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Landlords to buy into renewable energy with Solar Digital


As renewable energy decreases in cost, more and more Australians are going green. However the same can’t be seen within the rental industry. As it stands, roughly 1 out of every 100 landlords have installed solar panels at their rental properties compared to every 1 in 5 owner-occupied homes.

According to ARENA, there are currently over 2 million Australian households currently using solar hot water systems or solar photovoltaic (PV) systems across the country.

This figure now includes an increasing number of landlords that have been motivated by an up and coming technology to install rooftop solar panels and then sell the energy generated on to their tenants.

Landlords now motivated to install solar panel systems

According to Darren Gladman, solar policy manager for the Clean Energy Council, the main factor attributed to the disparity is there is no benefit for the landlord to install renewable energy. At the moment, it is the landlord that pays 100% of the installation costs for the system and the tenant who enjoys all of the bill-saving benefits.

“Traditionally there’s been little incentive for landlords to install solar panel,” Gladman says. “In the past there’s been no way for the property owner to recoup the money.”

But thanks to technology start-up Matter, this all may be about to change as they work to provide a simple way for landlords to do just that.

The new technology is called Digital Solar and it allows property manager and landlords to monitor their energy production as well as their tenants consumption.

Landlords able to benefit from providing clean energy to tenants

Once the solar system is in place, an agreement is reached between tenants and landlords regarding the terms of their arrangement.

The tenant is also able to log onto the Digital Solar website and see their energy consumption in real time as well as their cost saving by electing to go with solar energy and not traditional fossil fuels.

The energy start up has suggested that by using this new system, tenants could save up to 20% on their electricity bill.

Simon Barnes, the co founder of Matter saying “the service is low-cost and online, which means that property investors can automatically charge their tenants for solar energy at a rate that is lower than the tenant’s electricity provider and easily collect this additional income, wherever they are in the world”.

Solar Digital concept a win-win for all parties involved

As other industries develop with technology and create new revenue streams, the real estate business should follow suit.

It is not the concept that is brand new as the metering technology has always been there, but rather the bundling together of all the necessary information and billing capabilities for the landlords.
Solar Digital is “breaking down barriers” according to Barnes and is a win, win for both parties. “It saves money for tenants and is a good investment for the landlord”.

Photo courtesy of JT on Flickr

Written by Darryn Van Hout

I took an interest in the Australian energy sector close to ten years ago and since then have monitored the trends, technologies and direction of the Australian Energy Market. I was drawn to the Australian solar market in 2008 and since then have worked heavily in the field. I am partnered with national and international solar energy companies, from manufacturers of solar panel and inverter technology, online software developers that introduce tools to quote, monitor and manage solar power systems and media organisations who like myself, closely monitor the solar and renewable energy sector.

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