The Federal Government solar rebate

The Federal Government solar rebate

The Federal Government has introduced various initiatives to promote the adoption of renewable energy sources, particularly solar energy. The primary goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make Australia more energy independent. Solar power not only alleviates the burden on the grid but also offers economic benefits to homeowners and businesses.

The “Solar Rebate” (aka the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme – SRES)

The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) is a Federal Government initiative designed to encourage the uptake of renewable energy solutions, including solar panel installations. Under the SRES, homeowners and businesses can earn financial incentives in the form of Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs). These STCs act as a form of ‘currency’ that can be sold or assigned, reducing the upfront costs of installing a solar energy system.

Eligibility Criteria
To be eligible for STCs under the SRES, there are specific criteria your solar installation must meet. Firstly, the installed system’s capacity must not exceed 100 kW. Additionally, the solar panels and inverter you choose for your installation must be on the Clean Energy Council (CEC) approved products list. This ensures that your system adheres to Australian standards for quality and safety.

How It Works
Once your eligible solar system is installed, you have the opportunity to earn Small-scale Technology Certificates or STCs. These can either be sold on the open market or more commonly, assigned to a registered agent, like Arkana Energy. By assigning the STCs to us, you benefit from an immediate point-of-sale discount on the total cost of your solar system. It’s a win-win: You get a cheaper solar system, and we handle the paperwork for the STCs.

The Role of Zone Ratings
In Australia, the solar energy potential varies depending on geographic location. To account for this, the country is divided into different solar zones, each with its own rating that reflects the average solar irradiance, or sunlight, the area receives. These zone ratings play a significant role in determining the number of STCs you can claim for your solar system. Essentially, the better the solar conditions in your area, the more STCs your system will generate, increasing your up-front discount.

A Declining Rebate
If you’re contemplating whether to go solar, you might want to make a decision sooner rather than later. Why? The STC program is designed to phase out gradually. The number of certificates generated by a new solar system installation will reduce annually until the scheme wraps up in 2031.

In simpler terms, the longer you wait, the smaller the discount you’ll receive. The government’s plan is to decrease the financial incentives to encourage early adoption of solar technology, so now is the best time to take advantage of the full benefits of the scheme.

Example Savings with a 6.6kW Solar System

If you’re contemplating the installation of a 6.6kW solar system, it’s good to know what kind of savings you can expect. This size is often considered the “sweet spot” for many Australian homeowners due to its efficiency and affordability.

How STCs Impact Your Savings
Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) act like a financial shortcut to solar savings. These certificates can be thought of as a form of currency in the solar world, and their value directly reduces the upfront cost of your solar system. For this example, let’s use an STC value of $35.

Imagine you install a 6.6kW system that generates 105 STCs. Multiply this by the current STC rate of $35, and you have an upfront saving of $3,675. This isn’t pocket change; it’s a substantial discount that can make your switch to solar a lot easier on the wallet.

This upfront discount means you could potentially cover the cost of your system much faster, allowing you to start reaping the benefits of free solar energy sooner.

How Where Your Home Is Changes That
The number of STCs you can claim isn’t a flat rate across Australia; it varies depending on your geographical location. For instance, let’s consider two popular locations: Brisbane and Cairns.

While both are in sunny Queensland, they belong to different solar zones. Brisbane is in Zone 3, and Cairns is in Zone 2. Because Cairns receives more solar irradiation, a solar system installed there generates more STCs than the same system would in Brisbane.

Let’s say a 6.6kW system generates 105 STCs in Brisbane. In Cairns, due to its higher solar potential, the same system might generate 115 STCs. Using our example STC value of $35:

  • Brisbane: 105 STCs x $35 = $3,675 in upfront savings.
  • Cairns: 115 STCs x $35 = $4,025 in upfront savings.

So, by just living in Cairns, you could benefit from an additional $350 in upfront savings compared to someone installing the same system in Brisbane.

The Claiming Process

Before embarking on your solar journey, it’s essential to confirm your eligibility for the government rebate. To qualify, the system you choose must be less than 100 kW, and both the panels and inverter must be on the Clean Energy Council’s approved products list.

Selecting a CEC Accredited Installer (such as Arkana Energy) also ensures that your installation will meet the highest standards of quality and be eligible for the rebate. Accreditation by the Clean Energy Council is an indicator of expertise and compliance with Australian standards.

The claiming process then involves either:

  • Assigning to the Solar Installer: One of the most convenient ways to claim the rebate is to assign your Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) to your solar installer. By doing so, the installer typically provides you with an upfront discount on the cost of the solar system. This is known as the “point of sale discount.” The installer takes on the responsibility of creating, selling, and trading the STCs, streamlining the entire process for you.
  • Applying Yourself: It’s also possible to claim the rebate yourself by applying for the STCs independently. This process involves filling out paperwork, proving the eligibility of your system, and finding a buyer for your certificates. While this route can be more time-consuming and may require a better understanding of the market and regulations, it allows you to control the sale and potentially earn more from your STCs.

Both methods have their own advantages and drawbacks. Assigning the STCs to your installer is usually the more straightforward option, simplifying the process and reducing the initial cost of the system. On the other hand, applying yourself offers more control but comes with the cost of your time and effort in navigating the regulatory landscape.

How Arkana Energy Can Help

As a CEC Accredited Installer, Arkana Energy complies with rigorous industry standards, so you can be confident that your installation will be eligible for the federal solar rebate. We offer a streamlined experience, managing every step from assessing your eligibility to preparing and submitting all required paperwork. This enables us to provide an upfront discount on your solar system, simplifying the whole process for you. Simply put, we handle the details, so you enjoy the savings.

The value of the federal solar rebate is set to decrease over time, making now an ideal moment to make the switch to solar. But the financial incentives don’t stop at the federal level. Arkana Energy can also guide you through applying for state-based programs, like Victoria’s Solar Homes Program, amplifying your savings even more. Take advantage of these incentives now to maximise your long-term benefits.

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