SCHEME LETS SO­LAR SHINE

The Courier-Mail - Property - - REALESTATE NEWS -

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.

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