What solar rebates are available in Australia?

With our long summers, sunny weather and vast tracts of open land, Australia is one of the best places to install a solar energy system for your home or business.

Solar (PV) systems provide limitless free energy from the sun’s radiation and are undoubtedly the best small-scale renewable energy source for Aussie households. Unfortunately, solar systems are expensive to buy and install, which is where the Australian Government’s rebates come into play.

Skip ahead to see what solar rebates are available in your state:

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What is a solar rebate?

Solar rebates are a financial initiative set up by the government to reward solar customers for generating their own energy. Solar rebates were originally set up as an incentive to encourage households and businesses to purchase solar panels, as the large up-front costs can be discouraging to bill-payers. These rebates assist in paying off these systems quicker, making them more desirable for everyday Aussies to install, which in turn helps solar expansion across the energy grid in Australia.

While rebates have since been reduced in size and variety, there are still a few incentives available for households and businesses looking to install solar.

Government Solar Rebate Initiatives

There are currently two national government solar rebate initiatives available in Australia; the small-scale renewable energy scheme and solar feed-in tariffs.

Small-scale renewable energy scheme

The biggest and most obvious monetary incentive the Government provides is the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme. It’s essentially a discount for households which install a renewable energy system, or a sustainably-powered hot water system.

Once your system is installed and approved, you can receive small-scale energy certificates (STCs) calculated on the expected output of your system for its life up to 15 years. Electricity retailers must purchase an annual quota of these certificates by law, meaning solar customers may sell them for cash on an open marking.

Alternatively if you like, the STCs can be placed with the STC clearing house where you will receive a flat return of $40 per certificate. If you don’t feel like doing this yourself, some solar installers will sell your certificates on your behalf in exchange for a portion of the sale value.

Feed-in tariffs

The second major incentive is the Government’s ‘feed-in’ tariffs. This is a small rebate of a few cents for each kilowatt hour (kWh) of unused electricity generated by your solar system that is exported into the electricity grid. Some states have mandated feed-in tariff rates, but retailers are usually free to set their own rate so long as it’s above any set minimums. As feed in tariffs are a matter of state policy, rates will therefore differ depending on where you live. For a full list of solar feed-in tariffs in Australia, visit our best solar tariff page, or check out our state based pages below.

State-by-State Solar Rebates

There are further rebates for sustainable electricity use that aren’t limited to solar. Different states offer incentives for things such as energy-efficient appliances, running your pool filter at off-peak times, efficient air conditioning systems and many more – all can be found on the Government’s energy savings website. Keep in mind that rebates aren’t restricted to solar panels – you can also get a rebate on small-scale wind turbines, solar and heat-pump hot water, or even hydro power systems.

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NSW Solar Rebates

Despite New South Wales original Solar Bonus Scheme ending in December 2016, the state still offers some financial incentives to households who contribute to renewable energy generation, in addition to competitive feed-in tariffs. The current rebates available in NSW are the Empowering Homes: Solar Battery Loan Program and Solar for Low-Income Households Trial.

The Empowering Homes Program

This program provides an interest-free loan to select NSW residents to assist them in either installing a new solar battery system or adding a battery to an existing solar panel system. For a new system, households can receive up to $14,000, with up to $9,000 available to upgrade an old system. Unlike the original bonus which allowed interest-free loans on solar panels, to be eligible for this program, residents must add a solar battery to the system. Households also need to have annual household incomes of less than $180,000 to be eligible. This program is only available in select suburbs of NSW.

Solar for Low-Income Households

This program provides low-income households in select NSW suburbs with a free 3kWh solar energy system. If you’re a resident on the low-income household rebate in the Central Coast, North Coast, South Sydney, Shoalhaven Illawarra or the South Coast, you may just be eligible for a free solar system from the NSW government. Keep in mind however, residents must own their home and be comfortable enough to forgo their low-income household rebate for 10 years in exchange for the system.

For a full list of terms and conditions on both of these programs, its best to check the NSW energy saver website.

VIC Solar Rebates

Victoria also has a selection of solar rebates available to households, the most notable ones being the Solar PV Panel Rebate, Solar Battery Rebate and Solar Hot Water Rebate. Feed-in tariffs in Victoria are also regulated by the government, with providers required to offer a minimum tariff of 10.2c/kWh.

Solar PV Panel Rebate

This program offers an interest-free loans for four years or a rebate of $1,850 on the installation of solar PV panels for homeowners and rental properties. To be eligible, VIC residents must own their home, not have an existing solar system and have an annual household income of less than $180,000. The rebate amount of $1,850 is only available until 30 June 2021, after this date the amount is subject to change.

