Australian solar rebates explained: the difference between federal and state rebates

The Australian government has put into place major federal and state rebates that make a solar panel system affordable. Because of these Australian solar rebates and incentives, the solar economy in Australia has boomed over the years with an average 40% increase in residential Solar Photovoltaic (PV) in 2018, according to IEEFA.

Australian federal and state solar rebates

You have several options between Australian federal and state solar rebates to find a cost reduction to your solar panel system. Saving money on a solar panel system is a big incentive, so it’s best practice to know if this is an option available to you. The most common Australian federal solar rebates are small-scale technology certificates and Feed-in tariffs.

Small-scale technology certificates

A small-scale technology certificate (or STCs) is a cost-reduction incentive available to small-scale renewable energy systems; commonly used by homeowners. A select amount of certificates are offered to homeowners that wish to invest in a solar panel system. The number of STCs certificates that you can acquire depends on the amount of electricity your system produces, its geographical location, and its installation date.

As a general rule, one certificate equals one megawatt hour of eligible renewable electricity generated by a solar panel system. For a standard 5kW solar panel system installed this year in Melbourne, the system would receive 5 STC credits over the course of one year. The REC Australia STCs certificate calculator is a great resource to utilise telling you the number of possible credits issued depending on Australian state.

Feed-in tariffs

A Feed-in tariff is another popular scheme provided by individual Australian states. It’s available as a credit to homeowners for any unused electricity that a solar power system provides to a power grid. A homeowner receives a set per kilowatt hour amount for the over produced energy, and they can use that credit towards their monthly electricity bill.

How much can you recieve from a Feed-in tariff? For example, a 5kW solar panel system can generate on average 600 kilowatt hours (kWh) a month. The average household energy consumption is 13.7 kWh per day. We have about 30 days in a month, and by using the formula 13.7 kWh per day x 30 days = 411 kWh monthly, you can calculate your Feed-in tariff.

If you subtract 600 kilowatt hours (kWh) a month from 411 kWh monthly (your monthly usage), the amount you transfer to the utility grid is roughly 189 kWh monthly. The amount of Feed-in tariff you receive in return for that transfer depends on your Australian state. For example in Victoria, you might earn a 20c/kWh average return. In that state, a standard 5kW solar panel system could possibly earn $37.80 monthly return by taking part in the Feed-in tariff scheme.

The Feed-in tariff rate is not nationalised, and the tariff changes based on the state and energy provider. Perform a bit of due diligence and research the current Feed-in tariff rate* of your local energy provider and state. The following chart highlights current rates based on an average basis:

Victoria 9.9 to 29c/kWh
South Australia 11 to 16.3c/kWh
Australian Capital Territory 6 to 12c/kWh
Tasmania 8.9c/kWh
Northern Territory Varies
Western Australia 7.135c/kWh
Queensland 6 to 12c/kWh
New South Wales 11.9 to 15.0 c/kWh

*rates are current as of July 2018.

Furthermore, local Australian state governments also offer additional individual schemes and rebate packages. The energy.gov.au website lists respective rebates based on the Australian state and its requirements. This website is a great place to explore potential rebates that are local to you — and we listed a few of our favorites below.

Many low-income households don’t have access to a solar panel system. If you hold an Australian Government Pensioner Concession Card and don’t currently have rooftop solar PV installed, you can check your eligibility to subsidise the system up to 50%. If you’re in Queensland, you might have access to interest-free grants and loans to install a solar panel system—and the incentive can also include solar power battery storage.

In conclusion, you have many options for Australian solar rebates to subsidise the purchase of a solar panel system. We’ve outlined even more rebate opportunities in a past blog article.

You have more financial options than rebates

Rebates have been a great contribution to the recent solar power boom in Australia. It reeks many benefits — but new emerging business models could offer even more financial opportunities to Australians.

Rebates are a great choice to subsidise your solar panel system; however, many rebates are starting to disappear. Currently, Australian regulation has already been put into place a reduction to solar rebates with a slow reduce to zero by 2031. There are also limitations to the number of people that can access a rebate. When enough people qualify, the rebate ends. Also, solar rebates typically doesn’t eliminate the total cost of a solar panel system, installation, and maintenance. These costs can build up, and they can still cost you a lot of money. Research the current rebates and schemes in your local area to see if they’re still available and if you’re eligible.

A subscription-based solar model could eliminate all the stress of searching and applying to solar rebate programs for you. A subscription-based model like Sola.io allows you access to a solar panel system at zero-investment to yourself. Qualify with our Solar Community Network to enjoy the benefits of affordable energy. Remember, Australian solar rebate programs aren’t the only option for you to save money on a solar panel system. Connect with our solar consultants to learn more.

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