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STC Solar Rebates: Small Scale Technology Certificates – 2022

solar rebates

There are several Australian government solar rebates and schemes to help you reduce the cost of your solar panels. Below, you can find information on national and state-sponsored solar rebates and STCs, as well as what you'll need to be able to apply and start benefiting from solar energy.

Australian Government Solar Rebate 2022

There is an Australian government solar rebate offered by the national government called the Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme.

This scheme uses a system of renewable energy certificates (small scale technology certificates or STC) that are issued to small scale renewable energy generators, such as homeowners with solar panel systems.

Put simply the certificates, called STCs, can be traded in exchange for money that works as a solar rebate to reduce the upfront cost of installing your solar panel system.

STCs are available for small scale and residential Solar PV systems, wind energy systems and hydropower systems. However, solar energy is the most popular form of residential renewable energy system in Australia.

Apart from this federal government solar rebate, there are several smaller government solar rebates depending on the state in which you live. In this article, we will cover both forms of solar rebates.

What are Small Scale Technology Certificates (STCs)

STC is the abbreviation for Small-scale technology certificates. STCs are certificates that you can trade in exchange for a discount on the cost of purchasing and installing your home solar system.

Small-scale technology certificates were introduced by the Australian government as a type of financial incentive to encourage the development of small-scale renewable energy generation within Australia.

Households and businesses with solar PV systems under100kWh can receive STCs however the amount of STCs available to you depends on the following factors:

  • The size of the system (number of panels x wattage of each panel)
  • The number of years until the STC scheme is phased out (also known as a deeming period)
  • The rating of the solar zone you reside in

RECs Are Now Called STCs: If you see the term REC mentioned around the web, STCs used to be called Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). However, they are now referred to as STCs.

How Do STCs Work?

If you install a solar PV system at your property in Australia, you are eligible to claim certificates known as STCs.

STCs are allowed to be sold to generate extra income to help you pay off the high cost of buying solar panels.

In Australia, all energy providers that offer renewable energy must prove that the renewable energy they sell came from a renewable energy generation source.

As a solar panel owner, you are considered a "small scale energy generator" of renewable energy. This means that the energy your solar panels generate and send back to the electricity grid qualify you to sell STC's as proof of the green energy you generate. Therefore, you can sell your STC's to energy companies and recoup part of the cost for installing solar panels at your property.

However, it's important to remember to apply for your STC's when your system is installed, as STCs must be created within 12 months of your system installation.

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How to create STCs

Small-scale technology certificates are created for each small-scale system registered.

Depending on the type of system you have, its wattage, and the zone you live in, you will be allotted a different amount of STCs.

  • Australia is divided into four solar zones:
  • Zone 1 (from Darwin down to Brisbane across the northeast)
  • Zone 2 (which includes parts of the Northern Territory, Western Australia, and into New South Wales)
  • Zone 3 (Perth and across to Brisbane and down to Canberra)
  • Zone 4 (The southern coast and Tasmania)

You will need to know your zone to be able to apply for your STC's.

Here is a map of the solar zones in Australia:

Map of STC Solar Zones Australia

How to Apply for STCs

You can apply for STCs on the REC website.

However, you must be the owner of the solar system or have been assigned the right to create STCs on behalf of the owner.

Follow these steps to create STC's:

  1. Make sure your system has been completely installed
  2. Fill out the required documentation for applying for STCs
  3. Check the deeming period & calculate how many certificates your system should receive. (The deeming period = 2030 - This year)
  4. Calculate the correct amount of certificates the system is entitled to, with the correct deeming period, using an online STC calculator
  5. Create or log into the Renewable Energy Certificate Registry (REC) as a “registered person” or “registered agent”
  6. Apply for the certificates via the REC platform

STC Price Information

STC prices work similarly to the stock exchange.

The daily STC price fluctuates and depends on the supply and demand at a specific moment in time.

Therefore, it's always best to check the STC spot price before trying to sell them to get an idea of how much your STCs are worth.

