Solar for apartments

Learn how your apartment building or townhouse could benefit from solar power and improved sustainability features. 

Unlocking Sustainable Strata

We developed these guides in partnership with Merri-bek City Council and the environmentally sustainable design experts at Hip v Hype, to make it easier to improve sustainability in apartment buildings for the 87.5% of dwellings in Yarra that are medium or high density.

Watch this video to get an introduction to Yarra Energy Foundation's Guide to Solar for Apartments and learn more about available options for solar powered apartments and townhouses.


Solar rebates and programs for apartments

Contact Solar Savers for free advice and a trustworthy quote for solar on your apartment building. Yarra Council has partnered with Solar Savers, a not-for-profit organisation, to make solar for apartments easier, more affordable and more reliable. Solar Savers has selected reliable solar installers that can provide high-end solar systems, including shared solar options for apartments, at an affordable rate. 

Eligible buildings can apply for a Victorian Government rebate of up to $2800 per apartment to install solar on apartment buildings up to 8 storeys high, with between 5 and 50 units. Visit Solar Victoria to learn more. 

There are apartment buildings in Yarra and around Melbourne that have successfully installed solar and are enjoying the benefits of clean energy from the sun, and electricity bill savings. Installing solar on your apartment requires working with your owners’ corporation, other residents, and an experienced solar company.

A solar company with experience installing solar on apartments or an independent advisory service can provide professional advice on the best options for your building. Many options depend on how much roof space is available. For example, you might be able to install a system that powers the common areas, even if there’s not enough roof space to power everyone’s apartment. As a first step, look at your roof or aerial images online for existing structures, such as common rooftop spaces or infrastructure.

Some options for apartments are likely to take several months to a year to implement, but this can be well worth the effort in bill savings and environmental benefits. A committed group of residents can help to keep things moving. Seek out neighbours who can join you in building enthusiasm among the owners’ corporation.

Steps towards solar on your apartment building

  1. Talk to other owners and your owners' corporation.
  2. Obtain quotes and consider independent advice.
  3. Consider energy efficiency at the same time.
  4. Decide on the best option for your building.
  5. Owners' corporation approves and solar is installed.

What are the options?

The following are the most common ways for apartments to benefit from solar.

Other things to consider

There are additional costs involved in complex solar installations like on apartment buildings. Talk to a reputable solar retailer or an independent advisory serviceto find out if these will apply to your building. Some of the most common additional charges include:

  • Additional metering and monitoring costs for equipment to allow the solar to be equitably shared between residents. Each apartment typically has its own electricity meter and electricity account, but the rooftop solar system on an apartment block may be shared. If the energy is to be shared across apartments, you may need additional equipment.
  • Additional installation costs for tilt frames, longer cabling, and other hardware to install solar on, for example, a flat roof, a concrete roof, or a tall building.
  • Additional installation costs for equipment hire, labour and permitting. Tall buildings may require solar installers to hire equipment and machinery such as cranes, and there may be permitting and labour costs if public property is affected, such as road closures during installation.
  • Additional costs in the planning and approvals stage. For complex installations, you may wish to get independent advice or an independent solar feasibility study from a professional. For some solutions, there may be additional costs for legal advice or regulatory fees.

In most apartments there are a mix of renters and owners. Some solutions overcome this challenge, for example by allowing individual apartments to opt in or out. There are also ways to include tenants and landlords so that both can share the benefit. For more information, see our guidance for rental properties

If you still need more information about solar and want to hear from Yarra residents then watch this Q&A video for practical tips, advice and inspiration.