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Can I place solar panels on the roof of a co-owned property?

We often receive this question from the co-owners or tenants of an apartment building.

Technically the answer is: yes. However, the administrative and legal aspects are somewhat more challenging. Yet it is definitely possible and profitable. Nevertheless, it demands considerable imagination, lobbying and negotiation.

The first project with a photovoltaic installation in a co-owned property was carried out in 2009, in the Brussels municipality of Uccle. Some project numbers...

  • 24 co-owners of 12 apartments
  • 23 solar panels with a total 4,945 kWp of power
  • Sufficient for an annual 4,200 kWh output, i.e 10% of collective consumption

The administrative aspects

There are two possible scenarios. Both require a significant amount of patience! You will have to hold meetings to convince doubters for example, explain the function and benefits, calculate the costs, get the funding together, choose an installer, compare quotes, etc.

Scenario 1: participation of all the co-owners

This is the simplest scenario. The co-owners contribute to a communal pot according to their means. That money is subsequently used to finance the installation works. Of course, everything must be meticulously arranged with the building manager and the co-ownership regulations amended accordingly.

The proceeds from the sale of the Green Certificates per installation go into the pot and that money is used to finance other works. The co-owners must agree on the distribution of profits and include them in the co-ownership regulations.

Scenario 2: only some of the residents are interested

These can be owners or tenants. In this case, you must first obtain the agreement of all the co-owners to use the roof and conclude a lease agreement. This agreement must contain the following elements:

  • the lease agreement duration
  • the persons responsible for paying maintenance costs
  • the terms of installation acquisition at the end of the lease contract
  • the dismantling of worn solar panels (only after a minimum of 25 years).

The building manager will ensure that the installation does not damage the roof or inconvenience residents.

Model contracts can be found on the Bruxelles Environnement website.

The technical aspects

The technical implementation of the installation can take place in a variety of ways, depending on what the co-owners have agreed upon.

Solution 1: the electricity generated is transported to a communal meter

This is the simplest solution. Providing all the co-owners participate and a reasonable amount of electricity is required for communal facilities (lift, lighting, etc.). Electricity costs are reduced for all the residents, and everyone benefits according to their communal pot investment.

Solution 2: separate solar panels for each residential unit

This is the solution for when only some of the residents participate. With this system, the energy generated is transported to private meters, and personal consumption costs are reduced.
Furthermore, individual installations can be tailored to the requirements and resources of each residential unit. Please note that a green meter must be installed in each residential unit.

Solution 3: communal system + separate systems

If the roof is large enough, then a combination of both solutions is feasible.


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