Solar for renters and landlords

Around half of Yarra residents rent the home they live in and most don't have the benefit of accessing electricity from rooftop solar.

There are now options available to help tenants and landlords share the costs and benefits of solar. Landlords can benefit from increased property value, while tenants save on energy costs.  

What are the options?

Solar rebates for rental properties

Contact Solar Savers for free advice and a trustworthy quote for quality, affordable solar for rental properties. 

You may be eligible for a Victorian government solar rebate of up to $1,400, and a no-interest loan up to the same value. Eligibility criteria for tenants are similar to those for homeowners.

After the rebate, the landlord pays the remaining cost of the solar system. The landlord and tenant sign an agreement. The tenant uses the solar electricity and receives the feed-in-tariff for any excess electricity. Tenants and landlords can also choose an agreement where the tenant contributes to the cost of the solar system in exchange for energy bill savings.   

The Solar Victoria rebate for rental properties allows landlords to improve their property values, reduce the environmental impact of their investment property, and potentially attract or retain tenants, who will benefit from bill savings. Landlords should ensure they have confirmation of eligibility for a rebate before signing a contract or paying a deposit for a quote.

For more information visit Solar Victoria rebates for rental properties.  

There is a special stream of Solar Victoria rebates reserved for community housing providers. If you live in community housing, talk to your housing provider about accessing the Solar Victoria rebates for community housing providers.

Other ways to share the benefits

For rental properties that are not eligible for a Solar Victoria rebate, another option is for both the landlord and tenant to equitably contribute to the cost of the solar system.

A solar savings calculator such as the Victorian Energy Compare Solar Savings Calculator can help to determine a fair contribution from landlords and tenants, based on energy savings tenants will see from the solar system. The tool calculates the estimated bill savings for the tenant based on the solar system size and energy usage. Landlords and tenants could negotiate a tenant contribution that is less than the bill savings.

There are rules governing how often and for what reasons rent can increase, and these may affect repayment agreements between landlords and tenants. These rules are specified in the Residential Tenancies Act.

When negotiating any changes to rent or landlord-tenant agreements outside of the Victorian government’s Solar Victoria scheme, make sure they comply with regulations, and seek independent advice as needed.

Tenants Victoria provides information and advice to renters, and Consumer Affairs Victoria has more information about renting and associated regulations.

Buying renewable energy (GreenPower)

You can choose renewable energy through your retailer, and while it doesn’t put solar on your roof, you don’t need anyone’s permission. When you choose 100% GreenPower from your electricity company, every megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity that you use is matched by a MWh of renewable energy supplied to the Victorian electricity network.

Find out more about buying certified GreenPower.

New and emerging options 

There are a number of new ways to buy renewable energy that are just starting to become available. Solar gardens and other ‘offsite solar’ solutions, software platforms offering energy trading and sharing, and investing in community energy projects are some options that offer promising solutions to renters.

Many of these solutions are now in trial or pilot phases, or limited in availability, but may become more widely available as the technology advances and regulations change.

Talking to your landlord

Talk to your landlord about the environmental and financial benefits of solar. Are they aware of the Solar Victoria rebate for rental properties? Would you be willing to contribute an amount less than your bill savings toward the cost of a solar system? Write to them and let them know.

Guides such as Renew’s Renters’ Guide to Living Sustainably have information for renters on making your rental home more comfortable and energy efficient, saving money on energy bills, and talking to your landlord about making improvements, including going solar.

Case study: Energy freedom for a landlord and tenants

Amaryll, a landlord in Clifton Hill, is helping her tenants save by installing solar on her rental property, while helping support the local renewable industry. Read Amaryll's story.

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