Solar Battery Rebate

Solar battery diagram

The government also offers a rebate of $4,174 on the installation of a solar battery for homeowners and rental properties. To be eligible, VIC residents must own their home, have an existing solar system of at least 5kWh, have an annual household income of less than $180,000 and not have received a rebate or loan as part of the Solar PV Panel rebate. The rebate amount of $4,174 is only available until 30 June 2021, after this date the amount is subject to change.

Solar Hot Water Rebate

There is also a rebate of $1,000 available to Victoria residents who wish to install a solar hot water system on their property. To be eligible, residents must own their home, have a combine household income no greater than $180,000, not have a received a rebate as part of the PV panel or solar battery scheme, have a hot water system that is at least three years old and occupy an existing infrastructure (not newly built) under the value of $3 million.

To check your eligibility for any of these rebates, please visit the Solar Vic government website.

QLD Solar Rebates

Unfortunately, in Queensland, if you installed solar after the solar boom of 2008-2012, then isn’t really any current solar rebates outside the STC’s and feed-in tariffs to help you out. That being said, there is a wide variety of solar feed-in tariffs available in QLD, making it quite a competitive market for the solar owner.

SA Solar Rebates

South Australia currently has one solar rebate running alongside its high feed-in tariffs offered. The Home Battery Scheme in SA provides households a subsidy or loan of up to $3,000 for the installation of a solar battery on their property. While this subsidy is currently eligible to most SA residents, it is targeted at low-income households, with the highest subsidy amounts being awarded to those who are an energy concession holder. For more information visit the SA government website.

WA Solar Rebates

Like QLD, Western Australia also has no current solar rebates outside those offered nationally. As WA still runs with regulated electricity prices as well, there isn’t really a competitive market for solar feed-in tariffs for the state either. The feed-in tariff in WA is usually around 7c/kWh though there is a slight price variation in regional areas.

TAS Solar Rebates

Tasmania is another state with limited solar rebates in Australia. But, with a decent feed-in tariff of 8.47c/kWh offered from most retailers and the national STC program, solar lovers down south can still make a small return off their solar investment, without the assistance of rebates.

NT Solar Rebates

Similar to other states, the Northern Territory also runs a solar battery install rebate program. The Home and Business Battery Scheme provides home and business owners in the NT with $6,000 for the purchase and installation of a solar battery to either a new or existing solar panel system. To be eligible for this rebate, you must be a home or business owner in the NT. If you happen to own both a home and business, you can apply for this rebate to both of your properties. Keep in mind, this is a solar battery rebate though, and the concession cannot be used to purchase a solar panel system alone. For full terms and conditions visit the government’s energy savings website.

ACT Solar Rebates

In line with its sister state, NSW, the Australian Capital Territory also offers two solar rebate systems to its residents; the solar for low-income households and the solar battery storage discount.

Solar for Low Income Households

Solar panels on rooftop

This program offers low-income households in the ACT a rebate of up to $2,500 for the supply and installation of a rooftop solar system, with an additional interest-free loan for 3 years provided by ActewAGL to help pay off the remaining costs. To be eligible for this program you must own and occupy a home in the ACT, hold an Australian Government Pensioner Concession Card and not already have a solar rooftop system installed.

Solar Battery Storage Discount

Under this program, households in the ACT can receive a rebate of $825/kWh solar battery power installed on their property, on systems no larger than 30kWh. This would mean that for an average 5kWh system, homeowners will be provided with financial support of around $4,000. As always, you must be a resident of the ACT and not have a system already connected to this program. This rebate applies to new or existing systems with the capacity to add a solar battery.

For more information on either of these rebates, visit the energy.gov website.

How do I sign-up to a solar rebate?

To access a state-specific solar rebate, you’ll generally need to apply through a government website. As for STC’s however, they are usually discussed before installation with your installer in order to figure out the final cost. Feed-in tariffs are generally applied once connected to the grid, but you can access a higher tariff by comparing plans from different electricity providers. Keep in mind though, while some electricity plans have higher feed-in tariffs than others, it could come along with higher usage costs for general electricity too so be sure to always read the fine print.

Solar Plans in Australia

Here are some solar specific energy plans currently available in Australia. To find your state’s plans, click on the correct tab at the top of the table.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4600kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on SA Power network in Adelaide but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Image credit: Golden Sikorka/Shutterstock.com, Ricardo Ninin/Shutterstock.com

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