The “solar rebate”, is it ending? How much is it worth and how do you claim it? SolarQuotes founder Finn Peacock provides an overview of Australia’s generous solar subsidy in 2020.
Video transcript begins:
Pretty much every month I get an email from someone that says something like this:
“Hi, I’ve been quoted this system by a pushy salesman and I’m not sure about going ahead. But they’ve told me that the rebate is ending soon and I need to hurry and sign now before I miss out.”
I’ll say this first – that salesman is full of crap. At this time there are no plans to end the rebate early. Show him the door.
A Solar Rebate That Isn’t – It’s A Subsidy
But now, let me explain what the solar rebates is and how it works. First, the solar rebate is not a cheque that you get in the mail. It’s a line item discount on your quote that reduces the final price you pay.
Technically, the Australian solar rebate is called the STC scheme. STC stands for Small-scale Technology Certificate. It’s a bit of a mouthful – you can see why people prefer to say STC or just call it the rebate.
The nitty-gritty of how STCs work is pretty boring. I’ve got a detailed article about that linked in the description below (added note: find it here). But to summarise, every kilowatt of solar installed in Australia generates STC certificates, which you sign over to your installer who trades them in for cash. The current value of STCs means that one kilowatt of solar on your roof attracts about $550 in rebates1, which the installer passes on to you as a point of sale discount. So for example, a five kilowatt system generates about $2,750 worth of STCs.
The STC scheme is designed to be phased out over a period of 15 years ending in 2030. So on January the 1st, the value of the rebate dropped by 8.3%. But, the good news is the falling cost of solar panels year-on-year means that the reduction in rebate value is balanced by the overall drop in solar panel prices.
As for eligibility, there are a few restrictions on who can be eligible for STCs, but in practice virtually everyone is eligible. So, be wary of anyone offering you a “free solar rebate eligibility analysis” to get their foot in the door.
So, the rebate is not ending anytime soon. Don’t feel pressured to get solar “before the rebate runs out”.
An Extra Solar Rebate In Victoria
Now, for Victorians, you actually have a second separate state-level rebate that you can claim on top of the federal STC rebate. It’s administered by Solar Victoria and after an extremely bumpy start, it’s now reliably offering Victorian home owners an additional $1,888 off your solar systems.
This rebate, unlike the Federal one, is a little more restrictive. To be eligible, your household income can’t be too high and you can’t already have solar on your roof. There’s also a set allocation of Victorian rebates being released every fortnight, so if demand is high and the allocation runs out, you’ll need to wait a couple of weeks to apply again.
I’ll finish by saying while you shouldn’t be rushed into buying a solar system because of any false scarcity around the rebate, you should be seriously considering getting solar sooner rather than later; due to the, let’s be honest, fantastic savings on your energy bills it can deliver.