Financial Incentives and Rebates
Several financial incentives exist to make living sustainably more affordable.
The Small-scale Technology Certificate (STC) scheme can reduce upfront costs by around $900 for a 1.5 kilowatt solar power system, $1,800 for a 3 kilowatt solar power system, and around $600 for a solar or heat pump hot water system.
The Renewable Energy Target (RET)
The Australian Government has pledged that by 2020 through its Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme, 20% of Australia’s electricity supply will come from renewable sources..
Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs)
The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) is part of the RET and creates a financial incentive for home owners to install small-scale renewable energy systems such as solar hot water, heat pump hot water, solar power, small-scale wind, or small-scale hydro systems.
The financial incentive is in the form of Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs). Formerly known as Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), STCs are an electronic form of currency and a tradeable commodity attached to eligible installations of renewable energy systems.
Eligible small-scale systems are entitled to create STCs based around how much renewable electricity the systems produce or displace. The number of certificates a system can create is based on the amount of electricity in megawatt hours:
- generated by the small-scale solar power, wind or hydro system, over the course of its lifetime of up to 15 years; or
- displaced by the solar or heat pump hot water system, over the course of its lifetime of up to 10 years.
The number of STCs available may vary depending on geographic location, what kind of system and/or the size and capacity of the installed system.
What can I do with my STCs and what are they worth?
The value of an STC is not fixed. In early January 2013, the market spot price for one STC was approximately $30 but this varies according to demand.
Under the previous Solar Credits Scheme, the standard amount of STCs previously attributable to small-scale solar PV, wind and hydro-power system was multiplied to give the total amount of STC subsidy available to system owners.The Credits Scheme is now unavailable for those systems installed after 31 December 2012.
There are three main choices when claiming STCs:
- You can assign your STCs to a registered Agent in return for a discount or a cash payment at the time you buy your new system. Where applicable, our ClimateClever Shop suppliers can facilitate this process as part of their service as registered Agents - read more about assigning STCs.
- You can create and sell the STCs yourself through the REC Registry (STC Clearing House) for a fixed price of $40 (excluding GST), however STCs are only sold when there is a buyer and there is no guarantee how long this will take. You will also have to manage this process yourself - read more about creating and selling STCs.
- You can create and voluntarily surrender the STCs yourself through the STC Clearing House. This encourages additional generation of energy from renewable sources and has an additional environmental benefit by directly reducing your greenhouse gas emissions rather than allowing another polluter to offset their emissions - read more about creating and voluntarily surrendering STCs.
The Solar Credits Scheme
Solar Credits apply to Small Generation Units and create multiple Small-scale Technology Certificates for the eligible part of their capacity. This applies to the first 1.5 kilowatts (kW) for eligible mains connected systems. Off-grid systems may be eligible for Solar Credits for the first 20 kW if an annual capacity limit is not reached.
Changes were announced on 16 November 2012 and, subject to regulations being approved, from 1 January 2013, Solar Credits will no longer apply. Where legally binding contracts to install eligible systems have been entered into before 16 November 2012, the system may still be eligible for the Solar Credit multiplier.Systems installed before 1 January 2013 may still be eligible for the Solar Credit multiplier.
The multiplier applies at the time of installation and is two times the eligible capacity from 1 July 2012 to 31 December 2012.
NSW Solar Bonus Scheme
The Solar Bonus Scheme provides a feed-in tariff for customers with small solar or wind generators up to 10 kilowatts in capacity that are connected to the grid. The scheme commenced on 1 January 2010 and operates until 31 December 2016.
The NSW Solar Bonus Scheme is now closed to new applicants. Customers who applied to join the Solar Bonus Scheme by midnight, 28 April 2011 are able to proceed with their connection and receive scheme payments. The NSW Department of Trade and Investment has more information about the NSW Solar Bonus Scheme.
Australian Government Rebates