Melbourne solar programs lead to city’s largest solar retrofit
5 February 2015
Melbourne’s largest solar retrofit has been installed at Mirvac’s Yarra’s Edge apartments, thanks to support from council rebates and the national Smart Blocks program.
The owner’s corporation used a City of Melbourne $3000 solar rebate and advice from Smart Blocks to install a 47.5 kilowatt system at a cost of $67,000 – though only $230 for each of its 290 residents.
“It’s not just the environment that is the winner here, it’s the 290 owners who will pay less to power the lighting and ventilation systems in their common areas,” councillor Arron Wood, chair of the City of Melbourne’s environment portfolio, said.
Owners corporation member Peter Taylor said residents were pleased with the move towards solar.
“The final price was very affordable when we acted together and it’s an investment in the future value of the whole block. A lot of people think you can’t install solar in a high rise, but we’ve proved that you can and the savings are real,” Mr Taylor said.
According to Mr Wood, the uptake of renewable energy is increasing in the city, but the majority are small systems under 10kW.
“This highlights a missed opportunity for larger buildings like apartment blocks to install solar,” he said.
It’s no surprise there’s limited growth in solar for apartments, as installing solar on strata-titled blocks can be a nightmare, with difficulty often experienced navigating strata rules and getting residents on board.
Smart Blocks was designed to break down some of these barriers.
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“In apartment buildings, it can take anywhere between a few months and several years to install solar, depending on the number of stakeholders involved in the owners corporation and the size, cost, and complexity of the project,” Mr Wood said.
“The Smart Blocks program helps overcome some of these complexities by providing information and a streamlined approach to getting energy related projects completed in apartment buildings.”
The City of Melbourne’s solar rebates were another incentive, with other owners corporations encouraged to apply for the remaining $14,000.