How to access solar in your community

How to access solar in your community

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Have you considered harnessing the power of the sun to lower your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint? The great news is that advancements in solar technology have made installing solar panels on apartment buildings more accessible and efficient than ever before.

Australia’s leading community solar specialists, Smarter Communities & its subsidiary Sunshare Communities are combining over 40 years of community-living expertise and industry leading Australian technology to bring the solar revolution to strata communities.

Understanding your two solar options

Don’t let the size of your building hold you back from going solar. Most apartment buildings are suitable for a solar system, whether it’s for a community shared solar or common area only. Let’s help you understand these two solar options:

  • Community Shared Solar
    Allume – a Melbourne based start-up – developed the world’s first solar energy distribution device that allows apartment buildings to install one solar system on the rooftop and share the solar energy equitably across all apartments. It’s most suitable for communities with up to 30 apartments.
    The Allume system delivers solar energy efficiently to maximise usage, while ensuring that every apartment receives a fair amount of solar energy each month. The system is operational in more than 100 buildings already and can reduce electricity usage by up to 40%.
    Allume’s system is a ‘behind the meter’ solution, which means you can keep your energy plan with any retailer and just enjoy the savings.
  • Common Area Solar
    Buildings with a high energy consumption for powering their shared amenities, such as lifts, car stackers and swimming pools can benefit from a solar system for their common area use only.
    This option will reduce the common area electricity bill for your community with the benefit being shared equitably amongst all owners.

What are the other benefits of a solar system?

It all starts with an initial assessment of your roof, orientation, and amount of sunlight available in your building. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an expert in solar energy to do that. Smarter Communities in-house experts will review your common area bills and run a satellite analysis to determine the suitability for your community.

Once this initial assessment is complete, we can help you engage a solar professional to perform a detailed site assessment to provide a detailed analysis of your building, a proposed system design, and a quote.
The site assessment will take into consideration:

  • Roof access, construction type and supporting structure
  • Cables/wiring requirements
  • Electrical meters type
  • Safety and hazard checks

What are the other benefits of a solar system?

In addition to gaining access to cheaper and greener energy these are additional benefits of a solar system:

  • Increased property value: Solar panels can increase the value of your building, making it more attractive to potential buyers or renters. A solar system can increase the value of a property by up to 20%
  • EV Charging: Install a solar system and charge your Electric Vehicle from the sun.
  • Financial incentives: Local councils and utility companies often offer financial incentives and rebates for buildings that install solar panels, which can further reduce the cost of the installation.

How does a solar system get approved?

The solar system will be installed in the common area; hence you will need support from the majority of the Owners Corporation. The approval can be obtained via Annual General Meeting and/or Extraordinary/Special General Meeting. Your Community Manager will assist you on the legislation and voting requirements.

How can we fund the installation?

The Owners Corporation have four options to fund the solar system:

  • Outright purchase: use capital from the existing building fund
  • Special levy: raise a special levy for the purpose of paying for the system purchase and installation.
  • Strata loan: obtain a strata loan to pay for the system purchase and installation. The loan terms are usually between 5-10 years.
  • Sunshare Communities, a specialist solar company can operate and maintain the solar system on behalf of the Owners Corporation, charging the OC with a daily fee to access the solar system. This is an innovative way to access solar without any upfront cost. It is like signing up for a mobile plan that comes with a new phone included.


With solar powering your community you can enjoy the benefits of lower energy bills whilst knowing that you are helping reduce the carbon footprint of your building.

To learn more about harnessing the power of the sun to lower your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint, contact Sunshare Communities. To discuss your property’s strata management needs or receive a FREE management proposal contact our friendly team. We also offer more helpful resources and community living news in our FREE newsletter.

The information provided is a general guide only and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. The company disclaims all responsibility and liability for any expenses, losses, damages, and costs which might be incurred as a result of the information provided by the company. This content is published in partnership with Sunshare Communities.

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