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Solar Panel Rebate: How It Works & How To Get It

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Solar panel rebate: How it works & How To Get It!

What is a solar panel rebate?

A solar panel rebate is an upfront saving off the cost of your solar system in the form of an incentive to buy solar panels.

It’s usually provided by the government to promote clean energy. Solar ‘rebates’ are not usually called rebates, but instead seen more as a subsidy or financial incentive.

There are many different types of solar rebates for different solar products.

Here in Australia we have rebates for solar panels, solar batteries and solar hot water systems. For each different renewable solar product there are different rebates.

Some rebates may offer a discount on the upfront cost of the product, whereas others offer money-back rewards or incentives to use and sell energy. 

Table of Contents

government rebates for solar panels

Who provides the solar panel rebate?

The solar rebates are provided by the government as an incentive for homeowners to move to solar energy.

Each rebate is slightly different from state to state and is provided by the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) in Australia.

The Clean Energy Regulator provides two schemes:

Large scale renewable energy targets which encourages investment in renewable power stations.

Small scale renewable energy scheme which supports small scale installations like solar panels and solar hot water systems.

These ‘rebates’ are offered in the form of a certificate given by the REC (Renewable Energy Certificate). They do require you to be a member to claim these incentives.

where to get the solar panel rebate

How can you claim the solar panel rebate?

There are 2 different ways that you can claim the solar panel rebate in Australia. We will run through them all now. 

1. Claim it through your chosen solar installers/company. This will be the easiest way for most people.

Some solar companies will already include the discounted solar rebate on your quote so you pay less upfront. They will then claim the rebate themselves. 

2. You can claim the solar rebate through the REC website by registering and filling out the online application.

Homeowners will then be given a STCs certificate which can be sold. The STC certificate can be sold through the open market with prices subject to change or through the STC clearing house at a fixed price.

The only 2 ways of claiming the solar panel rebate are through your solar installer or online with the REC. 

Are you eligible to claim the solar panel rebate?

Eligibility for claiming the solar rebate changes state by state. We will go into much more detail for each rebate that is provided by each state further down the page. 

Overall, in Australia to qualify for a solar rebate you will need to match the following;
  • Own a small-scale renewable energy system such a solar panel system or solar hot water system
  • Be a resident of Australia and live in a climate region postcode found HERE

Small-Scale Renewable Energy System

small scale renewable energy system for solar panel rebate

What are the different types of ‘rebates’?

Solar Panel Rebate

The solar panel rebate is a financial incentive for homeowners to buy solar panels.

It’s given as a ‘discount’ on the upfront cost of the solar system and installation.

This discount is in the form of STCs (Small scale Technology Certificates) which can be claimed by the solar retailer or homeowner.

You can claim the solar panel rebate on any solar PV system, such as SolarEdge or Enphase solar panel systems. 

Solar Hot Water Rebate

Solar hot water rebate is another form of financial incentive for homeowners when they purchase solar hot water systems.

Again this is in the form of a STC’s certificates which can be claimed by the solar installers/company or the homeowner. 

You can claim this solar rebate with any thermal solar system. 

Solar Battery Storage Rebate

Rebates for solar batteries are either a grant or subsidy given by the government to help pay the upfront cost of the solar battery.

Solar installers/companies will be the easiest way to claim the rebate. Homeowners can also apply online at the relevant state rebate website.

You can claim this solar rebate with the purchase of any solar battery, like Tesla’s Powerwall 2. However, you will have to choose between the solar panel rebate or solar battery rebate. 

solar rebates for solar panels, solar hot water and solar batteries

Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STC's)

Small Scale Technology Certificates are the most popular financial incentive given by the government.

STC’s are certificates given to homeowners when they install a small renewable energy system at their home.

It’s easy to look at STC’s like shares in your solar system which you can sell for money. Essentially they are environmental credits given by the government as rewards or incentives for buying solar.

Are you eligible for any STCs?

You will need to be eligible for an STCs by meeting the following requirements;

  • Own a solar system less than 100KW
  • Installed by a CEC accredited installer   
  • All components of the system must be new

How can you claim your STCs?

You can claim your STCs by;

  • Accepting an upfront discount on your solar system through your chosen solar company and let them keep the STC
  • Create your own STCs by being a member of the REC and fill out the application form online (You will need to prove you own your system)

How are STC’s calculated? 

