Does your apartment building need a solar champion?

Hear from apartment residents on how they rallied their Owners Corporation to install solar.


When Peter’s Fitzroy apartment building wanted to reduce running costs, they formed a subcommittee to find ways to make the building more efficient. As electricity was making up 12% of their annual budget, the committee focused on energy to save money, and began the process of seeking support to install solar.

Peter found that “it takes at least one person on the committee to champion and keep momentum in a project like this. Most often initiatives like this fail because of apathy rather than opposition.” He recommends those wanting to install solar in their building prepare to put in the work over an extended period, as it can be “a long process”.

The first special resolution to install rooftop solar in Peter’s building failed by just a few votes. However, his subcommittee managed to overcome the concerns of other owners and now has advice for others on the same journey. Some of his suggestions include:

  • Creating a group chat for your building to inform owners, promote the ballot, and communicate the benefits of the project.
  • Create presentation providing an overview of the project and highlighting its benefits.
  • Host an information night well in advance of the ballot to answer questions, address concerns and get more owners involved.
  • Anticipate some of the questions that might be raised such as “How will it be funded?” and “How will the panels be maintained?
  • Word the ballot thoughtfully to outline the benefits of the proposal and consider using a digital ballot system to increase participation.


Amanda moved into her brand-new ‘off-the-plan’ Clifton Hill apartment five years ago. While the building already had rooftop panels installed, they weren’t connected to the building’s power supply and had not been certified by an electrician.

Determined to make the most of the panels, Amanda and her neighbours spent many Owner Corporation meetings working through the process of obtaining certification for the panels and organising the energy supplier to connect the panels to the power supply. Now Amanda says, “the panels cut our common area power bills by about half.”

Whilst there were members of Amanda’s owner corporation who understood energy issues, she said “it was a steep learning curve for many of us.”

Now, Amanda’s building is looking into whether they could increase their solar array. She says “with gas prices likely to increase, the residents are considering whether we can convert our apartments to all electric by switching to electric heat pumps and stovetops.”

Sam from Brunswick East Sam from Brunswick East


When Sam’s and his neighbours began to think about installing solar on their apartment building in Brunswick East, he found it was difficult to get the process started, as only about half of the residents attended owner corporation meetings regularly. “It took a while to convince people it’s a good idea initially. People don’t respond, everyone has to contribute and raise the levy.”

Much like Peter, Sam found that having an expert such as a representative from a solar retailer attend a body corporate meeting to explain the process of installing solar and answering questions helped build support. “There were a few questions about possible roof damage, cost and access, but ultimately the pros outweighed the cons by far. It was clear that we were adding something of real value to the building.”

Three years on, Sam isn’t worried about his energy bills. “The real benefit is being able to run heaps of appliances; washing machine, dishwasher, spilt system etc. during the day and know it’s not going to blow out your bill.”

Murray and Tia

Murray lives in a block of 18 townhouses in Richmond. He started his journey to solar by approaching his neighbours and asking them “are you interested in solar or not?”

Murray’s neighbour Tia said she felt the building could depend on him to make sure everything was done properly. “He kept us in the loop and he also got in touch with the installers. Got the quotes together. "

In addition to the financial savings and environmental benefits, Tia reflected that the project brought the building together. “I feel like we're on a mission together to make this building a better place to live for everyone here,” she said. “I just feel lucky that I’m part of this community.”

Feeling inspired to be a Solar Champion for your apartment building? Learn more about the Solar for Apartments Program.


Make the switch to electric

All-electric homes, powered by solar, can save you thousands on energy bills every year. Find out everything you need to know about making the switch.