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Solar Systems in Contracts

With an increasing percentage of properties in South Australia having Solar Power systems installed the following article by Penny Erskine from Conveyancing Matters  is quite timely!

 While thousands of South Australian households have installed solar panels in recent years, there appears to be some uncertainty as to how solar systems should be dealt with in the sale contract process.
The confusion stems from the issue as to whether a solar system is a fixture of fitting.  Generally speaking, a fixture stays with the property, whereas a fitting can be removed.
As a result, the contract needs to stipulate whether the solar panels are either included with or excluded from the sale.  As they can be removed, care needs to be taken to address this in the contract.
Our advice is to confirm with your Vendor when listing the property whether the solar panels will be staying with the property – some property owners are choosing to take the solar panels with them – and to then explicitly state in the contract whether the solar panels are included with or excluded from the sale.
It is also recommended that you state within the sale contract what level of solar feed in tariff applies to the property, if the panels are included in the sale.  The tariff is attached to the meter, that is the property, not the solar panels.
The State Government’s recent changes to the solar tariff feed in scheme mean that different tariff rates apply to systems installed before and after September 30 this year.  The level of tariff for that specific property should also be stated in the sales contract for the purchaser’s information so they can inform their electricity supplier and ensure they receive the correct tariff.

Reproduced with permission of Penny Erskine of Conveyancing Matters.          www.conveyancingmatters.com.au