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Solar Rebates in Australia – Guide to Government Credits,Subsidies,Gross and Net Feed in Tariffs by States and Federal

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Soar Rebates are a very important decision making factor when buying solar panels for your home or office or factory.The reason is that solar energy today is still not competitive with fossil fuel energy.However the costs of solar energy have declined dramatically in the recent past.It is estimated that solar energy will be competitive with coal,gas and other fossil fuels in 2-3 years in most places around the earth.In fact it has already reached “grid parity” in a number of countries like Italy,Hawai where there is a lot of sunshine and the cost of electricity is also high.Australia too has a large number of sunny hours which makes it ideal to install solar panels.State governments in Australia have been at the forefront of giving rebates and subsidies to promote solar energy in the country.This has resulted in a large boom of solar installations among residents in the country who are taking advantage of the generous subsidies.Though recently a number of provinces like New South Vales and Victoria have stopped the solar rebates , the falling cost of solar panels in Australia has still made it attractive enough for people to put up solar panels.

Read about on how to buy Solar Panels

Most of the state government Feed in Tariff Schemes have closed down under a deluge of applications and have reached the limit.Now the rebates for solar energy is federal in nature where you can receive a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) or Solar Credit for the solar energy generated from solar panels.Here is a list of the solar rebates and subsidies available in different states of Australia.

Basic Concepts

What is ‘Net’ feedin tariffs are where the consumer is only paid/credited for the ‘net’ generated electricity they export to the national electricity grid from their renewable energy generator (not for the proportion of generated electricity they use themselves). In order to receive a ‘net’ feed-in tariff the consumer needs to have ‘net’ metering that can measure the net amount of generated electricity exported to the national electricity grid. A ‘net’ meter measures the net amount of generated electricity exported to the national electricity grid. This means a customer uses the electricity they produce first, before sending the remainder to the grid. A net meter allows customers with solar panels to reduce their electricity bills.

What is Gross feed in tariffs  measures the ‘gross’ or total amount of electricity generated by a renewable energy generator that is exported to the grid. ‘Gross’ feed-in tariffs are where the consumer is paid/credited for all the electricity generated by their renewable energy generator (e.g. solar photovoltaic system or wind turbine). In order to receive a gross feed-in tariff the consumer needs to have gross metering that can measure the ‘gross’ or total amount of electricity generated by their renewable energy generator that is exported to the grid.

It is clear that Gross Feed in Tarffs are much better than Net feed in tariffs because the feed in tariff is generally much greater than the electricity rate.

Australian Federal Government Subsidies and Rebates for Solar Energy Installations

The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES)

The SRES provides a financial benefit for owners wishing to purchase eligible solar water heaters, air source heat pumps and small-scale solar photovoltaic panels, wind and hydro systems. Installation of these units permits the creation of Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs), which can be exchanged for financial benefit for owners.

Owners have two options for gaining a financial benefit for their certificates:

  1. Selling the right to include STCs to an Agent, in exchange for discounts or payment, or
  2. Selling the certificates themselves, either through the open STC market (pricing subject to market forces) or through the STC Clearing House (price fixed at $40 per STC, excl. GST.)

What is  Small-scale Technology Certificate (STC)

Small-scale technology certificates (STCs) are created by eligible installations of solar water heaters, air source heat pump water heaters and small generation units (small-scale solar photovoltaic panels, wind and hydro electricity systems). A STC is generally equivalent to:

  • 1 MWh of renewable electricity deemed to be generated by small generation units unless the Solar Credits REC multiplier applies; or
  • 1 MWh of electricity deemed to be displaced by the installation of solar water heaters

What are Solar Credits?

If an SGU was installed on or after 9 June 2009 it may be eligible for additional STCs under Solar Credits.  This increases the number of STCs to which your system is entitled by a set factor, depending on when the system was installed, thereby increasing the financial benefit provided back to you, to support investment in small-scale renewable energy generation.  The table below shows the current Solar Credits multiplier.

Installation Period
9 June 2009 – 30 June 2010 5 x [number of eligible STCs]
1 July 2010 – 30 June 2011 5 x [number of eligible STCs]
1 July 2011 – 30 June 2012 3 x [number of eligible STCs] *
1 July 2012 – 30 June 2013 2 x [number of eligible STCs]
1 July 2013 – onwards 1 x [number of eligible STCs]
(ie no multiplier

What’s an SGU?

