Renters, landlords and the solar industry stand to benefit from the commitment that a re-elected Andrews Labor Government will expand the Victorian Solar Homes program to rental properties.
Getting solar onto rental homes has always been a major challenge. Landlords are reluctant to buy solar when the benefits of lower electricity bills only go to their tenants, while tenants are reluctant to spend money to improve someone else’s property, especially if they don’t know whether they will be in the same home long enough to recoup their investment.
The Solar Homes program will aim to overcome the ‘split incentive’ problem with an $82 million package of 50,000 rebates to be delivered over 10 years. To be eligible, tenants and their landlords will need to strike an agreement to share the costs of installation. The government will provide a 50 per cent rebate on system costs. Landlords would be expected to contribute 25 per cent and renters would make their 25 per cent contribution through a levy on rent that is spread over four years.
This is the first time an Australian government has made a serious move to overcome the barriers to renters accessing the benefits of solar power. If it’s implemented successfully, this could be a blueprint for governments to make electricity affordable for low-income families across Australia.