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You could be eligible for Australian Government rebates or grants for your renewable energy system. To encourage the uptake of solar power, the Federal Government and various state governments currently offer a variety of rebates and incentives.

You can save thousands of dollars with off grid and grid connect wind and solar power installations if you qualify for one of the Australian Government's renewable energy rebates, subsidies or grants. Consumers and businesses alike are now eligible under the Solar Credits scheme.


The Renewable Energy Target

The Australian Government is supporting the deployment of more renewable energy throughout Australia with the Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme. The RET scheme will help ensure that the equivalent of at least 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity supply comes from renewable sources by 2020.

The RET uses a mechanism of tradeable renewable energy certificates which are created by eligible sources of renewable energy.

From 1 January 2011, the RET scheme will operate as two separate parts:
- the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET), which will support the deployment of renewable energy projects like wind farms, and commercial solar and geothermal power stations; and
- the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), which will provide support for installations of small renewable energy systems such as rooftop solar panels and solar water heaters.

Renewable energy certificates (RECs) created from power generation under the LRET from 1 January 2011 will also be referred to as large scale generation certificates (LGCs) while certificates created for installations of small scale renewable energy systems under the SRES from 1 January 2011 will also be referred to as small scale technology certificates (STCs).

Solar Credits

The Solar Credits scheme replaces the Solar Homes and Communities Plan rebate which ended June 9 2009. Unlike the previous rebate arrangement the solar credit scheme is not be means tested, and is available to businesses as well as households and community groups.
Under the Solar Credits Scheme, small generation unit customers receive 5 times the number of RECs for the first 1.5 kW of system capacity.

The new solar credits program applies to off grid and grid connect wind and solar power installations only - solar hot water rebates rebates operate under completely different schemes. Solar Credits apply to the first 1.5 kilowatts of solar power installed plus the Renewable Energy Certificate rebate is still available on the difference for larger systems.

The amount of Solar Credits each system can produce is different - it depends on the size of the system and the location. Australia has been divided into four zones for both solar PV and solar water heater installations, which represent the differing number of sunlight hours across Australia.

Here are some approximate examples for the Solar Credits at $40/REC for a 1.5kW system:

Zone 1: rebate = $6,300
Zone 2: rebate = $5,900
Zone 3: rebate = $5,250
Zone 4: rebate = $4,500

Solar credits

Solar Credits provide additional support to households, businesses and community groups that install small renewable energy generation units, such as rooftop solar panels, and small scale wind and hydro electricity systems.
Solar Credits apply to the first 1.5 kilowatts (kW) of capacity installed for systems connected to a main electricity grid and up to the first 20 kW of capacity for off-grid systems. Solar Credits work by multiplying the number of certificates that these systems would generally be eligible to create under the standard deeming arrangements. The level of support in terms of the number of certificates received via Solar Credits will be determined by the date the system is installed.

The current multiplier that applies for eligible system installations is five. The Solar Credits multiplier reduces over time, reflecting reductions in technology costs and the role that a carbon price is expected to play in incentivising investment in renewable energy over the longer term.
The Government has recently announced changes to the Solar Credits multiplier which will apply from 1 July 2011, and will bring the multiplier down to four. This will see a rebate reduction of up to $1,200 on systems not installed by then.

For more information on Solar Credits, call 02 6159 7700 or visit the Australian Government website.

Queensland Solar Bonus Scheme

The Queensland Government Solar Bonus Scheme is a feed-in tariff to pay domestic and other small energy customers for the surplus electricity generated from roof-top solar systems that is fed back into the Queensland grid. The Scheme is designed to make solar power more affordable for Queenslanders, stimulate the solar power industry and encourage energy efficiency.

Customers signed-up to the scheme will be paid 44 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for surplus electricity fed into the grid - around three times the current general domestic use tariff of 16.29c/kWh (inc GST).

The average customer operating a 1.5 kilowatt (kW) solar system could save around $400 on their electricity bill just by using less electricity from the grid. Solar Bonus Scheme customers also receive payments for exporting excess electricity back to the grid, meaning that these savings could be higher.

Who is eligible to receive the Solar Bonus?

To be eligible to receive the Solar Bonus, customers must:

* consume less than 100 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity a year (the average household uses approximately 7.9MWh a year)
* purchase and install a new solar PV (photovoltaic) system (solar power system not solar hot water system) or operate an existing PV system (solar power system) that is connected to the Queensland electricity grid
* generate surplus electricity that is fed into the Queensland electricity grid
* have an agreement in place with their electricity distributor (Ergon Energy, ENERGEX or Country Energy) and have appropriate metering installed
* have solar PV systems with a capacity of up to 10kVA for single phase power and 30kVA for three-phase power
* hold an electricity account with an electricity retailer.

Green Loans


As of close of business on 22 March 2010, interest-free loans are no longer being offered under the Green Loans program, however householders can still access a free home sustainability assessment by calling 1800 895 076 between 9am and 5pm EDST Monday to Friday.

Important notice - program changes

On 19 February 2010, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts announced changes to the popular Green Loans Program. These changes ensure the program can meet the strong demand for free home sustainability assessments and aims to help improve the quality of assessments being delivered under the program.

New applications to become contracted assessors are no longer being received by the department. Please do not send any applications to the department. If they are sent they will be returned to sender. Contracts delivered by hand will not be accepted.

Householders are still able to book assessments by calling 1800 895 076 Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm.

The Minister announced on 19 February 2010 that the less popular loans component of the program will be discontinued from 22 March 2010. Note that eligibility for loans under the Green Loans program is determined by financial institutions subject to the lending criteria of the financial institution being satisfied.

Assessments will continue to allow you to make informed decisions about how to improve the energy and water efficiency of your home.


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