Firstly, yes Government Rebates are still available
Late 2009, the Federal Labor Government introduced the Solar Credits Scheme as an incentive to invest in renewable energy as part of a Renewable Energy Target (RET) introduced by the Coalition Government in 2001.
The scheme is available to homeowners, business owners and non profit organisations and entitles you to receive a subsidy in the form of Small Technology Certificates (STC). These certificates are used to reduce or discount the total cost of the Solar Energy System.
The RET mandates that by 2020 energy retails need to source 20% of the electricity they sell from renewable sources. To meet their targets, they pay you to produce the power instead of producing it themselves.
For every 1 mWh of electricity your Solar energy system will produce over the next 15 years, you are entitled to 1 Small Technology Certificate (STC). Australian Solar Designs, sell the STCs to a broker on your behalf who will then sell them to an energy retailer trying to meet their targets. In turn ASD will discount the value of the STCs from the total cost of your Solar Energy System.
Things to note
• There is a small amount of paperwork on the day of installation to receive the STC discount
• The rebate is not means tested
• You can only claim once per property
• You can claim on multiple properties
Solar Feed-in Tariff
A Solar feed-in tariff (aka FiT) put simply, is the price you are paid for every kW of Solar Electricity, generated by your system, fed back to the electricity grid. There are two types, NET and GROSS.
Net feed in Tariff
Depending the size of your system and the why you generally consume your electricity, will dictate how much solar energy you consume, and how much you do not. The energy that you do not use/ consume will be fed back to the grid. Under a Net Feed-in Tariff you are only paid for the energy you export back to the grid.
Your energy retailer will pay you a rate per kW of energy fed back to the grid. However is it important to note that feed-in tariffs are different in each state and each retailer provides a different rate. Most state governments mandate a minimum retailer feed-in tariff rate which your energy retailer will provide to you. There are states where a retail feed-in tariff is voluntary (WA, NSW & Qld), therefore not all retailers offer a return for your solar energy. It is important to check with your retailer first.
If your energy retailer offered a 8c tariff per kWh for example, the energy fed back to the grid will be multiplied by the 8c and applied to your bill. This amount will be deducted from the total to result is a saving on your total electricity cost.
Solar will reduce your daily consumption in general which will result in a lower cost bill and then the added incentive of the Solar Feed in Tariff from your retailer will improve your electricity bill again.
Gross Feed in Tariff
Up until early 2011 the NSW Government offered a Gross Feed-in Tariff. Unlike the Net above, all electricity generated by your Solar System was exported back to the grid (not fed through the home). Solar System owners were paid and still are receiving a premium of up to 66c per kW fed back to the grid. This scheme is now closed in many states in Australia and only remains in the Northern Territory.
EnergyMadeEasy a website funded by the Federal government is currently the most comprehensive place to compare electricity tariffs and solar feed-in rates.
To receive further information about the different feed-in tariff rates available to you visit the EnergyMadeEasy website. The site contains almost every solar feed in tariff paid by each retailer/ company.