Solar power delivers savings for strata schemes

As consumers feel the pinch of power price rises across Queensland and peak summer season lingers just around the corner, unit complexes trying to reduce bill costs by switching to solar power are facing difficulties convincing body corporate committees.

Archers Body Corporate Management is encouraging unit owners to explore solar power as a viable option for reducing personal and strata energy costs and director Sharon Withford said there were three main points unit owners should consider before approaching their body corporate about solar panels. “System cost is often the most disputed factor among unit owners in the solar decision-making process,” Ms Withford said. “The committee should investigate and shop around for the best price and system available and then recommend appropriate system for approval by owners at a general meeting of the body corporate.

“The committee needs to be thoroughly involved in this research and must work to keep all owners informed of the benefits of solar to the building. It’s important to consider where the solar panels will be placed and how the placement will affect the structure and aesthetics of the building in all weather conditions. There have been cases where the weight of the panels or the method of attachment has been detrimental to the building and panels have come unstuck in wild weather.”

Ms Withford said many owners would make their decision based on how much money they could save and how quickly the initial expense could be paid off.

“The good thing about solar is that owners can often see the savings by the next bill cycle, which provides some instant gratification,” she said. “The pay-off period can vary quite dramatically based on system size and the building’s total energy usage. To find the right system for your complex, it’s best to contact a solar provider and obtain a proposal that’s tailored to your building.”

Ms Withford gave her top questions to ask providers to avoid solar dramas:

  • What system is the best for your building, including the type and size of solar panels?
  • Will the panels or system affect the aesthetics of the building?
  • Will the system be covered under the body corporate’s insurance policy?
  • What is the warranty on the system?
  • Does the system need to be maintained? If it does the body corporate may need to implement an annual maintenance plan to keep the system maintained.
  • What is the lifespan of the system?

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