Friday, 11 March 2016 01:28

Matter kick-starts ‘shared solar market’ with new collaboration tool


Australian tech start-up Matter unveils ‘Hana,’ billed as ‘the world’s first online platform for facilitating the move to shared-solar in rental properties.’

Matter is an Australian-based technology start-up that claims to be ‘the emerging leader in Digital Solar,’ and says it is ‘giving property owners the ability to create additional revenue from solar on their investment properties in a way that’s automated and worry-free.’

For tenants this is supposed to mean lower prices and cleaner more efficient electricity. Matter also says it ‘brings property owners and tenants together along with their property managers and trusted solar installers to simplify the process,’ with its goal being ‘to use technology to bring people together for the greater good.’

With that background out of the way, the company said that it launched ‘Digital Solar’ in December 2015, which as touched on above is ‘a technology service that provides an entirely new way for renters to access solar power by sharing their landlords’ panels.’

We’re told that ‘Digital Solar creates value for landlords and tenants by displacing expensive daytime electricity with clean, lower cost rooftop solar.’

Then there’s Matter’s online platform, Hana.

Hana is said to ‘help landlords and tenants decide whether Digital Solar will work for a particular property by guiding the parties though a simple, online workflow, that estimates how much solar power will be consumed, how many panels should be installed, and how to share the value that is created.’

The inevitable reference to Uber and Airbnb emerges with Matter noting that with ’the emergence of the collaborative economy, sharing a ride into town, a home for the night, or even power tools, has become the norm.’

And thus, with this shift from ownership to access, Matter explained that ‘we’re living in a new era of trust where we deal directly with real people not institutions, relying on them to ‘do the right thing.’

Thus, we are told that ‘Hana provides landlords and tenants who mostly likely don’t know each other, with a way to easily predict and share mutually beneficial value created from Digital Solar, while safeguarding the privacy of information, to build a community of shared solar renters.’

Using its knowledge of panel costs, solar production projections, electricity tariffs and the value sharing equation a landlord and tenant agree on, the company says that ‘Hana makes sense of the complexity, helping all parties understand the expected installation costs, payback period, the return on investment and the tenant’s savings against their grid electricity bill.’

Chris Mrakas, CEO of Matter said: “The central premise behind Digital Solar is that considerable economic wealth is created when a property investor and a tenant collaborate to share value that comes from displacing grid electricity with distributed solar power.

“Hana allows a landlord and a tenant to work together for a mutually beneficial outcome but it goes beyond wealth creation, this collaboration fosters stronger communities and healthier societal outcomes,” continued Mrakas.

Matter’s explanation of the benefit of Hana continues, with the statement that ‘Hana makes it easy to determine the likely benefits of Digital Solar for individual landlords and tenants, helping both parties make smart, informed decisions.’

Matter continues, stating: ‘While Australia leads the world in domestic solar adoption with 1 in 5 owner-occupied homes having installed panels, there are 2.4 million rental properties in Australia that until now could not access solar.

‘This issue, referred to as the ‘Split Incentive’ problem, occurs across the globe, with 43m rentals in the US, 18.5m in Japan and 5.4m in the UK, all unable to benefit from solar power.’

So, Matter comes to the conclusion by noting that ‘Digital Solar has made it possible for the energy industry to enter the collaborative economy for the first time, with a view to eventually facilitating the sharing of solar energy in entire communities.’

It should also come as no surprise to learn Matter stating that ‘with Hana simplifying collaboration for landlords and tenants, clean and cost-effective solar energy is now easily-accessible option for everyone.’

Almost finally, Matter tells is that ‘Every house is unique. Every tenant’s energy consumption is different. And commissioning solar requires expertise, knowledge and research. It’s about time rental properties had solar and an easy way to make it happen.’

Matter also provided some additional background on ‘profit and savings’ which is worth reprinting here in full, for you to judge for yourself.

That detail is below, please read on!

Here's Matter's additional background info:

"If an average house has about four people and an energy bill of $1,500 a year (with no air-con or pool), tenants would save in excess of 20% off their current grid electricity tariff, every year. This equates to an annual saving of about $300 a year.

"If all 2.4m rental properties in Australia were to use Digital Solar technology in the future, tenants nationally would save approximately $780 million per year, assuming properties are an average 4-person size.

"For landlords, the Digital Solar system pays itself off within 4-5 years and generates $1 for every $5 spent - an increase in rental income of about $1,000 each year (can be a lot more in some states). On average, Digital Solar increases the value of rental properties by $30k, with an ROI of 15%+. The states which reap the most benefits are QLD, NSW and ACT and if the house is larger and has air-con or a pool, the benefits are greater."


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.



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