Solar for rentals trial
About the trial
The solar for rentals trial ran from 5 March 2019 to 30 June 2020, encouraging landlords and tenants in Bundaberg, Gladstone and Townsville to share the value of installing solar systems. As part of the trial, rebates of up to $3,500 were offered to landlords for installing a solar system on their rental property.
How it worked
- Landlords and tenants both agreed to participate in the trial and entered into a new lease of at least 12 months.
- Landlords then installed a solar system at the rental property and received a rebate.
- All solar systems were installed by an approved list of Queensland-based solar retailers who had signed up to the Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailer Code of Conduct.
- In return for full use of the solar system to reduce their power bills, tenants agreed to pay a fair rent increase (not more than the solar savings).
During the trial, 670 solar systems were installed across the 3 local government areas, including:
- 166 in Bundaberg
- 78 in Gladstone
- 426 in Townsville
In total, 4 megawatts of solar power was installed and more than $2.25 million in rebates was paid to eligible landlords, at an average rebate payment of $3,360.
Tenants participating in the trial are an average of $600 per year better off – accounting for an average rent increase of $11 per week and their electricity bill savings.
The estimated average solar system payback period of out of pocket costs after the rebate for participating landlords is expected to be around 9 years.
Success story: Yumba-Meta Ltd
Yumba-Meta Ltd is a not-for-profit organisation based in Townsville that provides long, medium and short-term secure and affordable accommodation and services to disadvantaged people, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
More than 50 properties in Yumba-Meta Ltd’s portfolio installed solar systems during the trial. These systems are now helping some of Townsville’s most vulnerable community members’ electricity bills to be more affordable.
The trial successfully demonstrated that solar systems can be used in rental properties to create a win-win outcome for both landlords and tenants. However, the rebate played an important part in reducing solar system paybacks for landlords.
Analysis showed that participating landlords and tenants were most likely to benefit in the following circumstances:
- Solar system size of 5 kW inverter and 6.6 kW panels
- Rent increase of between $10 to $20 per week
Whilst every customer’s circumstances are different, this scenario has the potential to result in savings of around $600 a year for tenants (after the rent increase) and a 7 year payback period for landlords. Without a solar for rentals rebate, the system payback period would be around 18 years.
Tenants tend to benefit more when they use more of the solar power in their rental property (rather than exporting it to the grid) and landlords who purchase and install the solar system at a more competitive price tend to have a shorter payback period.
Find out more
If you’re a landlord thinking about installing a solar system on your rental property, or a tenant moving into a rental with solar, find out more about installing a solar system at your rental property.
Last updated 24 September 2020