You can check the current STC price here.

How to Sell STCs

You can sell STCs to individual buyers (energy retailers) through an open market at a price you negotiate or through a system called the STC Clearing House.

The STC Clearing House acts as a broker for you and sells each STC at a fixed price of at $40 per certificate. If you choose to use the STC clearing house, your STCs will be added to a first-come-first-serve waiting list and will be sold according to demand. Once the certificates before yours are sold, then the STC Clearing House will sell yours.

You can also assign your STC vouchers to your solar retailer or installer for a point-of-sale discount when first purchasing their system. The discount will be assigned at the time of purchase Rather than needing to negotiate a price through the open market or wait for a buyer at the STC Clearing House.

Currently, there is an influx of certificates, meaning the value is going down and is expected to continue to decrease until the STC scheme is phased out in 2030.

STCs prices have fluctuated since they were first created. Their lowest price was around $16 per certificate. However, they are capped at $40 per certificate in the STC Clearing House. Currently, their value on the open market hovers between $30 - $40 per certificate.

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Energy rebates and concessionsIf you need more immediate and ongoing help with your energy bills, there are a number of additional rebates and concessions available. Check out these one-off Emergency Energy Payments and concessions for pensioners, low-income households, and households with families.

Solar Rebates By State

We have several in-depth articles covering the specific solar rebates offered nationwide and in each state.

Click on the link in the list below to see the full details regarding solar energy rebates in your state.

Solar Rebates in Victoria

There are 3 solar rebates in Victoria, with solar panel rebates for Victorian homeowners and renters, as well as solar rebates for hot water and solar heat pumps, and battery storage systems.

The 3 solar rebates offered in Victoria are:

  1. Solar Panels for homeowners and tenants
  2. Solar rebate for hot water and solar heat pumps
  3. Solar rebate for battery storage VIC

Solar Rebates in New South Wales

Currently, over 20% of households in New South Wales benefit from solar energy.

If you’re interested in adding a solar PV system to your home or a solar battery to an existing system, there are a few solar rebates in New South Wales available to help reduce the cost and installation price of solar and renewable energy generators.

The 3 solar rebates offered in New South Wales are:

  1. NSW home solar battery loan
  2. Solar for low-income households
  3. Empowering Homes Grant

See all energy rebates offeres in NSW​​​​​​​

Solar Rebates in Queensland

Currently, all solar rebates in Queensland are paused and closed to new applicants.

They may open back up in the future, so we've provided information about them below.

The 2 solar rebates offered in Queensland were:

  1. Queensland government solar rebate for renters
  2. Queensland solar grant and loan for solar panels and battery storage

Solar Rebates in South Australia

South Australia has a Home Battery Scheme that is available to residents of SA interested in adding solar battery storage to their homes. This grant is unique as it's also available to homeowners with existing solar PV systems.

The SA Home Battery Scheme is a three-step subsidy, and currently, the maximum amount available is $3,000 per battery installation.

Solar Rebates in ACT

There are two available solar energy programs available in the ACT:

  1. Solar for Low-Income Households program
  2. Next Generation Energy Storage program

The Solar for Low-Income program is available to ACT residents with valid Pensioner Concession Cards and offers a 50% rebate (up to $2,500) to eligible homeowners in the state.

If you don’t already have solar PV, and your household is assessed and shown to be viable for solar energy, you can contact Access Canberra by calling 13 22 88 or emailing Actsmart@act.gov.au to register your interest. Even if you’re not sure, you can still contact Access Canberra for a no-obligation quote at no cost.

If you already have a solar PV system or are interested in both solar PV and a battery system, the ACT Government is offering 5,000 households a rebate of up to $825 per kW (up to 30kW) to go towards a new battery storage system.

To apply for the Next Generation Energy Storage program through the ACT government, you need to get in touch with one of the approved solar battery storage providers; Evergen, Solahart, or SolarHub.

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