Solar rebates have been on the tip of Australians’ tongues since the beginning of the rise of solar. However, perhaps the most surprising aspect of this topic is that in the eyes of the government, they don’t actually exist. Allow us to explain…
Even if you meticulously comb through government websites, you’re unlikely to find any mention of a solar rebate. Instead, you may stumble across vague terms such as ‘financial incentives’, but what you should be looking for is something called Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs). Our conventional vision of a rebate is cash being put in our metaphorical hand. In reality, however, in Western Australia (and the rest of Australia), solar rebates are the sale of STCs, handled by your solar provider and installer.
What are Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs)?
STCs are government financial incentives designed to boost the implementation of renewable energy in Australia. They’re part of the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme, which provides incentives for Aussies to incorporate solar, wind, hydro and other small-scale renewable energy into their homes or businesses.
If you’re putting a solar system or solar + battery solution into your home, your installer handles your STC rebates. So while it helps to be aware of how they impact your overall cost, you won’t have to do any of the legwork. The quote for your solar + battery solution includes your STCs deduction.
How are STCs calculated?
An STC is just a fluctuating value; you can track its current price here. What you’re really interested in is how many STCs you qualify for. Each property is individually assessed using a calculation of:
Solar system kW x zone rating x deeming period = number of STCs.
Let’s have a look at each of these components:
Solar system kW
All solar PV systems have a kW capability. For example, Plico’s PV kWs range from 6.6kW to 13.32kW – depending on how great your energy needs are.
Zone ratings are based on your geographical location, with postcodes determining which ‘zone’ you fall under. There are four zones, unimaginatively numbered 1 - 4. Zone 1 has the highest rating (1.622) and Zone 4 the lowest (1.185). These ratings are determined by the quantity of solar energy you can generate in a particular area (e.g. the sunniest areas get the highest ratings).
Have a look at which zone you fall under here.
The Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme has been created to be phased out by 2031. The ‘deeming period’ is the number of remaining years in the scheme. So, for example, in 2022, the deeming period is 9; 2023 will be 8, and so forth.
How does the solar ‘rebate’ affect Plico customers?
Plico incorporates STCs and the ‘rebate’ into our pricing. As previously mentioned, we install a variety of solar PV systems. Although STC prices fluctuate, our smaller systems usually have around $3000 in STC ‘rebates’ with our larger, 3-phase systems experiencing approximately $6000 in discounts.
However, Plico has a different payment model from other solar providers. We offer no big upfront costs and one low weekly price. So how does that work with STCs and rebates? Our members’ low weekly fee is this low in a small part to the ‘rebate’. While every property is different, in the eyes of the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme, they’re very similar (due to factors such as geographical and zoning locations and the amount of energy required). If you have further questions, however, give the switched on Plico team a call on 1300 175 426, and they can provide you with details specific to your situation.
Still wondering if solar batteries are a worthy investment? Have a read of this blog to find out if they are the right choice for you.