More and more Americans are “Going Solar” every year. The economic and environmental benefits are hard to ignore. The reduction or elimination of electricity costs, an increase in the value of the property, and lowering our combined carbon footprint are powerful reasons to find out more about solar energy systems. Let’s take a closer look at how going solar within an association differs from individual homeowners and how these solar projects can work within an association.
For individual homeowners, the task of installing a solar energy system is fairly cut-and-dry. Once a homeowner chooses a company, they install and start saving almost immediately. Within condominiums or co-ops, the process is a little more complicated. Solar projects in condominiums involve multiple stakeholders, therefore they tend to get a bit more complicated than simply installing solar on a single-family home. Due to this, it is important to work with a contractor and property management specialist who has experience in the process of installing solar energy systems on a condominium. It is important also to thoroughly communicate what the benefits to each unit owner will be over the life of the system.
When residents live within an association, the condominium agreement and bylaws will determine your solar options. Most options include the following:
- Association Projects: According to EnergySage, “With an association project, a solar PV system provides electricity for common areas of the building. Association projects typically connect to the building’s common electric meter, and any extra electricity the PV system produces can be shared with individual condo unit owners.” This way, all unit owners share the benefits of solar. Prior to installation, all unit owners should be made aware of the costs and financial benefits that will happen with a solar install, as well as what will happen if they decide to move in the future.
- Single or Joint-Owner Projects: In instances where the condo association rules and bylaws allow it, single or joint-owners can install solar panels on a roof for their personal use. Unit-owner projects don’t require that all of the residents make an investment in order to install the solar energy system, so they may be easier to negotiate in large condo complexes. There may, however, be limitations on the usage of the roof and if fees may apply to this.
If your condo association has questions about solar installations and how they may work in your area, talk to our knowledgeable staff at Thayer & Associates, Inc., AMO. Call our office at 617-354-6480 or visit our website.