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The Ultimate Guide for Solar Rebates/Schemes⚡2024 Australia

Posted 19 Dec '23

Solar Panel Rebates Guide for Australia in 2024 

One of the most attractive aspects of installing solar at your home or business are the various rebates that these systems entail. However, the murky waters of Australian Government rebates and manufacturer offers can be difficult for the consumer to navigate.

So let’s go on a deep dive into solar rebates, how they work, and how you can make the most of them.




Up-Front Rebates

The positive environmental impacts of residential and commercial solar installations make them an important cog in the Australian Federal Government’s carbon neutral goals. More specifically, their Renewable Energy Target (RET) schemes are designed to make clean energy more prolific and affordable.

The Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme is the primary rebate system that relates to residential and commercial solar, of which STC’s are a major factor.

Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STC’s)

If you have been looking into solar, you may have heard the term STC being thrown around - however, you may be wondering what this rebate actually includes. Allow us to break it down for you…

What is an STC?

A small-scale technology certificate is a virtual token that simply represents the ability of a solar system to generate one megawatt hour of energy over a standard 14-year period. The Australian Government has pledged to purchase these certificates as an acknowledgement of the clean energy that is being created.

The STC program, instituted in 2011 and running through to 2030, rewards installers based on the climate zone they are installing in - the nation is split into 4 zones based on the duration and intensity of sunlight - and on the size and efficiency of the solar system they install - i.e. the more megawatt hours a system has the potential of producing, the more STC’s will be allocated to the installer.

Small-scale technology certificate stc climate zone australia
electrician newcastle stc solar installation rebate

How do we trade your STC’s?

As stated above, the STC’s are actually allocated to us, the installers, rather than directly to you, the customer. This is to ensure a smooth compliance process for the government, as your installers are far better equipped to provide evidence of an eligible solar system.

 As expected, there are a fair few hoops to jump through during this federal process. That’s why we ourselves don’t even sell the STC’s directly to the government! We trade our STC’s to a third-party company called GreenDeal, who provide intelligent software to our installers to make sure that all our installations are 100% compliant with the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme.

 But where do you fit in? By trading with a third-party company, this allows Elite Power Group to provide you with your solar rebate UP-FRONT! Greendeal purchases the STC’s from us upon installation, before progressively selling them to the government as each megawatt hour is produced by your solar system.

 This up-front rebate, that we receive from GreenDeal, allows us to provide an enormous discount to our solar customers. You will see all the info about your STC rebate built into your original system quote when you make an enquiry with our sales team.

The criteria for qualifying for Small-scale Technology Certificates are as follows:

  • The creation of certificates must occur within 12 months of the installation of an eligible solar system.
  • The certificates should encompass an inverter and solar panels that have been sanctioned by the Clean Energy Council.
  • Adherence to local, state, and federal government legislation, particularly in matters of electrical safety.
  • Employ the services of a designer and installer accredited by the Clean Energy Council, ensuring compliance with the Council's design and installation guidelines.
  • Qualify as small-scale, with a maximum direct current (DC) capacity of 100 kilowatts and an annual electricity output not exceeding 250 megawatt-hours.
  • Conformity to the standards set by Australia and New Zealand.

Some customers may have specific design requirements in mind for their solar installation. In this case, it is important to keep in mind the eligibility requirements of the STC program.

Elite Power Group ensures that all of our systems will provide you with the maximum up-front rebate that you are eligible for, according to the STC scheme.

solar panels home house rebate panel
JA solar panel panels module

STC Forecast - How long will the rebate last?

Some sad news - the STC price is slowly declining!

The federal solar rebate (STC) for the installation of solar panels is designed to gradually decrease until 2030, diminishing the up-front advantages of adopting solar power. Savvy consumers have caught on to this pattern, leading to a surge in the adoption of new solar systems as individuals aim to capitalise on what are the lowest prices of the rebate that will be in effect for the next seven years.

How much of a hit is every decrease in the STC rebate? Every January 1st between now and 2030, the STC buy-back price will drop 7%.

Though this is a significant drop, the good news is that an up-front solar rebate is locked in for the next seven years. Customers are advised not to hold off on a proposed solar system for their home, as the benefits are currently at their maximum.

Many industry experts predict that the federal government will continue to introduce new clean energy schemes that benefit the customer, but at the moment the STC rebate is the most significant up-front benefit of installing solar panels.

Rebate Swap for Low-income Households

If solar seems like an unattainable solution for your high energy bill costs, the good news is that the NSW government offers a solar rebate scheme for low-income households to adopt clean energy.

NSW Low Income Household Rebate is an existing program that helps low income households and eligible concession cardholders to pay their electricity bills during a time of skyrocketing energy prices. This rebate has been very successful in aiding the low income community.

However, the government has now introduced the Rebate Swap for Solar initiative - an addendum to the existing rebate system that looks to include a clean energy element.

