What’s Happening To Australia’s Solar Rebate In 2021?

Australia's Solar Rebate In 2021

It’s that time of the year again when some ads may start screaming about a reduction in the solar rebate. Here’s what you need to know.

Australia’s “solar rebate” is delivered under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) and is based on Small-scale Technology Certificates, or STCs. These certificates have a value that varies with market conditions. While STCs can’t be created until after a system is installed, their value is just about always offered as an up-front discount and any pricing you see advertised for solar power systems will have the subsidy included. So, it’s not a rebate but that is the term most commonly used.

The number of STCs a system is eligible for depends on:

  • Solar panel capacity (not inverter capacity)
  • Geographical location of the installation
  • The year the system is installed

The year of installation determines the deeming period multiplier, and the SRES deeming period’s final year is 2030.  The deeming period reduces by one year each year on January 1 – just over 4 weeks from now. 

Solar Rebate Reduction In 2021

Instead of messing about with formulas, it’s much easier to use SolarQuotes’ STC calculator to get an idea of how much of a reduction in rebate will occur in 2021.

The highest value STCs can achieve is $40 and the lowest, $0. The spot price for STCs has been between $37.25 – $39.95 over the past year and $37.25 – $37.75 in the last month. Solar businesses usually also charge an admin fee for dealing with the complexity of creating and then selling the STCs.

The following example show the difference in the number of STCs and rebate for a 6.6kw solar system installed in Sydney before December 31 this year and the same system on or after January 1, 2021; based on a $36 STC value including fees.

  • Installed in 2020: 100 certificates /$3,600 subsidy
  • Installed in 2021: 91 certificates /$3,276 subsidy

Don’t Rush A Decision

While $324 isn’t an insignificant chunk of change, it’s unwise to rush into signing on the dotted line of a sales contract given it’s a decision you’ll be living with for many years. You’ll want those years to be free of the headaches that accompany crap solar.

The other point to bear in mind is given the time of the year, some installers may already be factoring in the looming reduction in quotes they issue, as installation may not occur until early 2021.

As always, it’s important to research solar power and check out solar installer reviews before committing. But this due diligence needs to be balanced with the knowledge that the longer you delay installing solar panels, the longer you’re locking yourself into big electricity bills. To get an idea of how much you could be saving with solar energy, try SQ’s solar calculator – it’s very easy to use.

Additionally, while STC spot prices have been pretty good to great this year, that doesn’t guarantee the same will continue in 2021. However, any reduction in rebate level might be offset in whole or part by a continuing reduction in the cost of solar.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. Chris Bohdal says

    In response to the article “The Grid Wants To Control Your Solar Inverter”.
    Indirectly it is happening to me. I have a 6kw system – 20 x 300w panels with micro inverters. It is done through Enphase equipment. Because of Powercore’s request we are only allowed to produce 4kw. So our inverters are already controlled via the net. Had I known that before I wouldn’t have solar.
    Also I have seen changes in the max output like if someone was playing around with it. Question is who controls it. The installing company or Enphase ?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Chris. It’s possible you have been export limited to 4 kilowatts. If this was the case you installer should have informed you of this before going ahead. Your Distributed Network Service Provider — Powercor — would have been responsible for this. But rather than being controlled through the net your solar system would have been set so it can export a maximum of 4 kilowatts to the grid when it was installed. The good news is, if this is what has happened, with a 6 kilowatt system and a 4 kilowatt export limit you should be losing very little solar generation. Especially if there are usually people at home around the middle of the day using electricity.

      • Chris Bohdal says

        Actually I wasn’t told by the installer about the 4kw limit by Powercor.
        What I would like to know who can change the limits of the micro inverters ?
        Is it Enphase or the installer ?
        And what is more disturbing the changes I noticed.
        One day in October the max for each panel was set at 0w.
        One day in November the max for each panel was set at 86w.
        Another day in October the max for each was 120w average.
        This has been happening a lot. Most of the time I get about 250w for each panel which would be about 5kw output.
        I just don’t understand the variations and who does them. Do they access the micro inverters via WiFi ? How do they do it ?

        • Ronald Brakels says

          I suggest looking at your electricity meter. They are very reliable so you can be pretty sure its readings are accurate. If the amount of power it says you are exporting to the grid is different from what your monitoring software says then you can be pretty much 100% certain there is a problem with the monitoring. In that case you can contact your installer and have them fix it.

          • Chris Bohdal says

            I’m not talking about the meter. It is the variations of the max output of the panels. Someone is playing on their computer changing it. And I would like to know who has access, the installer or Enphase ?

          • Ronald Brakels says

            The output of panels will vary from day to day depending on the weather, but they should rarely be zero because even on the most overcast of days enough light will get through for them to provide at least some power. Your local grid may have suffered from an over voltage event that cause the microinverters to shut down, but that is unlikely to last for a full day.

  2. Someone needs to answer the question Chris asks and not doing the political answer.if you don’t know the answer then tell him and find out.

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