ENERGY GOVERNMENT GRANTS AND REBATES
You could be eligible for Australian Government rebates
or grants for your renewable
energy system. To encourage the uptake of solar
power, the Federal Government and various state governments
currently offer a variety of rebates and incentives.
You can save thousands of dollars with off
grid and grid connect wind and solar power installations if
you qualify for one of the Australian Government's
renewable energy rebates, subsidies or grants. Consumers
and businesses alike are now eligible under the Solar Credits
The Renewable Energy Target
The Australian Government is supporting the deployment
of more renewable energy throughout Australia with the
Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme. The RET scheme
will help ensure that the equivalent of at least 20
per cent of Australia’s electricity supply comes
from renewable sources by 2020.
The RET uses a mechanism of tradeable renewable energy
certificates which are created by eligible sources of
From 1 January 2011, the RET scheme will operate as
two separate parts:
- the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target
(LRET), which will support the deployment of renewable
energy projects like wind farms, and commercial solar
and geothermal power stations; and
- the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme
(SRES), which will provide support for installations
of small renewable energy systems such as rooftop solar
panels and solar water heaters.
Renewable energy certificates (RECs) created from power
generation under the LRET from 1 January 2011 will also
be referred to as large scale generation certificates
(LGCs) while certificates created for installations
of small scale renewable energy systems under the SRES
from 1 January 2011 will also be referred to as small
scale technology certificates (STCs).
The Solar Credits scheme replaces the Solar Homes and
Communities Plan rebate which ended June 9 2009. Unlike
the previous rebate arrangement the solar credit scheme
is not be means tested, and is available to businesses
as well as households and community groups.
Under the Solar Credits Scheme, small generation unit
customers receive 5 times the number of RECs for the
first 1.5 kW of system capacity.
The new solar credits program applies to off grid and
grid connect wind and solar power installations only
- solar hot water rebates rebates operate under completely
different schemes. Solar Credits apply to the first
1.5 kilowatts of solar power installed plus the Renewable
Energy Certificate rebate is still available on the
difference for larger systems.
The amount of Solar Credits each system can produce
is different - it depends on the size of the system
and the location. Australia has been divided into four
zones for both solar PV and solar water heater installations,
which represent the differing number of sunlight hours
Here are some
approximate examples for the Solar Credits
at $40/REC for a 1.5kW system:
Zone 1: rebate = $6,300
Zone 2: rebate = $5,900
Zone 3: rebate = $5,250
Zone 4: rebate = $4,500
Solar Credits provide additional support to households,
businesses and community groups that install small renewable
energy generation units, such as rooftop solar panels,
and small scale wind and hydro electricity systems.
Solar Credits apply to the first 1.5 kilowatts (kW) of
capacity installed for systems connected to a main electricity
grid and up to the first 20 kW of capacity for off-grid
systems. Solar Credits work by multiplying the number
of certificates that these systems would generally be
eligible to create under the standard deeming arrangements.
The level of support in terms of the number of certificates
received via Solar Credits will be determined by the date
the system is installed.
The current multiplier that applies for eligible system
installations is five. The Solar Credits multiplier reduces
over time, reflecting reductions in technology costs and
the role that a carbon price is expected to play in incentivising
investment in renewable energy over the longer term.
The Government has recently announced changes to the Solar
Credits multiplier which will apply from 1 July 2011,
and will bring the multiplier down to four. This will
see a rebate reduction of up to $1,200 on systems not
installed by then.
Queensland Solar Bonus Scheme
The Queensland Government Solar Bonus Scheme is a feed-in
tariff to pay domestic and other small energy customers
for the surplus electricity generated from roof-top solar
systems that is fed back into the Queensland grid. The Scheme
is designed to make solar power more affordable for Queenslanders,
stimulate the solar power industry and encourage energy
Customers signed-up to the scheme will be paid 44 cents
per kilowatt hour (kWh) for surplus electricity fed into
the grid - around three times the current general domestic
use tariff of 16.29c/kWh (inc GST).
The average customer operating a 1.5 kilowatt (kW) solar
system could save around $400 on their electricity bill
just by using less electricity from the grid. Solar Bonus
Scheme customers also receive payments for exporting excess
electricity back to the grid, meaning that these savings
could be higher.
Who is eligible to receive the Solar Bonus?
To be eligible to receive the Solar Bonus, customers must:
* consume less than 100 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity
a year (the average household uses approximately 7.9MWh
* 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
* have an agreement in place with their electricity distributor
(Ergon Energy, ENERGEX or Country Energy) and have appropriate
* have solar PV systems with a capacity of up to 10kVA for
single phase power and 30kVA for three-phase power
* hold an electricity account with an electricity retailer.
As of close of business on 22 March 2010, interest-free
loans are no longer being offered under the Green Loans
program, however householders can still access a free
home sustainability assessment by calling 1800 895 076
between 9am and 5pm EDST Monday to Friday.
Important notice - program changes
On 19 February 2010, the Minister for the Environment,
Heritage and the Arts announced changes to the popular
Green Loans Program. These changes ensure the program
can meet the strong demand for free home sustainability
assessments and aims to help improve the quality of
assessments being delivered under the program.
New applications to become contracted assessors are
no longer being received by the department. Please do
not send any applications to the department. If they
are sent they will be returned to sender. Contracts
delivered by hand will not be accepted.
NOTICE TO HOUSEHOLDERS
Householders are still able to book assessments by
calling 1800 895 076 Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm.
The Minister announced on 19 February 2010 that the
less popular loans component of the program will be
discontinued from 22 March 2010. Note that eligibility
for loans under the Green Loans program is determined
by financial institutions subject to the lending criteria
of the financial institution being satisfied.
Assessments will continue to allow you to make informed
decisions about how to improve the energy and water
efficiency of your home.