Small-Scale Technology Certificates are calculated based on the amount of energy the solar system produces over its life-time.

This correlates to the size of your system as well, the bigger your system the more STC’s. Another factor that is used to calculate STC’s are locations and when the system was installed.

Solar panel systems have allocated STCs of up to 15 years whereas solar hot water is only 10 years. 

Small-Scale Technology Certificate Zones Australia

Small scale technology certificate solar panel rebate zones

Solar Feed-In Tariffs (Not a Rebate But a Bonus!)

Feed in Tariffs are not a solar rebate, but part of a solar bonus scheme to reward homeowners for selling any excess solar power back to the grid.

The FITs is a rate that is paid for any electricity produced by solar panels and is fed back into the electricity grid.

Here are the current Feed-In Tariff rates for Australia 2020:

solar feed in tariffs rates

Interest-Free loan

Whenever there is a government solar ‘rebate’ usually there is also an interest free loan on offer as well.

It’s safe to say that solar panel rebates and no-interest loans come hand in hand. Almost every state is offering an interest free loan to go with the solar rebate.

This really helps first time buyers over-come to high upfront cost of solar panels. How much the loan is depends on which state you are living in.

We will go into much more details for each state below. 

Solar Rebates Victoria

Solar Panel Rebate Victoria

The Solar homes program in Victoria is offering a solar panel rebate of up to $1850* off the cost of the solar system and installation.

This is done through your chosen solar installer who will claim the rebate on your behalf. Any installation will need to be done by CEC accredited and approved installers.

Once your quote has been uploaded to the Solar Victoria Portal you will need to send proof of your eligibility to it finalised. Your solar installer will then deduct the cost off your quote.

STCs are also given in Victoria based on the location and size of the system. Below are the current rates:

STC Rates In Victoria

STC rates for solar panel rebate victoria

Are you eligible?

To be able to claim the solar panel rebate in Victoria, you must first qualify. We have attached the latest requirements so you can check if you are eligible below:

  • Be the owner/occupier of your home
  • Have a combined household taxable income of less than $180,000 per year. 
  • Existing property valued under 3 million 
  • Do not already have a solar system installed

Solar battery rebate Victoria

The solar homes program also supports homeowners buying solar batteries. They are giving a ‘point of sale’ discount of up to $4,174 off the upfront cost of a solar battery.

Again, this solar battery rebate will be claimed by the solar installer on your behalf and deducted from the quote. 

However, this rebate is quite tough to end up getting as the requirements are very strict. You can only claim the solar battery rebate if you are living in the listed post codes. 

You will also need to meet the following criteria;

To be eligible for the solar battery rebate in Victoria you will need:

  • To get pre-approval from your Distributed Network Service Provider (DNSP) that it’s safe to connect a battery 
  • Property does not already have an existing solar battery system
  • You are the owner/occupier of the property
  • Combined household income after tax is less than $180,000 
  • Existing property valued under $3 million 
  • Owners will have to agree to a free safety inspection if selected

No interest Loan Victoria

Within the solar homes program the government is offering an interest free loan to help make solar even more affordable.

This loan is for $1850 and is expected to be paid off over a 4 year period. It comes with no extra fees and can be paid monthly. 

interest free loan Victoria

Solar Rebates Queensland

Solar Panel Rebate Queensland

The solar rebate in Queensland works through small-scale technology certificates. Rates for STCs are around $30-$40 per certificate. 

STCs are available in Queensland and are given when homeowners install a small scale renewable energy system at their home.

This also applied to businesses, as long as the system is under 100KW. You can claim your STC through your nominated solar company or by applying online. 

Interest Free Loan Queensland

Government bodies in Queensland are offering interest-free loans as the solar rebate. Homeowners can apply for a loan of $4500 to help purchase their solar system.

This loan is expected to be paid within 7 years and can be paid monthly.

Are you eligible?

To claim this loan you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must live in QLD and use the loan for only solar supply and installation 
  • Applicants must be the owner of the premises 
  • Must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident 
  • Be able to prove you can repay the loan 
  • Homeowners must have incurred an electricity fee of; $1000 within 6 months or $2000 within 12 months

Grants and loans for solar battery systems

The Queensland government also provides loans for solar battery systems.

