Government rebates or incentives for solar and renewable energy come in a number of forms including solar certificates (STCs), feed-in tariffs and other federal and state incentives.
Federal Government Solar ‘Rebates’ (STCs)
Under the government’s Renewable Energy Target of 20% renewable energy production by 2020, new installations of clean energy systems may be eligible for creation of STCs (Small-scale Technology Certificates, also known as RECs). Although this is not actually a government rebate it is a way of setting a value on clean energy generated from your system over a period of up to fifteen years.
Once the system is installed the STCs can be traded to provide a refund on some of the cost of your solar installation.
The number of STCs created depends on the location, system size and period over which it is claimed. The value of STCs is generally around $30 but has varied on the market from $15 to $40 making the possible return on a 5kW system in Melbourne from $1350 to $3520 .
Read more on federal government rebates and the creation of STCs.
Off Grid Solar Rebates
Off grid solar PV systems are eligible to create the same STC certificates as grid-connected systems. As system sizes tend to be larger for stand alone systems these may provide a significant incentive to install solar or other renewable energy generators.
Solar Credits multipliers which provider greater incentive for off grid systems are no longer available.
‘Feed-in tariffs’ refers to the value given to the solar power which you generate but don’t use on site and feed back into the electricity grid.
Feed-in tariffs were recently generous incentives to encourage the installation of solar panels but now are generally significantly lower than the price you pay for electricity you buy from the grid. As a result, many people are starting to think seriously about storing their solar energy using battery storage or backup systems.
Feed-in tariff do however provide some return to offset the rising cost of electricity so should be factored into the financial considerations of the return on your solar investment.
Solar Hot Water Rebates
Solar hot water systems can also be eligible for creation of STCs as above.
A solar hot water installation may also be eligible for creation of Victorian Energy Efficiency Certificates (VEECs).
Read more on the Victorian Energy Efficiency Certificates