New Aussie start-up Matter aims to bring solar to apartment-dwellers


A new technology has been launched in Australia that aims to give the nation’s 2.4 million rented households to access solar power.

The technology, launched by Australian start-up Matter, allows landlords to install rooftop solar and operate it like a micro-utility by selling the solar generated energy back to their tenants at a cheaper rate than power from the grid.

Called Digital Solar, it measures the amount of solar power generated, and the amount consumed by the household, allowing a property owner to bill their tenant for the power they use with an invoice automatically generated by Matter’s system.

A separate log-in allows tenants to view their usage in real-time, as well as the dollar value of their savings, and consult a usage forecast, leading to more conscious energy consumption habits.

For tenants, savings can be as high as 20 per cent off their utility supply charges for new installs.

For landlords, the Digital Solar service offers attractive payback periods – a return on investment of 3-6 years with a Net Present Value of five times the investment – and high lifetime returns, which improve both rental incomes and the capital value of their investments.

Matter’s technology allows also property owners and tenants to collaborate through a simple online business case calculator to see what shared benefits they can generate before signing up to the Digital Solar service.

“Our mission is to empower millions of people who want to adopt sustainable energy but currently don’t have the option,” said Matter CEO Chris Mrakas.

“By pioneering the shift from ownership to usership in the energy industry Digital Solar puts landlords and their tenants in control, creating new revenue streams and lowering energy bills. It’s a trend that’s set to continue as solar becomes more prevalent and new business models emerge to meet the needs of the changing energy landscape.

Digital Solar is currently suitable for single tenanted rental properties and will be rolled out to multi-tenanted, mixed residential and commercial properties next year.

© 2015 Solar Choice Pty Ltd