A small generation unit (SGU) is classified as a small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) panel, wind or hydro unit. Small generation units generate electricity and have the following requirements:

System type
System capacity and annual electricity output
Installation periods
Solar (photovoltaic) systems No more than 100 kW and a total annual electricity output less than 250 MWh On or after 14 November 2005

Read  more about this here


Solar Rebates in Victoria

1) Residential – The Solar Net  Feed-in Tariff will offer eligible properties with small-scale solar PV systems of up to five kilowatts in size a credit of at least 25 cents per kilowatt hour for excess electricity fed back into the grid. The scheme is expected to be available from 1 January 2012, replacing the Premium Feed-in Tariff.This scheme is intended to have a capacity cap of 75 megawatts of installed solar systems across the state, and provide eligible signed-up customers with guaranteed credits until the end of 2016.This new Transitional Feed-in Tariff replaces the Premium Feed-in Tariff was introduced in 2009 and offered 60 cents per kilowatt hour.


  • have a solar PV system no greater than five kilowatts in size
  • be claiming for your principal place of residence (if you are a household)
  • consume 100 megawatt hours or less of electricity per year (if you are a small business or community organisation) claim only one solar PV system per site (if you are a small business or community organisation operating across multiple sites, you can claim for one system per site)
  • have bi-directional metering in place that measures two-way electricity flows and records them on a half hourly basis

Read more here

Solar Rebates in ACT

1) Residential Solar – The revised ACT Electricity Net Feed-in Tariff Scheme which commenced on 12 July 2011 closed at midnight on 13 July 2011.Overwhelming demand created a situation where the cap available was quickly taken up. This followed the earlier closure of the Micro Generator component of the same Scheme on 31 May 2011.

2) Large Scale Solar -The solar energy industry will have an opportunity to compete for establishment of 40MW of generation from large scale facilities (greater than 200kW capacity) located in the ACT.The ACT Government intends to create supporting legislation during 2011 and to open the auction by the end of 2011.

Read more here

Solar Rebates in Queensland

Solar Bonus Scheme

Residential – Customers participating in the Scheme warepaid 44 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for surplus electricity fed into the grid (Tariff 11 inc GST as at 1 July 2011).


  • consume less than 100 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity a year (the average household uses approximately 7.9MWh a year)
  • purchase and install a new solar PV (photovoltaic) system (solar power system not solar hot water system) or operate an existing PV system (solar power system) that is connected to the Queensland electricity grid
  • generate surplus electricity that is fed into the Queensland electricity grid
  • have an agreement in place with their electricity distributor (Ergon Energy, ENERGEX or Essential Energy) and have appropriate metering installed
  • have solar PV systems with a combined inverter capacity of up to 5 kilowatts
  • Customers wishing to claim the solar bonus will need electricity metering that separately records electricity imports and exports.

Read more here

Solar Rebates in Tasmania

There are no feed in tariffs or Subsidies for residential solar installations.The government has given grants to a small number of projects with funding of $363,000 .

Solar Rebates in Western Australia
The Western Australian residential net feed-in tariff scheme reached its quota and was suspended on 1 August 2011.

The feed-in tariff scheme used to provide the following net feed in tariff of

  • 40 cents per unit for applications made prior to 1 July 2011
  • 20 cents per unit* for applications made from 1 July 2011

It was valid for 10 years

Solar Rebates in New South Wales

The Solar Bonus Scheme provides a feed-in tariff for eligible customers with small solar or wind generators that are connected to the grid is closed. The Scheme commenced on 1 January 2010 and operates until 31 December 2016.New South Wales Electricity Supply Act 1995 started by giving a Feed in Tariff of 50 cents/ Kwh which was stopped after the scheme reached the 50 megawatt level in mid 2010 and a review has now been completed. Public submissions were invited as part of the review. In October 2010 the former NSW Government announced changes to the Solar Bonus Scheme reducing tariff payments from 60 cents to 20 cents and introducing a scheme capacity limit of 300 MW. The Scheme is now closed to new applications. This FIT also closed  by 28 April 2011

The Current Solar Rebates in NSW are

  1. Commonwealth – Renewable Energy Certificates or ‘Solar Credits’
    The Commonwealth Government administers credits and offers through renewable energy certificates.  These certificates reduce the upfront costs of purchasing solar panels
  2. Retailer feed-in offers
    Some energy retailers offer feed-in tariffs, separate to the Solar Bonus Scheme, for electricity fed into the grid. These offers vary and customers can shop around and choose the right retailer for their circumstances

Read more here


Abhishek Shah

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