Menu image: “Solar Panels” by Chandra Marsono is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
As a renter, you may wish to throw your support behind the development of renewable energy in Australia. Fear not because there’s three ways that you can choose renewable energy for your home.
- Sign up to 100% GreenPower electricity
GreenPower is an accredited government run renewable energy scheme offered by many electricity retailers in Australia that has led to an additional $1.2 billion investment in renewable energy projects in Australia since 1997 .
You can opt to source up to 100% of your electricity from the GreenPower scheme. If you can’t afford to add 100% GreenPower, there are options starting at 10%.
It’s very simple; for 100% GreenPower, you pay a premium of $0.05 to $0.08/kWh and for every kWh you use, your electricity provider needs to source a kWh from a certified renewable energy generator.
If you’re a smart renter, this would add $200 to $400 a year to your electricity bill whilst a very smart renter would spend $50 to $200 a year. We pay around $50 extra a year for 100% GreenPower.
Choosing GreenPower means that you are choosing to add your share of renewables to the energy mix regardless of what comes through your electricity distribution network.
To connect up to GreenPower, check if your electricity retailer has this option (ideally 100%) and if they don’t, consider changing retailers. That’s what we did.
- Ask your landlord about installing solar panels
Across Australia, it costs about $3500 to $5000 to install a 5-6kW solar system. If you are on a long term lease of 5 years or more, it could even be worth offering to pay for half the system.
For the energy use of a smart or very smart renter you’d eliminate most of or even your entire power bills for 5 or more years and the landlord would add value to their property.
For a shorter term lease, even offering to do some research and vet solar installers could be the offer that swings the jury.
We haven’t tried this yet but there are plenty of landlords who also take an interest in renewable energy and may be happy to give this a go.
- Source you electricity from a community energy initiative
“Hepburn Wind at Leonards Hill” by John Englart (Takver) is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
While this is not available everywhere in Australia, there is a growing number of community based solar and wind projects that literally put energy generation back into the hands of communities .
Enova is the largest of these providers which offers customers in regional New South Wales the option of sourcing their electricity from community based renewable generators.
They are currently looking to expand into the Sydney, Victoria and South Australia energy markets.
By considering the above options, even without having solar panels on your roof, it’s possible to power your rental on renewable energy or at least to add your share to the energy mix.
Further Reading: https://energy.nsw.gov.au/renewables/renewable-energyoffers/greenpower  https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/dec/08/australia-community-solar-energy-project-take-on-the-big-energy-companies