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Solar Rebate SA - Rebate for South Australian Residents

Updated: 17 July 2020

With government rebates and reducing solar panel costs, a Southern Australian could get a great solar installation without spending a fortune.

This brief guide explores the solar rebates you can get in South Australia in detail. You’ll get a good idea of the amount in rebates (otherwise known as STCs) you can get. At the same time, you will learn the ins and outs of claiming them and what else is on offer.

How Much Is the Solar Rebate In SA?

While the amount of rebate one gets varies based on the system they purchase, you should expect to get at least $4000 in STC solar rebates in SA for an average solar PV installation. An average solar PV system, in this case, is one with at least 5Kw rated nominal output with about 20 solar panels.

5kWh rebate example in SA

Gross system cost $7,694
Rebate (-$2,972)
Net system cost   $4,722

That said, you can know the exact amount you get as solar rebates in SA for any system size. You do this by calculating how many tradable small-scale technology certificates you can get for each solar product using this formula:

 

kW solar PV system x Deeming period in years x zone rating

 

Going by the zoning maps designed by the Australian Clean Energy regulator, most of South Australia is under zone 3, which attracts a 1.382 STC rating. This is according to the latest data published by the Clean Energy Regulator.

STC Zone ma in Australia

Now, with this zone rating in mind, a 5Kw solar PV system rebate bought this year (2020) in SA could be calculated as follows:

5 x 11 x 1.382, which would entitle you to about 76 tradable small-scale technology certificates. Now with this figure, go ahead and check the current STC value in the market and multiply it with your STCs. This will give you the real amount you can claim as a solar rebate for a 5Kw solar PV system in SA.

For our case, 76 STCs would give us roughly $2,972 in actual rebates that can be claimed as a direct point of sale discount from a solar installer.

Below is a more comprehensive break down of estimated solar rebates you could get in Southern Australia were you to do the installation this year:

The above rebates are calculated based on the current STC value of *$39.40 and an assumed *deeming period of 11 years.  At the same time, a zone 3 STC rating of 1.382 is used to calculate the number of small-scale technology certificates you could get.

*Note 1: the current STC value is not fixed and could vary depending on the solar retailer/installer you surrender your Small-Scale Technology to. However, the amount they are willing to assign to each STC should not be much different from what you can get on the open market were you to trade them yourself.

*Note 2: The deeming period refers to the time interval in years between when you install the solar PV system up to the year 2030 when the STC scheme is scheduled to end.  While it might sound salesy encouraging you to install now, the earlier you can get the solar panels installed, the higher the number of small-scale technology certificates you can claim. This is obviously because STCs handed out reduce by one every year until 2030, so be wise!

The above graph shows the deeming periods for each year up to the end of the STC solar rebate scheme in Australia.

How Cheap Are Solar PV Systems in South Australia?

Solar PV system prices have been falling in Australia for over a decade now. Going by current rates, you could say that Australia has, by far, the most affordable solar PV systems in the world. This has partly to do with the government’s renewable energy initiatives and rebates coupled with private sector interest in the green agenda.

Compared to other regions, Southern Australia’s solar PV prices are relatively low. Perhaps this explains why more and more people are finding it attractive to switch to solar energy in Southern Australia. According to recent data published by the Australian Clean Energy Council, over 35% of Southern Australian households have solar systems installed (over 250, 000 installs).

Below is a table comparing solar prices you would expect to pay after rebates in Southern Australia.

Pricing for solar PV systems may vary from vendor to vendor and also affected by the amount of STC certificates you can claim when you install. For instance, a solar PV system from top manufacturers like LG might be slightly more expensive. At the same time, you may get marginally fewer rebates if you install the system a year or more from now due to a reduced deeming period.

How Do I Claim My Solar Rebates in Southern Australia?

There are two ways you can go about claiming your solar rebate in Southern Australia. Luckily, none of them needs you to deal with local authorities or make endless trips to government offices.

The first and perhaps easiest way to claim your STC rebate is to have the rebate factored into your solar installation as a point of sale discount. Most people in Southern Australia and everywhere prefer this option as it’s more convenient and could save you some money; here is why:

  1. You’ll be assured that your solar installer is accredited with the Clean Energy Regulator if they can accept to be assigned the right to claim your STC. This is important because purchasing from an unaccredited solar agent or company would mean you won’t benefit from the solar rebate and have to pay full price.
  2. You will get a good deal for your STCs- You’ll probably safe letting the solar company sell your small-scale certificates instead of having to do it on your own. Most solar companies have agreements with other companies (oil and coal) to whom they can trade the STCs.
  3. The rebate isn’t a rebate in the strict sense- Most people wrongly think rebates are handed out in cash from the government upon purchasing and installing a solar PV system. This is not accurate. The STC scheme is a PPP arrangement between private sector solar and energy companies and the government. You will most likely receive the rebate as a point of sale discount whichever route you take.

Claim Your rebate by trading your certificates?

The second, but uncommon route is to forego the point of sale rebate and claim your certificates yourself. To do this, you’ll need first to have the system installed by an accredited solar agent. Then you will have to gather all the documentation needed as per CER guidelines published on the STC website. Lastly, you will make an application to the Clean Energy Regulator’s website uploading all the required documents.  You will then have to wait for the STCs to be handed to you and trade them on the open market.

