Harnessing solar power in sectional title schemes: advancing towards a sustainable future
In a recent webinar titled “Should You Go Solar in Sectional Title?” and hosted by Women in Sectional Title (WiST), two legal experts, specialist attorney, author and founder of WiST, Marina Constas, and Manager: Commercial Department at Sectional Title Solutions, Advocate Jade Adair, engaged in an in-depth discussion on the legalities and practicalities of implementing solar energy systems in sectional title schemes. The webinar explored two primary approaches to introduce solar power and shed light on solar power integration in new developments, providing valuable insights for communities seeking energy-efficient solutions.
Approach 1: Exclusive use areas (EUAs)
The first approach discussed was the creation of exclusive use areas (EUAs), allowing unit owners to install their own solar panels. This approach offers owners greater flexibility and autonomy, and they may even be eligible for a tax rebate. However, ensuring reputable installers are employed and adhering to clear conduct rules to maintain aesthetics and safety are vital considerations.
Approach 2: Prescribed Management Rule 29(2) of the Sectional Title Schemes Management Act (STSMA)
The second approach involves the installation of a centralised system and the body corporate making improvements to common property through PMR 29(2) of the Sectional Title Schemes Management Act (STSMA). This grants the body corporate more control over the installation process, but can result in delays if one owner objects.
Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, necessitating thoughtful consideration by sectional title communities. Proper planning, including clear conduct rules and engagement of professionals, can facilitate a seamless transition to solar power, ensuring communities reap its benefits in terms of energy security, environmental conservation, and financial savings.
Challenges and solutions
The webinar also addressed the challenges faced with solar installations in sectional title schemes. With the escalating demand for solar energy, the importance of employing reputable and experienced installers cannot be overstated. Trustees and owners are advised to request references, portfolios of work, and proof of registration with relevant authorities to make informed decisions.
Solar power integration in new developments
Developers are increasingly taking an interest in creating solar solutions for sectional title communities. One approach involves setting up a separate company to handle solar installations, later ratified by the body corporate. While this appeals to eco-conscious buyers and offers long-term cost savings, concerns about transparency and fairness related to the developer’s financial incentives need to be addressed.
The benefits of solar energy
The advantages of efficient energy in sectional title schemes are manifold, encompassing reduced carbon footprints, enhanced energy security during load shedding, and lower electricity costs. Given the mounting challenges of climate change, embracing renewable energy becomes pivotal for a sustainable future. The installation of high-quality, efficient solar panels, along with battery storage options for energy security and net metering services, can maximise the benefits of solar energy.
In summary, harnessing solar power in sectional title communities is a crucial step towards a sustainable future, offering various environmental, energy security, and financial benefits. Thorough consideration of the two primary approaches, meticulous planning, and professional involvement will facilitate a seamless transition to solar power. Embracing renewable energy is a collective responsibility, with sectional title communities playing a vital role in building a cleaner and greener future for all.
The webinar offered a comprehensive overview of the challenges and opportunities of solar energy adoption in sectional title schemes, making it a valuable resource for anyone considering installing solar panels in their community. For those residing in community schemes and contemplating the switch to solar, we strongly recommend accessing the webinar for valuable insights.
As always, our Solutions Consultants are readily available to address any questions or concerns you may have about embracing Efficient Energy solutions for your community scheme. Don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance as you embark on your journey towards a greener and more sustainable future. Together, we can create a brighter tomorrow powered by the sun.