Solar panels in a co-op - From idea to decision
The interest in climate-smart alternatives is increasing among housing cooperatives. From recycling to green energy contracts. Do you live in an co-op where you would like to install solar panels? We have gathered information about what you, as a member or the board, should look into in order to make a decision.
1. What is your Co-op's conditions?
Start with examining the housing cooperatives conditions to install solar panels. Whether you can install solar panels in a co-op depends on the roof, your total electricity consumption and your budget. We recommend that you take an extra look at the following:
Condition of the roof
Does the housing cooperative have plans to renovate the roof? If yes, make sure to do it before you decide to install solar panels. Remember that solar panels are a long-term investment! Therefore, you want the roof to be in a good enough condition to carry solar panels for at least 30 years.
Size of the roof
How big is the roof of the co-op? To accommodate as many solar panels as possible, you need space on the roof. Find out how many square meters it is.
The roof's direction and angle
If you decide to install solar panels, you want to be able to maximize the benefits. Investigate the roof's angle and what direction it is facing. Usually we say that a roof with a 40 degree angle facing south is an optimal roof for solar panels. Also, you want to avoid shady areas of the roof.
The Co-op's electricity consumption
How much electricity does your housing cooperative consume? The more you consume, the more profitable solar panels will be for your co-op. But usually, housing cooperatives have a profitable calculation from 8 kWp to 255 kWp.
Existing electricity contracts
Does the tenants have joint or separate electricity contracts? If your co-op has a joint electricity contract, solar panels can lower everyone's total electricity cost. If you instead have separate contracts, a smaller amount of solar panels could cover the electricity consumption for the electricity that is used for the common areas.
2. How much solar panels do you need?
How much of your total electricity consumption do you want to replace with solar energy? All consumption or just for your common areas? It determines how much solar panels the housing cooperative needs. Estimate the co-op's annual electricity consumption and the size of the roof to calculate what opportunities you have and how much electricity solar panels could potentially produce.
Use our solar panel calculator to get an estimate
Also, the number of solar panels you can install depends on what your main fuse can handle. In other words, it limits how much electricity you can produce. Check with your board for more information.
3. What is your budget?
The list with things to fix in the building is usually long and it is always a matter of priority. Once you have calculated how many solar panels you are interested in installing, you can calculate the price of the investment. Do not forget that the state offers solar panel grants. The grant can cover up to 20% of the cost of the solar panels, which can make a big difference in your budget.
Read more about what it takes to receive grants for solar panels and apply well in advance.
4. Do you need to apply for a planning permission?
In most cases, you do not need to apply for a planning permission, but there are always exceptions. There are many beautiful and well-preserved housing cooperatives in Sweden with different classifications. Therefore, take an extra look at the property's local plan, if it says that you need to apply for building permits - then you have to. Likewise, if the property is k-marked, blue-graded or green-graded.
Not sure? Read more about planning permission for solar panels and how to apply.
5. Request quotes!
When you know the condition of your property, you have collected documentation and obtained approval from the board, it is time to collect quotes. In addition to the solar panels themselves, it may be useful to investigate what other services your solar panel supplier can offer to make the process as smooth as possible. Do you need help with maintenance of the solar panels and applying for electricity certificates? How about the excess energy - are you selling it or using it? In other words, there are plenty of opportunities!
At Svea Solar, we are happy to help your tenant-owner association get one step closer to solar-powered housing.