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7th November 2016
Solar Industry Targets Strata

Competition for solar installations on strata buildings is heating up with big $160,000 deals to be made. If you manage strata, it's time get on the front foot and protect your turf. The market is being fueled by the hype around Tesla's new Powerwall and Powerpack 2, which halve the payback on battery storage. While strata has been a challenge in the past, the benefits are making the payoff too good to resist.

The recent outages in South Australia and Victoria have prompted a significant boost in demand for greater energy security. Solar companies are now actively contacting strata buildings directly with quotes to install solar panels and batteries won't be too far behind. Strata managers need to be wary of snake oil peddlers just out to make the biggest sale; companies who aren't invested in the long-term of the building. A building manager in Brisbane recently received a quote for their property that underestimated costs and overestimated savings because it was calculated for a residential house.

With the price of solar panels dropping, rooftop solar PV has a typical return on investment in the range of 15-22%, and an average payback period of 4-7 years. Though there are a number of extra considerations for rooftop solar that has made it more difficult on strata buildings.

  • Flat, concrete roofs have an external waterproof membrane
  • If there's no service elevator a crane may be required to get panels on the roof
  • A structural engineer needs to sign-off on completed works
Unlike residential or townhouse developments, many strata buildings have a flat concrete roof with an external waterproof membrane to prevent leakage into the building. Because of this, it is often necessary to mount the panels on a ballast to avoid damaging the membrane. 
An example of a non-penetrating, ballasted mounting system
As discussed in last month's Strata Energy News, rooftop solar and battery storage can provide substantial benefits to resilience and energy savings in strata. Already many new strata developments are including this technology from the outset. There is an excellent opportunity for existing strata buildings to access the same benefit, but it is important to get the right advice specific to the building.

As interest and demand for solar in strata grows, residents and owners will look to their strata managers. An excellent opportunity for pro-active managers to add-value to existing services.

For further information, read Solar for Strata Buildings.

Morgan Warnock
Editor, Strata Energy News
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