New solar leasing push Down Under

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The residential sector still dominates the Australian photovoltaic market, and that may remain the case if a new push to promote solar leasing is taken up by homeowners. Australian solar installer and developer Ingenero is behind the move to promote solar leases in Australia.

The Every Rooftop campaign is essentially a website and referral system, where homeowners are encouraged to assess their suitability for a solar lease and to sign up for one. Green Cross Australia is supporting what is being called "a social venture" and will receive a commission for each sale.

Green Cross Australia’s CEO Mara Bún said solar leasing would expand photovoltaics in the country. "Currently nearly one million Australian homes have solar power – a number worth celebrating. Under a moderate growth scenario, the Australian Energy Market Operator expects this number to grow eight-fold by 2031," said Bún.

Ingenero will provide and own the solar leasing systems, with homeowners making regular lease payments under a power purchase agreement (PPA). The model has been very successful in the U.S. with firms such as SunRun and SolarCity.

Californian-based lease provider and sales portal Sungevity expanded into Australia in Q4 2012. Company co-founder and president Danny Kennedy told pv magazine that high electricity prices and ample sunshine is making solar mainstream in the country. "Electricity prices in the Sydney suburbs are now so high that solar is such a great option. It’s mass adoption of PV."

Australian solar industry consultant Warwick Johnston, from the firm Sunwiz, told ABC Radio today that he was not surprised the solar leasing model is arriving and making headway in the Australian market. "I suspect that as saturation approaches there’s going to be new markets that are opened up by innovative businesses, and those markets will include rental housing and those on lower incomes," said Johnston.

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