SCHEME LETS SOLAR SHINE
RENTERS could see their electricity bills slashed by up to a fifth under a new scheme to encourage landlords to install solar panels.
The scheme, called Digital Solar, allows landlords to sell solar energy to their tenants.
It has been launched by tech company, Matter.
Simon Barnes, of Matter, said landlords who installed solar panels on their rental properties under the scheme could run it like a “microutility’’.
The landlord would earn back the cost of installation through charging the tenants for electricity.
The tenant would also benefit from the installation as the charges would be much cheaper than the normal power network annually.
Mr Barnes said one in three Australian households lived in rented accommodation which did not have solar power.
He said until now it had been difficult for landlords to justify the cost of installing solar power when the whole financial benefit went to the tenant.
Power generated by the solar system and consumed by the household is measured and made available to both owner and tenant through Matter’s portal.
The company bills the tenant and forwards that payment – less a monthly $9 fee – to the landlord.
Mr Barnes said they were doing their first installation in December.
“It’s a totally new concept,’’ he said.
He said the technology could also be used on homes which already had solar power installed.
“It is same technology with a new install or a retrofit, we can support either market,’’ Mr Barnes said.
“The landlord is actually making money by selling solar electricity to the tenant, it is not about feed in tariffs.’’
Claire Frith is having solar panels installed on her Bardon investment property.
Ms Frith had been keen to install solar panels in the twobedroom apartment before it was tenanted but she didn’t know how to manage rental prices and other costs and procedures.
“I wasn’t sure what to charge for the units or how it would all wash out,” she said.
“Digital Solar is the third party who manages it all without me having to do anything extra.
“The scheme is also a way to put solar in without disturbing tenants while still offering them a discount, with usage offset by solar.”
With new tenants having moved into the apartment two weeks ago, Ms Frith has also been able to have Digital Solar explain the ins and outs of the scheme to them.
There is also the possibility of the panels adding value to the apartment in the future.
“Solar still isn’t considered a good buy for tenants but you could say they’re getting a small incentive to rent with this scheme,” she said.