Under this rebate scheme, NSW low income households can choose to swap their existing rebate for a free 3 kilowatt solar system to be installed on their home.

solar installers solar panel module modules photovoltaic PV rebate
solar installation panels panel home rebate install

This is an amazing opportunity for these customers to have access to top-quality solar power at no cost!

This rebate swap puts a hold on the standard $285 low income energy bill rebate for 10 years after the free solar system is installed. However, the 3kW system has the potential to create more than double the financial benefits of the existing rebate for the customer.

Elite Power Group is currently installing small-scale solar systems across the Newcastle, Hunter, and Maitland area under the New South Wales Low Income Household Rebate Swap for Solar initiative, leading to great customer satisfaction.

Important to note - Elite Power Group acts as a third-party contractor under this arrangement. All enquiries for rebate swap installs must begin with a government application process, who then have an agreement with several large solar distributors.

All information about rebates for Low Income Households can be found at NSW Energy Saver.

 


 

Ongoing Rebates

Solar Feed-In Tariffs

Simply put, a feed-in tariff is a payment made to you by your electricity provider for the excess energy that is fed from your solar system into the electricity grid.

This is an important ongoing rebate for solar customers, as there are many times when your solar system’s generation exceeds your home’s energy consumption - therefore, you are theoretically 'wasting' all the excess energy you have captured from the sun.

But don’t fear! - your energy provider will buy back this excess electricity, providing a significant rebate on your electricity bill (which will already be lowered due to a reduced reliance on the supply grid for power).

Feed-in tariffs can vary significantly between energy providers, ranging from as little as 1c per kWh to 20c per kWh. Our sales team often directs our customers to websites such as wattever.com.au to compare energy providers, or you can speak to our sales staff during the proposal stage to get further specific advice.


solar panels installation panel module photovoltaic PV rebate

Other Rebates and Incentives

There are several other rebate and incentive systems that can benefit customers interested in solar/battery power.

NSW Empowering Homes Program

(IMPORTANT: Program recently expired. Read on…)

This NSW Government incentive involves a 100% interest free loan on solar + battery, or battery only systems for residential properties.

Offered through the third-party company Plenti, these loans provide truly interest free renewable energy products to customers who cannot afford the large up-front costs associated with solar and battery power.

Loans of up to $14,000 for solar + battery systems and up to $9,000 for battery only systems are available to all customers.

Though this program has now expired, it is due to be replaced with a similar government loan initiative for renewable energy in the near future.

However, Plenti still offers attractive loan options for customers, a popular option for Elite Power Group customers. Simply inform our sales staff of your desire to use Plenti to finance your solar/battery system, and we will provide you with an approved quote number for you to use in Plenti’s application process.

Manufacturer Incentives

Elite Power Group only partners with products and companies that we trust, and many of these companies are always striving to benefit the customer. 

Manufacturers will often introduce limited-time rebate schemes that you can take advantage of through an Elite Power Group installation. 

For example, the recent Tesla Powerwall 2 rebate. This initiative offered customers a $750 rebate on all Tesla Powerwall 2 batteries installed between 11 August and 31 December 2023.

Elite Power Group facilitated many such installations, alerting our valued customers to this limited-time offer. 

Stay tuned to our website news and our various social media outlets for the latest initiatives we are partnering with, or ask our sales staff about a recent rebate you have heard about.


 

Solar Battery Rebate Scheme

Why isn’t there a solar battery rebate scheme, similar to the STC rebates we see for solar?

Well, both the ACT and the Northern Territory are leading the way for Australia, implementing battery storage rebates for residential and commercial customers.

For NSW, we expect similar schemes to be adopted in the future to encourage sustainable and widespread solar battery storage and offset the large up-front prices of batteries.

Currently, battery solutions remain a highly recommended option for customers who use large quantities of electricity, or desire backup power during frequent blackouts and a reduced reliance on the grid. Though the high cost of solar batteries can be off-putting to some, it is important to monitor the various manufacturer incentives (above) to make the most of the solar panels you install.

For now, we wait for NSW to adopt a solar battery rebate scheme.






Earn with Amber

Whilst we're on the topic of solar and battery systems, we thought it would be worth mentioning Amber.
Amber allows you to get access to the wholesale energy market and when using Amber SmartShift, your property is converted into a Virtual Power Plant, which produces, consumes, and distributes energy in the optimal way to maximise your solar and battery investments. 

Traditional solar and battery installations lower your energy bill, but Amber allows you to turn your battery into an ATM, maximising the value of your battery.
We have seen many users go to Amber and never regret their decisions. We genuinely believe in Amber's solution and really recommend them if you want control over your energy.

Find out more Find out more







And… that’s rebates! The adoption of renewable energy is an important step for our communities, and the various incentives you can access through Elite Power Group installations make contributing to this progress a financially attractive option.

If you'd like to know more, and what solutions we can provide for you, we offer free consultation and quoting on all jobs to ensure we can discuss your requirements, so we can get the optimal solution for your property.




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