Installing solar is an excellent decision for a tenant. It provides savings on your power bills, lowers your carbon footprint, and possibly even earns you money. However, you will need approval from your landlord, and potentially your local council, and strata company. Make sure to do your research and outline your arrangement in writing with your landlord, as well as highlighting the benefits your landlord will receive too.
Read on to learn the ins and outs of installing solar as a renter!
Can renters get solar?
Renters can install solar on a rental property if they arrange it with their landlord. There are no set rules for how to go about this. The arrangement should be customised to suit both parties.
If the landlord is paying for the system, the arrangement might include an increase in rent to cover the installation costs. This usually works out cheaper for tenants in the long run, as the increase is offset by the savings on power bills. Alternatively, if homeowners are happy that the system is an investment or receiving income from the feed-in tariff and the virtual power plant (VPP), that may be enough.
Although rarer, in some arrangements, a renter may pay for the solar system. This allows them to take the solar system with them when they move. However, it is important to be aware of the additional costs. When you move, you will need to take into account the price of dismounting and reinstalling your system at the new residence. Additionally, you will need permission from your new landlord to do this.
Solar for apartment renters
Installing a solar system may be trickier for renters living in apartments. For a freestanding house, you only need to negotiate with your landlord. However, apartments, units and townhouses often exist within complexes. Complexes tend to have strata companies that you must get approval from before installing solar. While it’s not uncommon to get strata approval, it’s an aspect to be mindful of.
Can tenants be charged for solar?
Legally, a tenant may be charged for a solar system by their landlord. Since solar is a desirable feature for a rental property, this often manifests as higher rental prices. Alternatively, a tenant may be charged the difference between the estimated power bill and the power bill with solar savings. These are just some of the potential methods that exist for calculating solar power costs. While deals are often done directly between landlords and tenants, there are power companies that broker deals for landlords and tenants around solar power.
Should solar be part of a landlord-tenant agreement?
Whatever arrangement you decide on for your solar system, it’s important to include it in a written agreement. This provides legal clarity around the ownership of the solar system and the payments. This way, if you bought a system, you can take it with you to a different residence. Even if you don’t, it’s important to outline exactly how a landlord may charge you while you are a tenant at the property. This way, it can’t be changed part way through a lease agreement and interfere with your budgeting.
Do renters benefit from solar?
Renters reap many benefits by living in a residence with a solar system. The most obvious one is cheaper power bills. With a solar + battery system, a tenant’s power bills are even kess, as the generated solar energy can be used at night. How much power a solar + battery system produces varies depending on factors such as system size and weather, but any solar energy produced means less energy from the grid, leading to reduced electricity bills. That’s savings for the tenants!
Depending on the ownership of the solar system and the arrangement with their landlord, tenants may benefit from the solar feed-in tariff. If the power bill is in the tenant’s name, they will receive the credits from feeding solar power back into the grid. Over time, this extra money can add up to a tidy sum.
Reduced carbon footprints are a plus for environmentally-conscious renters. The electrical grid generates a lot of power from sources like fossil fuels. Solar power, on the other hand, is a 100% renewable energy source, putting tenants’ minds at ease about their power usage and impact on the planet.
When a renter installs a solar + battery system from Plico, there are even more benefits to enjoy. Stored power for nighttime use, additional income from a VPP, and blackout protection are all very helpful bonuses.
Rising energy prices
Energy prices in Australia have been consistently creeping up over the last few years. In Western Australia, estimates predict a $44 rise in energy bills for the average household in 2023. Households with higher bills will see a much larger increase on their spend. And the trends don’t show any sign of slowing down in the near future. This goes to show how valuable a solar system can be.
What challenges could renters face when trying to get solar power?
The main challenge renters face when trying to get a solar system is approval. The first step is getting your landlord to approve of the idea. This means convincing them of the benefits and coming to a suitable arrangement. If you’re living in a complex, you also have to consider the strata company. Finally, there are also local councils that you may need approval from. These are generally based on aesthetics and matching with the appearance of the neighbourhood. Approvals shouldn’t be a barrier to realising your solar dreams, however. Once you’ve negotiated with your landlord and strata, a qualified solar provider will help you navigate the rest.
Another barrier could be the cost. Renters may not be in a financial position to invest in a solar system at their rental property. If your arrangement with your landlord involves you footing the bill for the solar system, it might be somewhat expensive. This is why Plico’s payment plan is so effective. It’s perfectly suited to support tenant and landlord budgets for solar while allowing the benefits to flow from day one. Plus, Plico’s weekly payment includes service and maintenance, so you know exactly who to call should anything go wrong. All for just one low weekly fee.
Installing a solar + battery system is a solid idea for any renter. If you’d like a detailed proposal to take to your landlord, then chat with one of the switched-on Plico team members on 1300 175 426. Your solar dream could be one step closer!