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CONSIDER SOLAR IF YOU HAVE A HIGH-POWER BILL, LIVE IN A PRIME LOCATION AND QUALIFY FOR REBATES AND OTHER PROGRAMS

The rising cost of electricity traditional sources, paired with the declining cost of solar panels and systems over the last several years along with the government rebates available, makes solar installation seem like a no-brainer for many homeowners.

But the true cost of solar panels, and whether they’ll help you save money, depends on a few key factors. Before you make the leap, learn how your electric bill, location and incentives can impact your wallet over time.

REVIEW YOUR POWER BILL

Solar panels generate their own power and can therefore greatly, if not entirely, offset your monthly electricity bill. The higher your bill, the more likely you’ll benefit from switching. But you should note that electricity rates and usage — the main charges on your statement — are volatile.

If a power retailer’s electricity prices fluctuate, so could the amount of savings, Similarly, if energy consumption changes, the amount of savings can also vary.

Irrespective of how much your power bill is, you can save that by using your own power. Use our solar calculator to see what size system you would need to suit your situation

EVALUATE SOLAR EXPOSURE

More sun means more energy produced and a greater potential to save with solar. Certain states, like WA and QLD, average more sunlight hours per day.

Your home’s orientation toward the sun, the amount of shade and its roof type also affect a solar system’s output. You can estimate the efficiency of panels  and potential savings in your area by using the Solar Calculator.

Irrespective of where you’re situated in Australia, solar panels will help you reduce your power bills considerably as you would not only be using your own free power but will also be selling the excess power to your power company resulting in extra credits (feed-in-tariff) for you.

LOW PRICES

Many still believe that the cost of getting solar panels is a major capital expense. This was true until a few years ago when the average price of a 5 kWh system in Australia was around $8,000 – $12,000. Such prices are stories of the past.

Depending on brands and makes, the average price of similar systems now is around $3,000 – $5,000. In some states there are government rebates and help programs which can further reduce this price.

The average payback period on such prices is around 1.5 to 3.0 years. That is probably one of the best investment one can make today.

SOLAR REBATES

There are different solar rebate programs currently in operation in Australia. The Federal government subsidises your system first which on an average reduces your capital cost by approx. 30% (depending on the price of the system).

In certain states, the government provides further rebates to consumers going for solar. E.g. in Victoria, there is another rebate to the extent of 50% of the system cost available. To make it even more interesting, the Victorian government has committed to funding the remaining 50% of the system cost by an interest-free loan for 4 years.

Most states have some programs in operation. Check to see which rebates are available in your state.

INCENTIVES MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR EVER AND IT MAY NOT ACTUALLY PAY TO WAIT FOR TOO LONG

Incentives may go away but the genuine benefits embedded in solar panels for you will be there and will only get better with the improvement and advancement in technology.

Speak to our consultants for more information

FEDERAL GOVRNMENT SUBSIDY

The Federal Government subsidy scheme, officially known as the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), entitles individuals and small businesses large rebates when installing eligible small-scale renewable energy systems (under 100kW) such as solar PV systems. The size of the system determines the number of small-scale technology certificates (STCs) it’ll receive. STC’s have a dollar value which can fluctuate depending on solar system demand, changes in Government and many other factors. The amount of STC’s you receive for your solar system and the worth of STC’s at the time will determine the subsidy for your system. The value of the STC fluctuates based on market demand. The number of certificates a system qualifies for decreases every year until 2030 when this rebate is planned to be finished. Another important fact about the STC’s is that Australia is divided in different zones and each zone depending on its placement will attract different number of certificates. It would be fair to say that since the number of STC’s in QLD are higher than VIC, the value of this rebate would be slightly higher in QLD as compared to VIC. A 5kW solar pv system will usually attract 82 certificates in QLD as compared to 71 certificates in VIC. With an average current market value of $36 / certificate the system can be expected to attract a STC rebate of $2,952 in QLD and $2,556 in VIC. In the last couple of years the STC market prices have been as high as approximately $38 / certificate and as low as $26 / certificate. Most solar retailers discount their system prices by the amount of the rebate applicable on the date of purchase of the solar system. Systems over 100kW (commercial size) are not eligible for the SRES however they may be eligible for the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET)

QUEENSLAND

Along with the Federal Government Subsidy, a scheme “Affordable Energy Plan” is available for residents in Queensland. The State initiative offers the residents to choose one of the three options (subject to conditions and qualification criteria):

Interest free loan of up to $4,500 to be repaid within 7 years;

Interest free loans and grants for battery storage. Grants up to $3,000 or interest-free loan up to $6,000 to be repaid within 10 years; or

Interest free loans and grants for combined solar and battery systems. Households can apply for a loan up to $10,000 and/or a grant up to $3,000. Small businesses can apply for the $3,000 grant only.

