Smarter Communities meets with Minister Lily D’Ambrosio

Smarter Communities meets with Minister Lily D’Ambrosio

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On April 8th, Niall Kenny, the Head of Innovation at Smarter Communities (parent company of Victoria Body Corporate Services), met with Minister for Energy and Resources Lily D’Ambrosio and MP Ryan Batchelor to showcase our successful solar funding project at 24 St. Kilda Street, Melbourne.

This St. Kilda property was guided by our experienced Sustainability Team to secure $33,600 from the Solar Victoria grant program . This program offers up to $2,800 per apartment to a maximum of $140,000 per building.

This event highlights Smarter Communities’ commitment to sustainability and providing strata (otherwise known as body corporate or owners corporation) buildings with cost-effective and environmentally friendly energy solutions.

Minister D’Ambrosio was particularly impressed by our Sustainability Team’s success in securing solar grants for 66 VBCS properties out of total 143 applications for the whole state, promoting the adoption of solar energy in Australia’s strata buildings, a sector previously overlooked in the solar movement. The successful applications to the Victoria solar grant program from Smarter Communities alone amount to a total funding request of $1,820,000.

Funding secured by Smarter Communities will generate the following benefits:

Solar in Strata Buildings: The Challenges

The roofs of multi-dwelling strata properties represent a significant untapped opportunity for rooftop solar, with less than 2% of these properties currently equipped with solar panels, compared to 30% of free-standing homes.

This disparity shows that the benefits of the consumer energy revolution are not equally distributed. The three main challenges committees face when trying to access solar is:

  • Technical Nature: Efficiently distributing energy among apartments is complicated as there is limited space and strata title owners do not own their roofs, making individual roof allocation challenging.
  • Cost: Financial burdens of system installation and necessary electrical infrastructure upgrades.
  • Owner Engagement & Strata Regulations: Challenges often emerge in buildings with a high proportion of investor-owned units where absentee property owners may lack the motivation to invest in solar technology. Navigating the complexities of such projects can seem daunting without the expertise of a knowledgeable Sustainability Team.

The Solution – Introducing the Smarter Communities Sustainability Team

Smarter Communities has established an in-house sustainability team that provides specialized support to committees seeking access to more affordable and environmentally friendly energy.

This support includes navigating the strata approval process, reviewing technical specifications of the system, engaging with owners, and consulting with government bodies to optimize outcomes for our buildings.

Once a committee decides to install solar, Smarter Communities manages everything from the grant application to installation, ensuring a smooth transition to greener energy.

  • Technical Nature: Smarter Communities partner Allume’s “SolShare” innovation removes the energy distribution and ownership barriers that have historically prevented apartment residents from accessing cheaper and cleaner energy from the sun. This innovative solution intelligently distributes solar power among apartments based on real-time usage, ensuring equitable energy distribution, and maximizing cost savings over the billing period.
  • Cost: The Solar Victoria Grant scheme can provide up to 70% of funding for your whole solar system. Smarter Communities can arrange strata financing to fund the difference between the install cost and funding. These loans have variable term lengths and the option to buy out the agreement at any point, removing the need for special levies
  • Owner Engagement & Strata Regulations: VBCS award winning industry expertise paired with our dedicated sustainability team provide a one-stop shop for all your sustainability infrastructure requirements.

Will there be further funding from the Solar Grant Program?

A similar initiative to the Solar Victoria grants is expected from the NSW government in 2024. We are also awaiting a second round of solar grants for Victoria to be launched later this year. This additional funding means more strata buildings will have access to solar energy, reducing individual energy bills of up to $500 per year. Smarter Communities is committed to guiding each strata property to a cheaper, greener future.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about solar options for your community, please contact our Sustainability Team today at

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.

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