What are my expected savings?
Your savings depend on the size of the solar system and how much energy you use during the day, but will typically be hundreds of dollars a year.
Please use our solar value calculator to estimate your potential solar savings.
What properties make good sun powered rentals?
SunTenants works well with both residential and commercial rental properties.
The solar savings of tenants are greatest when they use lots of power during daylight hours, so businesses are often particularly well suited to solar.
Live data on the solar savings of a residential and commercial properties are shown on our case studies page.
Properties must meet four criteria to become a SunTenants sun powered rental:
Have a sunny roof. While modern technology allows solar systems to work effectively on roofs that experience partial shading, if your roof is in the shade throughout most of the day then installing solar won’t be worthwhile.
Have a solid roof. Before installing solar it’s important that your roof is in good condition, as the solar panels will ideally remain in place for 25 years.
Be a rental. SunTenants is focused on serving rental properties. If you’re an owner-occupier you don’t require SunTenants’ services, however we can still get you a solar quote from one of our trusted solar installers - please contact us.
Have a single owner, or have all owners in agreement. Installing solar is easiest on single occupancy properties, such as free standing houses, terraces, or warehouses. SunTenants also works with multi-unit properties (up to ~20 units) provided that all property owners have agreed to getting solar. While we don't have the resources to engage with uncommitted strata committees, we have contributed to this comprehensive information pack.
When can solar be installed?
We can install solar at any point, as soon as the property owner and tenant agree to capitalise on their solar potential.
We’ve developed an innovative process that allows the rent will be increased by mutual agreement of the owner and the tenant, at any point during a lease (or between tenancies).
How is the rent increase calculated?
Please see our description on the Technical Details page.
How is the lease updated?
Once you and the owner have both agreed to capitalise on your shared solar potential, SunTenants will arrange for the solar system to be installed and for the rental lease to be updated to include the agreed additional payment.
To update the lease you and the owner must agree to first surrender the existing lease and to then enter into a new lease on precisely the same terms (including the same end date) but with the rent increased by the agreed to amount. The new lease also contains a set of Additional Terms that relate to SunTenants’ handling of the data we collect from our smart meter - these terms can be downloaded here.
We understand the paramount importance of housing security, and that the prospect of surrendering a lease may be daunting. We have therefore worked with a leading international law firm to develop a bridging contract that ensures that the existing lease is surrendered simultaneously to the new lease being entered into, and that this only occurs upon the new lease having the same terms and conditions as the existing lease, except for the change in rent and additional SunTenants data privacy clause. The bridging contract can be downloaded here.
SunTenants will coordinate the lease update process with the property manager, or with the owners if there is no third party management.
If you have any concerns about this process, please don't hesitate to discuss them with us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do I need to do when moving in?
Moving in to a sun powered rental is easy, there are only three things we recommend you do:
Have a look at the property solar report from your prospective landlord or property manager. This shows the solar savings enjoyed by previous tenants, which serves as an indication of what savings you may experience, although your personal use of electricity may lead to different savings.
Once you’ve moved in, check your properties solar performance by logging in to your Solar Analytics monitoring dashboard.
Shop around for the best deal on your electricity tariff, making sure that you receive a good credit for any solar energy you provide back to the grid (called the Feed in Tariff). The government run Energy Made Easy website is a good place to compare retail offers.
What do I need to do when moving out?
Moving out of a sun powered rental is identical to moving out of any other rental, there is nothing extra to do.
Do I need to change energy retailer?
No, you can stay with whichever retailer works best for you.
Once your system is up and running we strongly recommend reviewing your bills to ensure that you are being given a good "Feed in Tariff" for the solar power you are exporting to the grid. The government run Energy Made Easy website is a good place to compare retail offers.
How do I best convince my property's owners?
We recommend you use our solar value calculator to get a proposal specifically for your property, and then forward a copy of this email (once you've used our form to receive a copy yourself) to your property's owner.
What if I’m not home much during the day?
Solar power is ideal for people who can use power during the day because they can use it for free straight from the roof. But even if you are exporting lots of the power back to the grid you will still save on your power bill because you'll be credited a Feed In Tariff for this exported energy.
You can increase your savings by setting your washing machine and dishwasher to run during the morning or day. Your fridge runs all the time, so at the very least your solar will be able to power that, as well as any devices or appliances that you can charge during the day.
You can also set reverse cycle air conditioning and/or electric hot water units to that can be programmed to run during daylight hours to pre-cool or pre-heat your home (ensure that the home is well draught proofed and insulated, to avoid losing the cooled or warmed air).
How do I access the Solar Analytics app?
We empower the tenants of sun powered rentals to take control of their energy use through the Solar Analytics app. This app provides unprecedented visibility on how your property uses power, allowing you to identify and remove energy waste. Once you’ve either moved in or the installation is complete we’ll be in touch to give you access details (either directly or through your property manager).
Who does the installation and what do they install?
We work with a select group of trusted solar installers who meet our standards for service, workmanship and warranties. You are also welcome to choose your own installer.
We work with a select group of trusted solar installers who meet our standards for service, workmanship and warranties. Our trusted installers work exclusive with top quality ("Tier 1") components that come with warranties that meet our standards. The installers will prepare a quote with their recommended components, but you are entirely free to modify this if you have specific requests.
Who takes care of maintenance?
The Solar Analytics system constantly monitors your solar system's performance. Automatic sub-optimal performance notifications will be sent to you, your tenant and your property manager. The company that installed the system may well be obliged to do so free of charge under the terms of their warranty (circumstance dependent).
In general, solar system's run for many years without needing any maintenance.
What if the solar generation is lower than expected?
SunTenants monitors the performance of all our sun powered rentals. If we detect that a solar system is not meeting its energy generation forecast, we follow a three step process to address this problem:
We notify the company that installed the solar system as well as the owner of the property.
We work with the solar installer to troubleshoot the situation remotely.
If needs be, the installer will visits the property to carry out maintenance.
All of our trusted installers provide at least 5 year workmanship warranties and all components have warranties that meet or exceed industry standards (typically 5 or 10 years). Where maintenance is not covered by warranties owners need to pay, and the installer will contact them directly to discuss this before going to site.
Many of our trusted installers also provide solar generation guarantees, where they will reimburse owners if the system does not produce the quoted amount of energy.
Systemic under-performance may justify a renegotiation of the rent. To date we have not experienced such a circumstance.