Now you can put a figure on those super solar savings

Repost of OpEd originally published in The Advocate.

Australians love solar. Collectively we've invested billions of dollars installing panels on over 1.8 million roofs, with installations currently running at record pace.

The combined effect of these systems is astonishing.

They’re slashing billions of dollars from their owner’s power bills, plus reducing the price paid by all Australians by replacing expensive fuels like gas.

They are also a key driver in our bid to eliminate the burning of fossil fuels and mitigate the very real impacts of climate change. But as home-owning Australians reap the full benefit of solar power, our growing number of renters and investors are yet to jump on board.

This is because it’s been hard to quantify the immediate impact of solar panels. In contrast to air-conditioners – which immediately generate cool air (and increases to our power bills) – solar panels don't provide instant signs of free, clean power.

What's more, if you hadn’t lived in a property before it had solar, you would lack the reference point needed to estimate your exact savings.

Luckily, there are now ways investors and tenants can discover and realise the financial benefits of solar through organisations such as SunTenants, which use smart meters to put an exact dollar figure on tenant’s bill savings. This is great news for investors as tenants of sun-powered rentals see their savings and may agree to increased rents. Solar not only increases a property’s value, but also investor’s ongoing rental income.

There are now good models available to help renters and investors access solar savings. Successfully implementing these will not only help us fight climate change, but provide significant economic benefits for all Australians.

Bjorn Sturmberg