Is the Federal Solar Incentive still available? (Updated)

31st January 2017

During many conversations I have with friends, collegues and customers alike, I seem to hear a common occurring question “Is the solar incentive still available?”.  This question made me write this clarification on the current state of solar incentives available here in Australia.

First of all the answer to the question is Yes and to clarify in more detail, although the incentives are not as plentiful as a few years ago, there is still a major incentive or rebate offered by the Australian government to install solar.  This is called STCs (Small-scale technology certificates) or otherwise known as RECs (Renewable Energy Credits).

The main difference from a few years ago to now is that previously on top of the STC or REC offered, the electricity retailers were also offering a very enticing 66 cents per kilowatt sold back to the grid.  This meant that a 5kW solar system making approximately 27kW per day in Queensland can generate approximately $10-$13 per day for a low power household taking up the high feed in tariff (FIT) offer therefore, making the return on the investment or payback period very quick.

Since the introduction of the generous feed in tariff, Australian electricity retailers saw an unprecedented uptake in the offer far beyond their expectations.  As a result, electricity retailers introduced new measures making it very difficult for Australian consumers to keep the generous feed in tariff.  Rules such as modifications to the system will result in a breach of contract, bringing the feed in tariff back to a base normal amount of $0.06 per kW sold to the grid.  Also, if the customer changes names on the electricity account by selling their house or renting the house, this would also breach the agreement, bringing them to the $0.06 per kW feed in tariff.  Lastly, new customers considering installing solar will find that there is no generous feed in tariff available and will simply have to accept the current industry standard of $0.06.

Does this mean that installing solar now is simply not worth it?  The answer is no.  If a household has high energy usage, it makes complete sense for customers to consider installing solar and potentially batteries to generate and potentially store and use their own electricity.  Also, there is still the STCs (Small-scale technology certificates) or otherwise known as RECs (Renewable Energy Credits) available and this can equate to approximately $4000.00 for a 5kW system (20 panels) depending on the region they live in.

To calculate how many STC or RECs you are elegible for, please visit the government REC Registry page here https://www.rec-registry.gov.au/rec-registry/app/calculators/sgu-stc-calculator.

The current price per credit is $36.50 at the time this article was written.

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