In certain parts of Queensland, the QLD government has recently released the new trail of 1,000 rebates of up to $3,500 for eligible landlords to install a solar system with solar monitoring technology. There are terms and conditions and eligibility criteria attached to this rebate.


Further details of the program and eligibility are available on  https://qld.gov.au/

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Along with the Federal Government Subsidy, South Australian residents have access to the Home Battery Scheme and Virtual Power Plant.

Under the Home Battery Scheme, SA residents can access subsidies to help pay for the installation of home battery systems as an additional component to the current or new solar PV system. The subsidy is available to all South Australians who own or occupy a home in South Australia and will be calculated on the kilowatt-hour capacity of the battery purchased. Energy Concession Holders are eligible for a higher subsidy, ensuring low-income households are supported to access the scheme. The subsidy is taken off the cost of the home battery system and given to the System Provider once the system is installed.

Energy concession holder: $600 per kWh

All other households: $500 per kWh

The Virtual Power Plant initiative is open for South Australians to register their interest. A virtual power plant is created by a network of home solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery systems all working together to generate, store and feed energy back into the grid. Energy from the home solar PV and battery systems installed will provide electricity for your house.
Subject to the trials’ success and funding the full program could be rolled out to 24,000 more public housing properties and 25,000 private properties from mid-2019.

Further details of the program are available on  https://homebatteryscheme.sa.gov.au/

VICTORIA

Along with the Federal Government Subsidy, Victorian residents have access to Solar Victoria Homes Package. The residents can choose one from the rebates offered under the package.

The Solar Panel Rebate entitles Victoria households to receive 50 percent rebate (of up to $2,225) when solar PV system installation. This is on top of the Federal Government Rebate (STC) that was already in place. Being able to claim both subsidies will mean that you can save approximately two-thirds of the overall costs of a solar system. To be eligible to claim the rebate, Solar Victoria has laid down the following criteria:

The combined household income of the family to be less than $180,000 per annum before tax;

The household does not already have a solar panels system installed on the property; and

The person claiming the rebate to be the owner-occupier of the property that is valued at under $3,000,000

To be able to claim the rebate, a person intending to install solar panels and claiming a rebate under this package, will need to get an eligibility confirmation from Solar Victoria before signing a contract with a solar provider. Once the eligibility is confirmed by Solar Victoria then only the solar system can be installed for the rebate to be claimable. Only solar retailers who have signed the CEC’s (Clean Energy Council’s) code of conduct will be able to participate in this program. As such, it is a very important consideration for you to ensure that the solar company you are considering for your installation is a CEC approved retailer.

Solar Hot Water Rebate are available for up to $1,000 for solar hot water systems, a good option for households who cannot install a solar PV system. The solar hot water rebate applies to installations that replace an existing hot water system that was at least three years old and is not available to new build homes.
Following eligibility criteria is applicable to this rebate:

The household has a combined income of less than $180,000 per annum before tax

The household does not already have a solar panel system installed

You are a home owner-occupier of a home that is valued at under $3,000,000

Are you replacing an existing hot water system OR an existing solar hot water system that is at least three years old?

Confirm that you haven’t applied for or received a rebate for solar PV under the Solar Homes Package?

Interest-free loans. As part of the Solar Homes program a loan scheme will commence for solar PV systems for owner-occupiers from July 2019. This will allow Victoria residents to access the benefits of renewable energy at no up-front cost. Eligible households will be able to install solar panels on their home, saving households hundreds of dollars a year on their energy bills. Households will be required to pay back the amount of the loan over four years, which will assist Victoria residents with budgeting for their cost of living. Households who choose to access the solar PV rebate before the loans scheme opens in July 2019 will not be able to apply for the interest-free loan.

