A beginners guide to the solar rebate


To cut a long story short, the current solar ‘rebate’ is an upfront discount off the cost of your solar PV system.

Solar Panel Guide Australia

The exact $ amount of that discount will depend on a few factors, but at the end of the day, what matters is your Total Out of Pocket Price (after the discount has been applied) listed on your quotes. But if you really want to know how it all works, read on…

The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES)

Under the SRES, once a Solar PV system is installed, Small-scale Technology Certificates (STC’s) can be created. These STC’s represent the amount of renewable energy that is expected to be generated by the system between the current year and the year 2030 (when the Scheme ends)

For every 1,000 units (kWh) of electricity your solar PV system is expected to generate, 1 STC can be created.

  • Bigger system = greater expected generation = more STC’s
  • Sunnier location = greater expected generation = more STC’s
  • The closer we get to the year 2030 = lower expected generation = less STC’s

Below is a table showing the number of STC’s a solar PV system is currently eligible for in different parts of Australia.

  3kW 5kW 6.5kW 10kW
Brisbane 53 89 116 179
Sydney 53 89 116 179
Melbourne 46 77 100 154
Hobart 46 77 100 154
Adelaide 53 89 116 179
Perth 53 89 116 179
Darwin 59 99 129 199
Alice Springs 63 105 137 210

Or you can use the Clean Energy Regulator’s online calculator.

But why do STC’s matter? Because they’re worth money!

The Renewable Energy Target

Under the Renewable Energy Target, liable entities (usually electricity retailers) are required to source a certain amount of renewable energy each year. One way they meet this obligation is by buying the STC’s that have been created by solar systems installed by homes and businesses.

How much those ‘liable entities’ pay for STC’s depends on Supply & Demand.

When the solar industry is booming, more STC’s are created and put on the market for sale. This can create an oversupply which can cause STC prices to fall. When STC prices decrease, so does the ‘rebate’ for solar.

By law, the maximum value of an STC is $40. But in the past, STC prices have dropped to as low as $17. Fortunately, at the time of writing, STC’s are currently worth $38.

So, for example, a 5kW system is currently eligible for $2,926 – $3,990 worth of STC’s. Not bad, hey?

To receive this as an upfront discount off the cost of your solar PV system, all you have to do is assign the STC’s to your chosen solar company, so they can then on-sell them.

But remember, every year STC’s are reduced. In other words, the longer you wait, the lower the ‘rebate’.

So what are you waiting for?


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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.

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