Its Not Easy Being Green

It seems that just as the green movement in strata has gained some momentum, roadblocks have been presented. At least that is the case for the advancement of solar power in strata titled apartments.

In NSW the new Liberal government has slashed the rebate on surplus power generated by solar installations and sold back into the grid. It might be that the first price put on this power was too generous but those that have bothered and borrowed to install the solar generators are annoyed that in dealing with government apparently “a deal is not a deal”.

In terms of installation, there are new fears that government subsidised installers have cut corners and lives are at risk by shoddy workmanship. With the pink batts fiasco fresh in our minds, owners corporations are concerned about their liability. A by-law will protect this but nevertheless, it is another hurdle to be overcome.

On top of these problems comes news of an income tax private ruling in the ACT holding income earned from selling power to the grid in the form of reduced common property energy bills, is taxable income in the hands of the owners. The prospect of owners complicating their personal tax returns to account for a share of a reduced bill to the owners corporation, will kill most solar proposals within an owners corporation.

While solar initiatives in hi-rise flounders under these government caused problems, the City of Willoughby and stoically push on and have organised a forum on green initiatives for buildings on Saturday 23 July 2011. The forum is focusing on measures to reduce consumption and TEYS Lawyers are proud to be among the inaugural sponsors of this event. Follow this link to read more on the Sydney Green Apartments Forum

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