Solar Rebates

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Updated 04/07/2024
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Updated 04/07/2024

Our aim is to help you make better informed decisions. That’s why iSelect’s content is produced in accordance with our fact-checking and editorial guidelines.

Reviewed by

Dean Ipaviz

Find out more about how we make money.

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Can I get a rebate for installing solar at my place?
How does the national Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme work?
How much could it help me save?
Is it still worth getting solar?
How can I get the most from my solar system?
Where can I find and compare Electricity Plans?

Can I get a rebate for installing solar at my place? 

The Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Target means a further 33,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity from renewable sources has to be found annually until 2030.1Clean Energy Regulator – Renewable Energy Target  While some of this figure can be achieved with large-scale infrastructure projects, like offshore wind farms, there’s plenty of solar energy ripe for the taking in everyone’s backyard. And solar panel rebates are a great carrot. 

At a national level, this boils down to the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme. It’s an incentive to get homes and businesses installing their own small-scale renewable energy, like rooftop solar or solar water heaters. Depending on a few different factors, you can then apply to get a portion of the install cost back. 

Your state or territory may also have their own incentive schemes, whether it’s rebates for a solar system or a battery, or an interest-free loan. 

How does the national Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme work? 

The Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme throws some financial incentives on top of the usual benefits for installing solar (i.e. ideally lowering your energy bills and reducing your carbon footprint). But it’s not just straight-up cash like other rebates. 

What you’ll get are small-scale technology certificates (STCs) based off how much electricity your system is expected to generate or displace over a certain period. One STC is one megawatt hour (MWh). There’s a steady market for these STCs since Energy Retailers need to buy a set amount of them each year as part of the Renewable Energy Target. So, you can then choose to wade into the world of wheeling and dealing yourself or let an agent do the legwork. Either way, you’ll earn some cash back for doing your part in making a greener future. 

However, you may want to shift your to-do list around and jump in on this scheme sooner rather than later. It’s set to end in 2030. 

Additionally, you can’t just pick any old solar system to make some STCs. There’s a few different criteria you need to meet, from the size of the system to using components approved by the Clean Energy Council through to having it installed by an accredited installer. You can see the full scope of requirements on the Clean Energy Regulator’s site

How much could it help me save? 

No good deed should go unrewarded, but your reward for installing a solar system can vary. It comes down to personal circumstances really, including how much you spent on getting solar installed and the number and value of STCs you generate. 

You aren’t completely in the dark though. The Clean Energy Regulator has a calculator you can use to figure out your STCS for a small generation unit, like a solar system. Then it’s just a matter of estimating the value of your STCs. When sold by agents, they tend to go for $33–$38,2Clean Energy Regulator – Rooftop solar while the set price for selling them yourself through an STC clearing house is set at $40 excluding GST.3Clean Energy Regulator – Buy and sell small-scale technology certificates 

This little bit of maths should tell you if you could be getting back hundreds or thousands. 

Shannon installed a 7.5KW solar system at her Melbourne home on May 6th, 2024. Based on its generation up to the end of the scheme in 2030, she gets 62 STCs. She sells them through an agent who gets her $35.50 for each STC, so she gets $2,201 back.

Sources: Clean Energy Regulator – Small generation unit STC calculator 

Is it still worth getting solar? 

It’s unlikely that your STCs will fully pay off your solar system. So, you may need to press pause on getting solar until you’ve considered it all a little more closely. 

The general rule of thumb is to pick a system that pays for itself within about five to 10 years by reducing your need to purchase electricity from the grid plus selling excess electricity at a set feed-in tariff (FiT). How much this ends up being can depend on lots of factors and how you balance them. For instance, you might be able to fit a larger system on your roof but if you aren’t using all that much electricity during the day, you might be better off getting something smaller to maximise your self-consumption rather than relying on FiTs.  

Helpful Tip:

FiTs can be a nice bonus on top of your other solar savings however the real savings and pay back come to fruition when you utilise the maximum amount of solar energy you generate. Try putting washing machines and dishwashers on during the day. Using your own solar-generated electricity will help you cut down electricity bills, even if electricity prices go up, and reduce your peak demand if you’re dealing with a demand charge tariff.

Dean Ipaviz

Sustainability Expert and Presenter

To put it in perspective, a 2kW system can cost anywhere from $2,800 to $5,600 while a 10kW one could be more in the range of $7,600 to $14,100.4Clean Energy Council – Costs and Savings Of course, the market is always changing too. You might find you get a closer-to-real-life estimate for your own unique situation using the SunSPOT solar system calculator.  

What could your solar savings be with self-consumption?

Start by assuming you’ll use 40% of your daily average of kilowatt hours generated.5MASH – How much can I save with solar panels? 

40% of 16kWh = 6.4kWh

Multiply this number at the rate you’d be otherwise purchasing electricity for.

16kWh x 22.5¢= $3.60

Expand this out to a whole year of savings! 

$3.60 x 365 = $1,314 

On average, a typical household could save $750 a year by getting solar.6Solar Victoria – FAQs: Solar panel (PV) rebate  Over 10 years, that’s $7,500 which could only be half of a top-of-the-range system. Things might be looking a little better if you sold some STCs after the install, but it could still not be enough. 

This is where you might need to start thinking about solar system lifespans too. Each component of your system has a different average useful life, a little like how you need to replace your car’s tyres more frequently than the engine. While the panels may last up to 30 years, the inverter or battery might call it quits after only 10.7Energy.gov.au – Replace and recycle your solar system  So, if you’re planning on paying off your system in more than 10 years, you might find it’s a case of one step forward, two steps back.  

If this has all left you scratching your head and throwing solar into the too-hard basket, don’t worry. You can speak with different solar system retailers and installers to not only get a variety of quotes but also estimates as to how long your system could take to pay itself off. 

How can I get the most from my solar system? 

No, we’re not talking about whether a home on Mars or Jupiter is a better choice (only one of those has a solid surface, by the way). There are some simple steps you can take to optimise your solar system and its electricity generation. 

  • Understand your electricity usage habits: Before you even start looking at systems, get to grips with how you use electricity. If you’re using most of your electricity at night when a solar system wouldn’t help, it may not be the right move for you.
  • Change your habits: Having said that, an old dog can learn new tricks. You might be able to set certain major appliances to run during the day, like your washing machine, to become more of a daytime electricity user.
  • Keep things from getting too shady: Solar systems need to get plenty of sunlight to work, so pick a spot that isn’t blocked and keep it that way by trimming trees back.
  • Maintain and service your system regularly: Aim to have someone out annually to maintain your solar system, like checking the wiring and cleaning the panels. Servicing should happen every second year with a professional testing and inspecting the system.
  • Monitor your system’s output: While no two days are going to have the exact same output, thanks to the weather, if you start to see your generated electricity shrink, it could be an early warning sign that something isn’t working as it should.
  • Track your savings: Your solar system is an investment, so set aside some time to see if you’re saving as much as you’d predicted. If not, you might be able to change some more habits.
  • Compare Electricity Plans: If you can’t find any more corners to cut or habits to switch up, it may be worthwhile looking at swapping Electricity Plans. You could find something that complements your new system, like higher FiTs or cheaper daytime rates for those days when there just isn’t enough sunshine. 

Where can I find and compare Electricity Plans? 

If a solar system is in your near future or already installed, comparing Electricity Plans could help you find a plan that offers you better value. With iSelect, you can see how a range of different Electricity Plans from various providers measure up. Compare electricity plans online or call our Energy comparison experts on 13 19 20, you could find and sign up to your new favourite plan in a matter of minutes.

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