Landlords pay a $9 per property, per month subscription fee to access Digital Solar, but there are no out-of-pocket expenses for the tenant – they only pay for the electricity they consume from the solar panels and the grid.

The landlord and tenant strike an agreement which lasts for the length of the rental agreement. Digital Solar recommends tenants receive a 20 per cent discount on the rate from the grid, with tenancy laws ensuring that landlords can not exploit renters by charging more than the grid rate. The system lets tenants monitor their power usage in real time, helping them better manage their energy usage.

Digital Solar is underpinned by Matter’s Hana platform, which analyses the specifics of each property to calculate the size of the solar system required, calculate savings and monitor performance.

The system is built upon Matter’s software already used by electricity and water providers in thousands of homes across the country. It is capable of handling complex tariffs including feed-in tariffs when power is sold back to the grid.

The Digital Solar smart monitors can be retro-fitted to existing solar power systems or installed with a new system. Digital Solar does not sell solar panels or inverters, but it can act as a broker to help customers find a good deal on a solar installation.

Later this year Matter plans to roll out a multi-tenant service to support apartment blocks, making solar power practical for another 400,000 dwellings across the country.

Digital Solar has signed up some of its first customers in Cairns, with tenants quick to jump at the offer, says Freeman’s Residential principal Arran Faithfull. Managing around 900 properties in Cairns, Faithfull says his clients see Digital Solar as a win/win situation – particularly tenants who’ve never had the option to make the most of solar power.

“We’re actually pitching it to the tenant first, asking them if they want to save some money on their power bill,” he says.

“Then we’re getting Matter to crunch the numbers as to whether there’s a business case on that property, then if it stacks up we present the business case to the owners.

“As a property owner it’s a pretty safe bet in terms of an investment, as long as the sun keeps shining you’re going to make money out of it.”