Note that not all solar vendors will be able to process your STCs. As part of your selection, refer to what we may have published regarding solar companies that are accredited and could help you claim your STCs in Southern Australia.

What Are the Requirements for Getting Solar Rebates in Southern Australia?

The requirements set out by the Clean Energy Regulator apply to every zone in Australia, which includes those in SA. You will, therefore, need to meet the following for your solar PV installations to be eligible for STCs:

  • Be an Australian homeowner with documentation to prove the same- In the case of Southern Australia, you’ll obviously need to provide your homeownership documents, physical address, and other identifying details to show that you do indeed own the property on which the solar PV was installed.
  • The STCs must be claimed within a year of being installed. Any systems older than a year will not be considered for the STC rebate. Of course, you won’t have to worry about this if you can get the STC rebate as a point of sale discount.
  • The solar PV system installed must not exceed capacity specifications published by the Clean Energy Council- STC rebates are only given to solar systems that do not exceed 1000w. Anything above that is not considered a small-scale system. It will be put under a different category of rebates as set out by the Regulator.
  • You cannot claim rebates twice for a solar PV system

The last and perhaps, most important requirement is to have an accredited solar company or agent install the system according to standards and safety guidelines set out by the Clean Energy Regulator.

Can My Rebate Claim Be Rejected?

Yes, several circumstances would lead to your rebate claim being rejected by the Clean Energy Regulator. Some of them include:

1. Providing Wrong Information

We cannot overstate the importance of providing accurate information as part of the rebate claim either to your solar installer or to the Clean Energy Council. In fact, providing wrong information is so frowned upon by the regulatory body that you or your solar vendor will be handed a fine and a rejection if it is discovered.  A Common temptation that would lead to this is giving the wrong address that puts you in a zone that has a higher STC rating.

2. If Your Solar Installation Can’t Be Verified

Ensure that your solar installer provides or generates documentation to show when the installation was done. This is especially important if you chose to claim the certificates yourself.

3. Contracting Unaccredited Solar Installers or Installing the System Yourself

Yes, it’s possible to purchase and install a solar PV system as a DIY project avoiding the installation costs. This will invalidate your system from any local or federal STC rebates you might have received were you to have an accredited solar installer do it. It’s important also to state here that all the prices highlighted in this guide include the installation costs. Therefore, you won’t be making any savings by going the DIY route.

4. Timing- Late or Early Rebate Claims

The Australian Clean Energy Regulator is very clear about this issue. STCs must be claimed on an already installed solar PV system that is not older than 12 months. Even if you assign the rights to your solar installer and get the point of sale discount, they will only claim the certificates after they have done the installation at your house/ caravan.

What Is the Solar Feed-In Tariff in South Australia?

Expect to get at least 20 to 25 cents for every Kwh you send back to the grid from your PV system in Southern Australia. In case you didn’t already know about them, feed-in tariffs are the rebates you get from your electricity company for sending your surplus solar energy back to the grid.  Almost all electricity retailers in Southern Australia offer feed-in tariffs for each kW of power you send to the grid.

Feed-in tariffs are the number one factor in Southern Australia’s green energy goals. According to the latest data published by the Clean Energy Council, over half of the energy in SA is being fed in by grid-connected household solar PV systems.

Who Has the Best Feed-In Tariff In SA?

The table below shows how much some of the electricity retailers pay for solar feed-in tariffs in Southern Australia:

*Feed-in tariffs are subject to agreements between you and the electricity retailer you are currently contracted to. Not all solar PV installations are eligible to feed-in tariffs at this point, especially in Southern Australia.

How Much Do Solar Batteries Cost in South Australia?

Expect to pay an amount in the region of $8000 to $10,000 for a decent solar battery kit for your solar PV system in Southern Australia.  Unlike solar panels whose cost has reduced over time, solar batteries remain quite expensive in Australia.

They are no federal rebates for solar batteries in Australia. However, different state governments do offer incentives and no-interest loans for residents who want to purchase solar energy. The South Australian authorities -through the Home Battery scheme- offers a rebate of up to $6,000 to its residents for solar energy storage systems. These rebates are subject to eligibility and availability of funds. Information on the Home Battery Scheme can be found on the SA government home battery scheme website.

You may want to purchase solar batteries in case you don’t want to feed your surplus solar energy back to the grid. This is a logical and popular option for most people as it can reduce their electricity bills significantly. Storing your surplus and using it at night is better than feeding it back to the grid in terms of savings and solar payback periods.

FAQ’s

Standard solar panels should last at least 24 to 30 years without any noticeable performance degradation. Of course, this does not mean that they will stop working after that period; only that performance may start reducing every year after that. It also depends on how well you can maintain them and other interfering physical conditions on your roof.

Here is a graph showing the expected solar PV degradation for over 25 years.

It’s actually easier to sell a house with solar panels in Southern Australia.  Today, solar panels can be found in almost 35% of homes in SA and probably more in the next five years due to rebates. The truth is, having a working solar PV installed on your house will make it more attractive to any Aussie buyer. Solar energy is increasingly becoming more popular in Australia than anywhere else in the region or the world!

Ben McInerney head shotAuthor: Ben McInerney is a renewable energy enthusiast with the goal of helping more Australians understand solar systems to make the best choice before they purchase. Having an accredited solar installer in the family helps give Ben access to the correct information, which allows him to break it down and make it easily understandable to the average home owner.