A Quick Guide to Australia’s Solar Credits Program

Because Australia is a place that receives lots of sunshine all throughout the year, harnessing the power of the sun for our daily power needs is indeed a viable option. As such, to encourage the people to use alternative sources of energy so they can enjoy bigger savings and help save the environment at the same time, the national government has launched a program rewarding those who will switch to solar power.

The Solar Credits program is part of Australia’s Renewable Energy Target, which seeks to deliver 20% of the country’s electricity supply from renewable sources by 2020. Under this program, every megawatt hour of renewable energy generated from renewable power sources enables a homeowner or business entity to receive renewable energy certificates (RECs) or small-scale technology certificates (STCs). So when you install a solar system in your home or office, not only can you benefit from the energy it produces, you can also be eligible to receive RECs/STCs, which represent 15 years of generating capacity.

As part of the Renewable Energy Target, electricity retailers and large energy users are mandated by the government to invest in renewable energy projects either directly or by purchasing RECs/STCs. If they are not able to fulfil their mandate, they will be penalised. But instead of paying a penalty, they can purchase RECs and STCs from homeowners with solar systems in their properties.

If you have a solar system in your home and you have been receiving RECs or STCs, you can sell them to electricity retailers for extra income. According to the Department of Industry, Science and Innovation, selling STCs through the STCs Clearing Houses costs $40 each, excluding GST. Aside from benefitting financially from your solar system, you can also help the government achieve its goal of supplying 20% of the country’s power using renewable energy in the next five years.

Important Facts and Info You Should Remember

To help boost your understanding of the Solar Credits program, here are some key facts and information about the program.

  • Technically, the Solar Credits program is not a rebate program. It is actually a subsidy program providing up-front discount on the purchase of a solar power system.
  • The program is open to almost everybody, including homeowners, small businesses, community groups, and even schools. It also covers off grid installations and remote solar power systems.
  • People living in caravans, boats, sheds, or RVs can also join the program as long as they have a valid address (such as a caravan park site or marina berth) and it is their principle place of residence.
  • To get the full solar credits value, you cannot install the solar panels on your own. According to the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator, only CEC-accredited installers can sign-off on Solar Credits.