have almost no electricity consumption during the day. It might be possible to organise a ‘bulk buy’ whereby the owners who want to go in on it share the cost and the OC gets a neat uniform looking large array. I agree that you should leave sufficient space for each unit to be able to have an equitable benefit from the common property roof space at some point in future even if they don’t want to do it now.

    If the configuration is a large blocks of flats with small roof space relative to the number units below, then it might make more sense to have one OC system that could offset the OC’s costs for running the lifts, corridor lighting, fans in the basement car park etc. Then every unit owner would benefit in direct proportion to their contribution to its cost.

    #52268
    scotlandxscotlandx
    Strataguru

    Given it is common property I am not sure you are even obliged to agree to a request to instal the solar panels, there has been a case on this in Queensland where an owner was required to either move or remove solar panels. Even if you are, because it is common property it is reasonable for the Committee/OC to impose any conditions it believes are necessary to ensure the interests of the other owners are preserved. So your approach is correct.

    I suggest you contact a solar panel provider who specialises in strata to advise, strata solar is a complex area.

    #52252
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Sounds like a job for Sir Humphrey.  Send him a PM, just in case he’s not reading this.

    #52247
    AvatarKenuppa
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Thanks for your reply JT, I believe the committee are very aware of and trying to prevent any form of first in – best dressed.

    I have talked to several providers, they are pushy, just want to get in and install the largest system they can.  They have no sense of sharing with others as they generally have only installed systems on single owner dwellings.

    I am very interested to know of any other experiences of solar installation on common property roofs and particularly how area and location was decided, regulated or allocated.

     

    Regards,

    K

    #52242
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Working on the assumption (danger! danger!) that your scheme’s attic space is common property, as are the roofs, then the body corporate can regulate solar installations any way it likes.

    However, you could create by-laws or guidelines that are fair and reasonable on sharing the space, or even devise a collective plan whereby everybody could share in the benefits of a communal installation (which would be cheaper and more efficient).

    Talk to solar power installers then offer the owners some options, but the one you don’t want is “first come, first served”.

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