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Low-income Renters and Solar Energy

Finding solutions for low-income households to access solar energy

Energy affordability is a pressing issue for Australian households. Renter households are generally unable to access cheaper energy sources to reduce their electricity bills. This project aims to develop solutions for low-income renters to access solar energy.

The issue

Access to solar-generated (solar PV) electricity has become a key mean for households to reduce their energy costs and improve energy affordability. Although Australia leads the world with the rate of residential solar PV update, solar energy however is not available to all households. 

Business models and government policies privilege owner-occupiers with adequate financial resources and rooftop capacity. This means that renters are excluded from the cost-cutting benefits of solar as they do not have the right to access rooftops or make the required property alterations.

Nearly a third of all Australian households are renters, and over 1.3 million low-income households are renters.

Our work

The 3-year ARC Linkage project funded by Australian government aims to develop feasible and practical solutions for low-income renters to access solar energy whether they live in private, public or community housing across metropolitan or regional Australia.

The project team will undertake research with 

  • Low income renters 
  • Property owners 
  • Property managers 
  • Solar PV and battery installers 
  • Public housing providers 
  • Community housing organisations  
  • Local government councils  
  • Electricity retailers  
  • Meter providers 

Together, it will enable us to develop an in-depth understanding of the issues to resolve in order to develop solar access solutions for low-income renter households that are scalable across metropolitan and regional Australia. 

Our people

This project is a collaboration between the University of Sydney researchers and industry partners.


Portrait shot of Associate professor Lynne Chester
Associate Professor Lynne Chester
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Portrait shot of Dr Amanda Elliot
Dr Amanda Elliot
Academic profile