NSW looks to make solar simple for strata-titled buildings

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The NSW Government has taken another step in the transition to renewable energy with the passage of new amendments in Parliament on Wednesday that are designed to make it easier to install renewable energy into strata-titled buildings.

While rooftop solar has been increasingly popular in Australia, with data from the Clean Energy Regulator estimating one in four homes now have solar installed, figures published by body corporate management company Stratacare Australia indicate that only about 0.5% of strata schemes nationwide have followed suit.

The decision-making processes associated with strata-titled properties and the perceived complexity of installing solar have often served as disincentives but the changes to the Strata Schemes Management Act now mean only 50% of owners need to agree for the installation of renewable energy infrastructure to go ahead in their apartment buildings.

Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson said the changes would make it easier for strata committees to install sustainability infrastructure, such as solar modules, battery storage and EV charging points.

“The reality is that apartment buildings have been held back when it comes to installing renewable energy, and that had to change,” he said.

“For too long the high voting thresholds needed to approve these types of installations has made it far too hard for owners and residents living in strata.

“Today we’ve changed the law so that strata committees only need 50% of owners to agree to install clean energy infrastructure in their apartment buildings, making it drastically easier to make the switch.”

The change continues NSW’s transition away from coal-fired power to hydro, wind and solar, outlined in the $32 billion renewable energy plan unveiled last year and ensures those in strata-titled buildings are not left behind.

“This government is committed to creating a strong, safe and sustainable environment for the 82,000 people living in strata buildings in NSW,” Anderson said. “Every dollar counts at the moment, and I won’t allow red tape to stand in the way of those people accessing clean energy and the lower bills that come with it.”

Anderson said the State Government will now consult with key stakeholders on any other barriers to the uptake of sustainability infrastructure in apartment complexes.

“Now that we’ve made it easier than ever to get approval to install sustainable infrastructure, we want to ensure there’s nothing else standing in the way,” he said.

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