Solar for renters boost

Renew welcomes the election promise by the Victorian Government of a solar-for-renters program.

Dean Lombard, senior policy analyst at Renew, said: “Renters have always been locked out from the benefits of rooftop solar because of a split incentive: the landlord faces the installation cost but does not receive the electricity bill savings that make it financially worthwhile.”

“Some companies have developed solar for renters packages that involve tenants paying special rates to the landlord for all their energy use, or rent increases to cover the landlord’s installation cost – but these are difficult for the tenant to figure out if it is worth it or not for them.”

The new program will include the same 50% rebate and no-interest loan for the balance that the regular solar program for homeowners will have, with the added detail of requiring an agreement between tenant and landlord for the tenant to pay 25% of the cost (i.e. half the landlord’s share) via a levy on rent over four years.

“Our analysis of rooftop solar performance in Victoria shows tenants will save more on their bills than they will spend for these systems, regardless of how much of the solar generation they are able to use directly, and how much is exported to the grid for the minimum feed-in-tariff,” Mr Lombard said.

“By paying their 25% share in 48 equal instalments along with their monthly rent, tenants will always be ahead from day one.”

However, the announcement is missing a few important details:

“There are very few residential leases more than twelve months long in Victoria. This new policy will need to be clear about what happens if tenants move out before the four-year period is up. We assume that the remainder of the period will fall to the next tenant. But this and other details will need to be worked out.

“Renew looks forward to working with the government post-election to ensure the implementation details will deliver the promised benefit to Victorian renters.”