Solar Hot Water for Personal Use | Chloe

Bondi Apartment Block
  • 1970’s block
  • 12 units
  • 3 levels
  • Garages on ground level
  • Has also started communal composting & a vegetable garden
  • No gas connection to the building

Chloe, a top-floor resident in a small unit block gained permission from its owners corporation to replace a small in-bathroom electric hot water system with a rooftop solar hot water system.

Chloe Evans has installed a solar hot water system for her own use. She shares the details here.

Project Overview

I am in a top floor N/E facing apartment and my ancient 50L electric water tank required replacing. So I investigated getting Solar Hot Water installed. I ended up deciding on a closed circuit system (the 180L tank is on the roof) with one high quality panel.

I chose to undertake this project due to a combination of:

  • wanting to reduce my reliance on coal-fire produced electricity, both from an environmental & financial perspective
  • taking advantage of the rebates while they were available
  • challenging my strata block to consider these types of things, and hopefully give them permission to consider doing the same themselves.

Alternatives considered

I originally thought it’d be best to get a split system, as I thought it would be easier to get approval from Strata by not putting the tank on the roof, but the problem was that the tanks didn’t come small enough to fit properly in my small 1br unit laundry. 

I was also persuaded that as there are no moving parts (i.e. pump etc) it would require less maintenance & likely last longer.  I ended up deciding on the Edwards closed circuit system..

In retrospect I would have liked to have also compared evacuated tubes.

Pricing & Rebates

I don’t remember the exact costs & rebates as it was 2.5yrs ago, though I paid roughly $4,500 and got $2,000 back in rebates (Federal & State).

The installer did most of the paper work for the rebates and there was a 6-8 week wait for the funds after installation.

It just made sense as the rebates meant it wasn’t that more expensive than putting in a new electric hot water system.

Decision-making process

Approval was needed from the owners corporation at a General Meeting because the system was being installed on common property.

I took along all the brochures, and I was also supported by another owner in the building who was an engineer, so it was easily explained how the roof had no problems bearing the weight of the tank  & panel – that was probably people’s major concern.  I also raised no objection to creating a by-law.

After questions were worked through, it was agreed that they did not have anything against it as long as Council allowed it, and that I had a by-law written to take responsibility for it.

By-laws

This special privileges by-law was passed. Because the system was being installed on common property the by-law allows the installation and outlines the terms under which approval was given.

Disclaimer: This by-law is provided for guidance only and was used based on legal advice for the specific circumstances in this project. Legal advice should be sought to ensure an appropriate by-law is used in each circumstance. Green Strata accepts no responsibility for the use of this by-law.

Results & Savings

 I did not measure my reduction in electricity usage as I left to go overseas & let out my apartment for 8 months almost immediately afterwards, but now that I live there again, I actually turn the booster off for 9 months of the year, so the saving must be significant.  I also have the added benefit of never running out of hot water, as now I have a 180L tank as opposed to a 50L tank, and I have added space in my small laundry area & have been able to install shelves instead.

Timeframe

4-6months... I had to wait for Council to re-legislate because they had a clause that said you had to do a DA if it was going to be visible from a public space. As I live opposite a park this was acting as an obstacle. Fortunately they recognised that this legislation was restrictive and changed it. I arranged for installation one day after the legislation changed.

Lessons Learnt

The Law of Reciprocation really helps with this kind of thing!  I put some genuine effort into helping the building run better, and then it made the other owners much more accommodating to my request.

Otherwise, persistence was the other main ingredient.

Last Updated: 
Mon 25/01/2016

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