The number of people renting is rising. One-third of the Australian population is locked out of sharing the benefits of solar because landlords have little reason to install solar panels on a building that they rent out; tenants usually pay their own energy bills, so any savings would go direct to the them.
However, it’s now possible for both landlords and tenants to enjoy the money saving and environmental benefits that solar power offer!
Aussie technology company Matter has developed a platform to make it possible for tenants and landlords alike to benefit from solar. Matter essentially acts as a mini electricity retailer to their tenants.
The landlord pays to have the solar system installed, and then sell the energy to their tenants at a discounted rate. The landlord earns a margin and the tenants benefit from lower energy bills.
At an additional cost Matter also allows the landlord to measure how much solar electricity their property generates and how much it sends out into the grid for a Feed-in Tariff. The Feed-in Tariffs can go to the landlord or be shared with the tenants.
A bonus for landlords, installing solar on a rental property is a business expense which can be written off. This significantly improves a system’s return, but by how much will vary depending on circumstances. Landlords looking to install solar on their rental properties don’t have to limit themselves to using Matter or a similar service.
One alternative would be to simply install solar, give the tenant the full benefit of all the electricity generated, and make good on the investment through charging higher rent. A 2015 survey found 75 per cent of Aussie renters would pay additional rent to live in a home with solar panels installed. Forty per cent said they would pay an extra $10 a week.
Another option would be for landlords to have the electricity account in their name and provide electricity to the tenant at a discounted rate. Talk to your real estate agent. They may already offer this service.
Long term tenants who have lived at the same property and have a good relationship with their landlord, look into installing solar, and have the discussion with your landlord and work out what percentage of the cost would each party pay and how the solar benefits would be distributed and what happens if you were to move.