How to install solar panels if we live in a neighbors association

In a previous post we talked about what it means economically to install solar panels and how to compensate for surplus energy in the electricity bill.

If we want to have these economically and energetically savings, we have to be able to install the panels. Doing it in a building of a neighbors association is not as simple as doing it in a single-family house, because in the building there are many who must agree. Therefore, what do we need to know if we want our building to be ecological by installing solar panels?

First of all, it must be clear who will use the energy generated by the photovoltaic panels, if it will only be used for the light of the community, if there are only a few neighbors who want it for their private consumption or if there are an agreement between all the neighbors to distribute the energy between all the flats and the community. There are as many options as neighbors association, but the most important thing is to always talk about it beforehand and make sure everything is clear with a contract in between.

Pre-installation steps: inform and organize neighbors

It is not necessary that all neighbors want to use solar panels so that a few can do it, those who use them will assume the cost of the panels. But if a neighbor wants to join it after the years, they will have to pay the amount that would correspond to the initial installation.

Photo by Nirmal Rajendharkumar
Photo by Nirmal Rajendharkumar

Therefore, in the cases where only a few want to use solar panels, the first thing to do in the neighbors association is to know who is interested by informing all of them and organizing those who want energy from the panels. It is necessary to request budgets, assembly conditions and an energy report so that everyone can make a correct assessment and make a decision.

As we said before, it is not necessary for all the neighbors to participate if they are not interested. In this case, the energy will be distributed according to the agreements reached between the group of interested ones. On the other hand, it is necessary for the entire community to vote to approve the project, since in most cases the panels are installed on the roof of the building which is usually community property, and this is why it is necessary to reach an agreement with the rest of the owners of the neighbors although not all of them want to use the panels. According to the Civil Code of Catalonia, it is necessary to approve the project proposal in a general meeting of the neighbors association by different majorities depending on the characteristics of the project, such as whether the plates are for private or community use, or if they are placed in an area for community use or not.

In most cases, a simple majority of the total votes is necessary (more votes in favor than votes against). Although in case of physical innovations are necessary in the property for the installation, it is needed the favorable vote of 4/5, and if common elements of common use have to be transferred for free, all votes in favor are needed. There is also the option that a person proposes to rent part of the community cover for their individual enjoyment (install the panels), and here the necessary majorities change depending on the duration of the rental, if it is less than 15 years it is a simple majority, if the period of time is higher, 4/5 parts of votes in favor.

Therefore, once we know which owners want to use photovoltaic panels, the agreements that must be reached are the following:

– Agreement for the use of a community space to install the new infrastructure with the entire community of neighbors.

– Agreement of economic participation and financing of each participant.

– Agreement for the distribution of the energy generated.

At the time of the contracts and agreements, there is an option in which you can choose to sell the excess energy to third ones. If you choose this option, things can get complicated because then it is necessary to configure the neighbor association as a company. This is reason why is more worthwhile to pour the excess energy into the network and receive a discount on the bill.

We already have an agreement, what’s next?

It is time to choose which company is going to do the installation, choosing the budget that best suits the interests of future users, and sign the contract with them. The most advisable thing is to use a type of contract that allows you to avoid a final price higher than budgeted one. With this contract, the company undertakes to:

Photo by Guillherme Schneider
Photo by Guillherme Schneider

– Make a technical visit and the project.

– Manage the license.

– Manage subsidies or bonuses.

– Manage and install all the elements.

– Start up.

– Legalization.

– Have a minimum guarantee.

One of the important points of the installation is the generation meter; the installation company must place it as indicated by the electrical distribution company of the building, which is the one in charge of taking note of the light consumed. This one sends it to each trading company so that it can bill correctly according to the agreed energy distribution from the solar panels.


If you finally choose to install solar panels in your building, either for the entire community or for private use, you can contact your administrators so that they can help you follow the steps indicated above.