The potential to save money is a big incentive for adding solar power to your home or business. The Australian Federal Government provides incentives for solar systems both residential and commercial, large and small.
The Renewable Energy Target is a scheme designed by the Australian Government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adopt a more sustainable source of electricity generation. The scheme works through the creation of tradable certificates, issued through the REC Registry and managed by the Clean Energy Regulator.
There are some vastly naive and highly deceptive solar power companies, sales people, and crafty advertisers falsely exaggerating the cessation of the ‘rebate’ to end December 31st of each year. This is where we de-bunk the alluding nature of such claims and give you the 101 on the ‘solar rebate’ and lets be frank; the subsidy does not cease until 2030!!
SMALL SCALE RENEWABLE ENERGY CERTIFICATES
The Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) supports the sale of solar PV systems for residential households and small – medium businesses with the roof space, means and need to install up to a 100kw solar power system. Under this scheme you may be entitled to small-scale technology certificates, these are usually surrendered to your solar power agent in lieu of a point of sale discount = lower purchase price.
Small-Scale Technology Certificates commonly referred to in the industry as an STC are as what we would describe a virtual currency or certificate. They have a monetary value which fluctuates based on supply and demand factors. The value has previously dipped as low as $27 and peaks no higher then $40. The STC value usually sits steady at $37 allowing reputable solar companies to set pricing guarantees based figuratively around this number. However, this rate fluctuates daily.
The generation and sale of the commodity works much like the stock market. It is a safe and regulated auction house where buyers and sellers trade investments regulated by the government through the REC Registry.
There are open markets which most companies and or registered agents would commonly use to relinquish STC’s or the STC Clearing House. On the open market we use the individual trader Formbay. The STC Clearing House has a fixed price set at $40 per certificate. However, there is no guarantee as to how long it will take to sell. All Small Scale Certificates must be rendered for sale within 12 months of the installation date.
STC’s are created for each mega-watt hour of renewable electricity that is not deemed to be required from the grid. Electricity retailers such as Origin, AGL and Energy Australia source these STC’s to meet their renewable energy obligations. The amount of STC’s each electricity retailer needs to source is in proportion to the amount of electricity they acquire to use or sell. For your reference in 2020 this number was approximately 42.6 million!
The value of STC’s fluctuates year by year as the calculated formula uses a set of multipliers. One of the multipliers used is the deeming period, the deeming period has been reducing each year since its existence hence the reduction in the value of STC’s each year. Further information and formulas that will ‘blow your mind’ can be found on the CER website.
STC’s are calculated based on eligibility as set by the Clean Energy Regulator and based upon the following factors:
- Date of Installation
- Rated Power Output (kW)
- Location (postcode)
In order to assign the rights of the STC’s generated by your solar power installation your approved agent / solar installer will ask you to sign a digital form on completion of your solar installation. The form lists the specifics of your solar power system, your address and personal details. The form will also list the CEC Accredited Installer who physically attended your home and installed your solar system. You can verify this by asking to see the installers accreditation.
You should only be requested to sign the form once the installation has been fully installed and commissioned.
Criteria for eligibility:
- Be installed within 12 months prior to the creation of certificates.
- Meet Australian and New Zealand Standards
- Be installed by a CEC Accredited Designer and Installer
- Meet all CEC Guidelines – Modules + Inverters
- Comply with all local, state, territory and federal requirements.
- Be a solar panel system with a capacity of no more than 100kW
LARGE SCALE RENEWABLE ENERGY CERTIFICATES
Solar power systems with a rating over 100kW are classed as Power Stations. This has created a market for the generation of Large Scale Generation Certificates (LGC’s). Typically only used and generated by commercial properties and large scale projects such as solar farms.
Accredited Power Stations are able to create LGC’s for electricity generated from that power stations renewable energy sources. LGC’s can then be sold to entities with liabilities such as electricity retailers to meet their compliance obligations under the scheme.
LGC’s are produced on an ongoing basis after the solar installation is complete. Certificates are created per megawatt hour (MWh) of eligible electricity generated by the power station and sold in bundles of no less than 5,000 at any one time. This creates ongoing revenue for the project operator and in some cases speeds up the return on the investment.
Assessment and validation of Large Scale Renewable Energy Certificates must be completed by the Clean Energy Regulator and fees paid in order for the generation to occur. We encourage you to speak to an experienced LGC dealer prior to pursuing this option as in some cases may not be beneficial for the businesses financial agenda. Read more here….
ELECTRICITY CONTRACTS + SOLAR FEED IN TARIFFS
A vital part of the solar process is managing offers from retailers for your ‘new look’ electricity bill post solar installation. Any grid-connected solar PV system exports excess energy generated; not being used within the home or business to the grid.
Excess electricity generated is purchased off you by your retailer at a feed in tariff rate (FIT). The solar feed in tariff rate reflects as a credit on your electricity bill and paid per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of unused electricity.
It is important prior to your solar installation you do some research and evaluate which retailer has the best offer available for your particular home and usage requirements. Always request the offer in writing so we can help you evaluate contracts; specific to your system size and properties consumption.
WE STRESS : that you do not enter into a contract with another electricity retailer pre-installation. Unfortunately, as the way computing systems work and the distribution network for approvals goes processing over to a new retailer whilst we are trying to have your solar panel system approved by the grid for installation would inevitably delay your post-installation solar meter upgrade!
SOLAR METER UPGRADES
Another critical element when installing solar is your meter upgrade. Most meters are analogue and must be brought up to the current Australian Energy Market Commission’s requirements. Meter upgrade roll-outs have been ongoing over the past few years.
Even though your analogue meter may have been upgraded it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is ‘solar compatible’. We have found some of the newest digital meters that were installed did not have WIFI technology. So in short, your reasonably new digital meter may still require upgrading.
Energy Retailers now own your meters within your switchboard and are required to complete all upgrades and works as necessary. Prior to your solar energy purchase you should confirm if there will be an out of pocket cost for this upgrade. Unfortunately, this is an additional cost outside of the total solar system cost that can only be confirmed by your retailer to you the property owner. Pricing also varies between single phase and three phase properties.
Charges are also incurred when upgrading mains power from 1 phase to 3 phase. You may discuss these costs with either your retailer or local distributer as this is also property specific and works can fluctuate substantially.
Due to Privacy Laws we can-not act on your behalf when negotiating pricing for your energy bills or solar meter upgrades. We do however provide advice on pricing structures according to our own research and client feedback post installation.
Missed out on installing solar in 2020, don’t be alarmed!!
There’s no need to rush the process. Speak with an honest, reputable solar company that can guide you through the process.
Do your research and read reviews.
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