Solar for renters. Under the program, renters will make a 25 per cent contribution toward the cost of installation through a small levy on rent spread over four years, with the government and the landlord to cover the rest. For example, for a $4,000 solar panel system, the government will cover half ($2000), the landlord will invest $1,000 over time, and the renters will pay a small monthly levy over four years that will total the remaining $1000.

Owners corporations will also be eligible. In order to receive the 50 per cent rebate and no-interest loan, they will need to demonstrate that the benefits of installing solar panels will be passed on to tenants.

Solar batteries rebate. From 1 July 2019, the Solar Homes program will introduce rebates for up to half the value of the installation of a battery storage unit for 10,000 households that already have solar panels installed. Eligible homeowners will be able to save up to $4,838 on this installation. This will save households with an average 11kWh battery around $650 a year on their electricity bills, in addition to savings they are already making with solar panels. This will also pave the way for future microgrids, allowing households in a local area to share their stored power to lower electricity prices even further.
Victorians with a household income of up to $180,000 who live in their own home valued at up to $3 million are eligible for these rebates.

Homeowners will only be eligible for one rebate across the Solar Homes program.
Further details of the package are available on  https://solar.vic.gov.au/

NEW SOUTH WALES

New South Wales residents currently have access to the Federal Government SRES subsidy.

The Solar for Low Income Households Trial provides an opportunity for low-income households in NSW to reduce their electricity bill through rooftop solar. Up to 3,400 households who receive the Low Income Household Rebate can choose to forgo their rebate and receive a free 2.5 kW solar system. This program will allow households to generate and use solar electricity in their home, with the potential to save more than $600 each year on electricity bills. This is more than double what they would receive from the rebate, meaning they would be around $300 better off each year.

The Trial will be rolled out in five regions, selected to maximise the benefit of solar for local households. The regions are: Central Coast, North Coast, Sydney – South, Illawarra – Shoalhaven and South Coast.
Further details of the Trial are available on  https://energy.nsw.gov.au/

TASMANIA

Tasmanian Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme (TEELS) Under the scheme, Westpac offers Tasmanian residents and small businesses the opportunity to apply for a Westpac Credit Card with zero interest for 36 months for the eligible energy efficient products up to a value of $10,000. Customers will need to:

Submit a TEELS request via the websiteand wait for Westpac to invite them to an appointment to discuss application.

Customer will need to have sourced a quote to take to the appointment with Westpac.

Once the credit card is approved by Westpac, the customer can purchase and will need to provide Westpac with proof of purchase.

Energy efficient appliances can include heat pumps, double-glazed windows, solar panels and solar hot water systems. This has been extended and will now run until 30 April 2019, or until the additional $20 million finance pool is exhausted.
Further details of the program are available on  https://www.auroraenergy.com.au

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Western Australia residents currently only have access to the Federal Government’s SRES subsidy

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Northern Territory residents currently only have access to the Federal Government’s SRES subsidy

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRIOTORY

There are currently a number of programs under the Efficient Energy Improvements Schemes to facilitate uptake of solar and battery storage.

The ACT currently has a battery storage rebate program in collaboration with a number of select home battery suppliers.
There is also a solar program for low-income households.

Low Income Solar Rebate: Eligible participants for the low-income households solar program are able to access a subsidy of up to 60% (capped at $3000) of the total cost of a solar system. There is a 3-year interest-free loan to cover the balance. There are a number of eligibility requirements including, but not limited to holding an Australian Government Pensioner Concession Card; being a homeowner in the ACT and not already having rooftop solar PV installed.

Household Battery Storage: Under the Next Generation Energy Storage program, the ACT Government is supporting up to 5,000 battery storage systems in ACT homes and businesses. The value of the rebate is $825 per kilowatt (kW) up to a maximum of 30 kW. This equates to about $4000 benefit for a 5kW system. The program is delivered through eight battery storage providers, which were selected by the ACT Government after a competitive selection process. There are a number of eligibility requirements including, but not limited to holding an Australian Government Pensioner Concession Card; being a homeowner in the ACT and not already having rooftop solar PV installed.

Further details of the program are available on  https://www.actsmart.act.gov.au