In an effort to encourage more Australians to install solar PV systems as an alternative source of energy, the Australian government is offering significant rebates to eligible homeowners. Read to the end to learn more about what you qualify for.
The rebate amount hugely depends on the solar unit size and where your home or business is located; but is more viable for those who totally shift to solar energy.
The availability of attractive solar rebates and increasing number of companies such as Maximise Solar offering solar solutions to suit different needs has really encouraged more Australians to adopt solar power. However, as it is common to government-driven matters, change is bound to happen anytime and the current government instigated rebates are no exception. This is why it’s very important to stay logged on to a reliable solar resource provider so you are put in the loop in case you want to invest in solar energy.
Small-Scale Technology Certificates
The Australian federal government offers Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs) to reward homeowners who have invested in renewable energy. When a homeowner buys an eligible solar power system, solar hot water device or a wind power unit, they will get STCs based on the size and type of the energy efficient system, and where they are located. The STCs can then be sold to those who produce electricity by burning fossil fuels, either through you or your solar PV installer and are meant to offset the cost of installing your solar panel. STC prices fluctuate based on the existing market factors—the more they are the less credit you’ll take home.
The total number of STCs received depends on where you reside and the zone you fall under. Currently, we have four zones. The smaller the zone number, the more sunshine you’ll receive and hence the more you’ll be able to claim. For instance, zone 4 consists of areas which receive the lowest amount of sunshine such as Tasmania and Melbourne.
According to Australian Solar Quotes, a 1.5kW solar system in Melbourne would receive 26.6 STCs for installing a system from any of their associate retailers.
At the time of writing this post, STCs were trading at a spot price of $38.04, meaning a consumer may get an offset of about $1012.12. Australian Solar Quotes can also confirm that a 1.5kW system costs around $4,500, making the rebate a significant saving.
What you should always keep in mind about this incentive is that the solar PV panels must be approved, below 100kW in size, and must be installed by a licensed professional.
Homeowners are also eligible for a feed-in tariff, which is a percentage that state governments compel electricity companies to pay consumers for the energy they fed back into the grid.
The government sets this figure based on every Kilo Watt per hour (kWh) a household’s solar system exports into the electricity grid. However, the amount paid varies according to the state and the energy provider. Additionally, this plan allows homeowners to receive their credit net or gross metering.
When it comes to gross metering, all the solar energy generated by a household’s system is fed into the grid. The homeowner will then be reimbursed based on each kWh of solar energy their solar system generates.
With net metering, the system owner is paid according to the difference between the household’s consumption and the solar power generated.
The duration it takes a solar PV system to reimburse a homeowner the initial investment depends on the size of the unit, the household’s usage requirements and patterns, as well as the terms of payment used by the homeowner to pay for the system. The feed-in tariff eligibility and weather patterns also affect how long it takes a homeowner to recover his/her initial system cost.
When business owners invest in a grid-connect solar power system, they can save big through the government’s solar credit discount, which gives them a refund upfront. Under this arrangement, small businesses recording an annual turnover below $2 million qualify for a $6,500 tax break which is inclusive of solar power systems.
Similarly to residential solar PV systems, businesses are also allowed to sell their STCs so as to offset the costs of setting up their systems and making use of feed-in tariffs to cut their electricity bills or produce surplus energy.
What to avoid when searching for solar rebates
When obtaining a quote for a solar system, you must be careful and sure you are dealing with an approved retailer. Some companies work the solar rebate into their final price, which can be convenient especially if the company is reliable, but a terrible thing if it is unscrupulous.
One of the most critical questions to ask your quoting professional is what STC price they have included in the quote. More often, a quote may include a high STC price, but as earlier mentioned this price may fluctuate. If a final quote is inclusive of a rebate using an STC price of $40, and may be the current market priced is tagged at just $25, then expect a fat bill once your system installation is completed.
Nonetheless, solar PV installation is a good money saver. Even during winter, Australia enjoys an excessive amount of insolation—around 4kWh of sunshine exposure per square metre each day with the northern regions receiving approximately 6kWh of insolation per day. This country’s sunshine exposure levels highly exceed those recorded in other parts of the world such as Europe, Russia and North America, so why not make the most of it?