You can choose from a grant of up to $3000 or interest free loan of $6000. The interest free loan is required to be paid back within 10 years.

This can also be applied to small businesses who can apply for just the grant. Homeowners can apply for both the grant and the loan, or just the grant. 

Are you eligible?

If you want to get the solar battery grant & loan you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • The system must be installed by an eligible installer and supplier 
  • Homeowners can only put 2 applicants that live at the place of installation 
  • You must live here as well 
  • Must be a citizen or permanent resident of Australia 
  • Applicants must prove they can pay off the loan
For Business Only:
  • Prove you own and operate a small business
  • Must own the business premises

You will not be eligible if:

  • The system is installed before the application is received 
  • You have already claimed a rebate (solar loan)
  • Are receiving  Queensland Solar Bonus Scheme 44c feed-in tariff 
  • Your system is financed via a lease or solar power purchase agreement

Solar loans and grants for combined solar panels and battery systems

This solar rebate is really good because it combines both a discount for solar panels and solar batteries, as well as the interest-free loan.

For homeowners who are looking into an all-in-one system then this would be the best fit. If approved, homeowners can claim $3000 as a grant and $10,000 for the loan.

The loan is expected to be paid within a 10 year period. Like before, this ‘rebate’ applies to homeowners and small businesses. Homeowners can apply for the loan and the grant, or just the grant whereas small businesses can only apply for the grant. 

Are you eligible?

To apply for this financial incentive you must meet the following criteria;

  • The solar panel and battery system must be installed by an eligible solar installer & supplier 
  • You must live at the place of the installation 
  • Be the owner of your premises 
  • One or more applicants must be an Australia citizen or permanent resident 
  • Show that you are able to pay off the loan
For Small Businesses (grant only)
  • Prove that you own and operate a small business
  • Must own the business premises

You will not be eligible if:

  • The system is installed before the application is received 
  • You have already claimed the solar loan or battery grant/loan 
  • If there is an existing solar system already installed at your home 
  • The system is financed via a lease of solar power purchase agreement
solar panel and solar battery rebate

Solar Rebates South Australia (SA)

Solar Panel Rebate South Australia

Like the other states, South Australia has some really good incentives for buying solar. The government also offers STC’s when you purchase a small scale renewable energy system for your home or business.

Homeowners can claim STCs through your chosen solar installer/company or by submitting an online application. The rates are around $30-$40 per certificate. 

South Australia offers similar rebates to Queensland. This is because they are both in the same STC zone. Having all round good weather means you need less incentives to get solar. 

Solar battery rebate SA

South Australia is also offering a solar battery rebate. It has recently been updated as of  April 2020 and reduced down to a subsidy of $3000.

Homeowners are able to claim this more than once if you own several homes. If you do decide to claim the solar battery rebate with an existing solar system, you will also lose your Feed-in Tariff rate of 44c per KWh.

You can claim this solar battery rebate through your solar installer. They will provide you with a link once you are happy with the quote.

Homeowners can then follow the link and apply for the subsidy. If you are looking for a finance system, you can apply for this at the same time.

Once approved, the money will be deducted from the amount quoted by your system provider and they will get paid the subsidy. The subsidy is expected to decrease over time.

Are you eligible?

The solar battery rebate has been designed so that anyone is able to claim the subsidy. The government mentions that SA energy concession holders will be able to access a higher subsidy which further helps low-income homeowners.

(Any installation of your solar battery system will need to be carried out by an approved system provider who is qualified)

Solar Panel & Battery Rebate South Australia

south australia solar panel and battery rebate

Commercial Solar Rebates

Commercial businesses can also be rewarded when they install commercial solar at their business premises.

STC’s are rewarded to small businesses who have installed a solar system under 100KW. LGC’s (Large scale generation certificates) are rewarded for systems that are more than 100KW

COVID 19 Stimulus package

1.  Increase in the instant asset write off from $30,000 to $150,000
  • Effective until June 30, 2020 (Now Finished)
  • Equivalent to $45,000 in tax credit on a $150,000 solar PV system.
  • For businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million
2.  An acceleration in depreciation deductions 
  • Deduct an additional 50 per cent of the asset cost within the year of purchase
  • Available now through to June 30, 2021
  • For businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million
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Written By:

Luke Cove
Managing Director
Lightning Solar & Electrical

local brisbane cec installer

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