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Powering the Way: A Solar Success Story in a Multi-Unit Apartment

In the City of Yarra half the housing stock is multi-unit dwellings and apartments. Unfortunately, these have been slow to embrace solar systems. For many residents, the idea of generating their own energy seems too complicated to accomplish.

Roadblocks include:

  • Lack of accurate and accessible advice for apartment dwellers and owners.
  • Difficulty managing diverse interests and needs of multiple residents.
  • Technical difficulty of installing rooftop solar on apartment complexes.

To address these, we worked with partners to publish ‘The Guide to Solar for Apartments’, providing step-by-step advice and information on how to approach solar for apartments.

You can read and download the guide here.

An Inspiring Case Study in Richmond

Recently, Yarra Energy Foundation were involved in a highly successful install of individual solar systems across the shared roof of a townhouse complex in Richmond, Victoria.

Each apartment owner paid for the upfront costs of installing their own solar system, with assistance from Solar Victoria’s $1,400 rebate and no-interest loan.

This method is ideal for low-rise apartment complexes with the following conditions:

  • Apartments possess or can acquire rooftop area, either as a property feature or by negotiating with the Owners Corporation (OC).
  • There is enough rooftop space to accommodate individual solar systems.
  • The systems can be connected to individual meters.

Getting approval from your OC is also necessary.

If this scenario doesn’t apply to your building, we discuss many other options and case studies in our Guide.

Murray Griffin, a resident of the Richmond complex, lead the charge for this project and said it all began with a simple question to the other residents.

“The journey to solar here started with a request which we sent out to people saying: ‘Are you interested in solar or not?’”

Out of the eighteen apartment owners invited to participate, ten expressed their interest. The main driving force for the occupants was to reduce their energy bills and household emissions.

Before following this path, many thought the Solar Homes Program was only for standalone houses. Fortunately, it is for all kind of homes – including apartments and multi-unit dwellings!

You can read more about your personal eligibility for a rebate a no interest loan here.

Throughout the entire process, we offered all the occupant’s expert independent advice to facilitate their solar journey. Additionally, we supported them in selecting a reputable supplier, ensuring that only top-tier systems with premium products were chosen.

“This project … probably wouldn’t have happened without their [Yarra Energy Foundation’s] input because there was just a level of reassurance that this complex project we were undertaking was actually … feasible, doable and sensible.”

We are so happy to see Murray and his neighbours complete their solar journey and hope they can be seen as a shining example to other apartment dwellers across Australia.

Here are Solar Victoria’s tips for getting solar installed at multi-dwelling properties:

1. Keep in close contact with your strata manager for assistance on the process.

They will have a unique perspective on the property and what will be required to ensure it all runs smoothly.

2. Do your research.

Aside from the Solar Victoria buyers’ guides there are groups, including organisations you can find through your local council, who can help you through the process.

3. Check your eligibility.

To find out if you’re eligible for a solar panel rebate, check the criteria on this webpage. Solar rebates for addresses with multiple dwellings, like Murray’s block, require each dwelling to have its own system.

4. Get at least three quotes so you can compare different prices and approaches to installation.

To ensure you are sourcing the best deal available.

5. Keep in close contact with all members of the Owners Corporation and committee so they understand what’s going on.

As Murray says “You don’t need to bore them with every piece of detail about micro-inverters and so on, but you need to keep them up to date with what you’re planning to do.”


For more information and advice, you can visit our solar for apartments webpage and download the Guide to Solar for Apartments.