Millions can't reduce power bills through solar panels due to rise in rentals and apartment living
Australia might lead the world for household solar energy use, but millions of people are being locked out of the benefits due to a rise in apartment living and declines in home ownership.
About 1.67 million households in Australia have solar photovoltaic (PV) panels installed.
In New South Wales, more than 350,000 households have solar PV systems.
But according to the 2016 census, more than 2.6 million people in the state can't access solar energy to help offset electricity bills because they are renting properties or living in an apartment block.
"It comes down to they don't own a roof to put solar on," said Mike Roberts, a solar analyst with the Australian Photovoltaic Institute and researcher at the University of NSW.
"The tenant won't pay for the solar because it's not their house and they don't want to invest in capital that's not theirs.
"So it's about how we incentivise landlords and how renters and landlords can both benefit."
Top rental suburbs
Mr Roberts analysed census data and calculated the top 15 local government areas (LGA) in NSW with residents potentially locked out of solar.
North Sydney was at the top with 74 per cent of residents living in rental properties or in an apartment.
Sydney was second with 68 per cent, followed by Waverley, Strathfield, Botany Bay, Woollahra and Randwick.