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 scheme separately supports small-scale and large-scale renewable energy installations, and uses a mechanism of tradeable renewable energy certificates which are created by eligible renewable energy sources and systems.
The Solar Credits mechanism under the small-scale component of the RET (called the Small‑scale Renewable Energy Scheme or SRES) provides additional upfront support to households, businesses and community groups that install small-scale renewable energy generation systems by multiplying the number of tradable certificates able to be created for eligible installations. The Solar Credits multiplier reduces over time, reflecting reductions in rooftop solar panel costs.
For more information on the RET, including the SRES, please see the Enhanced Renewable Energy Target factsheet.
Changes to Solar Credits
|Date installed||1 July 2012 - 31 December 2012||From 1 January 2013 onwards|
|Multiplier||2||No multiplier (1)|
The eligibility rules for Solar Credits are prescribed in the RET scheme regulations, administered by the Clean Energy Regulator. For example:
- The system must be an eligible 'small generation unit' (small-scale solar PV, wind or hydro system).
- The system must be installed at an eligible premises. Examples include houses, townhouses, residential apartments and shops.
- The system must be a new and complete unit.
For systems installed from 1 July 2012 to 31 December 2012, the multiplier is two. The standard rate of STC creation (a multiplier of one) will apply for systems installed from 1 January 2013.
Amendments to the RET scheme regulations are to be put in place before the end of 2012 to implement the early phase-out of the multiplier. These amendments are to include arrangements to preserve legally binding contracts to install supported systems entered into before 16 November 2012, and made on the basis of the current rules (which include a solar credits multiplier of two). These arrangements will be based on those put in place in mid-2011 following a previous reduction in the multiplier announced in May 2011. The mid-2011 transitional arrangements are outlined by the Clean Energy Regulator.
Level of support
Following the phase out of the Solar Credits multiplier, the solar PV industry, and homes and businesses installing small-scale solar PV systems, will continue to be supported through the SRES.
The level of support available under the RET for installations of solar panels and small-scale wind or hydro electricity systems depends on the size of the system and the location where it is installed.
The Solar Credits multiplier applies to the first 1.5kW of installed capacity for on-grid systems and to the first 20kW for off-grid solar panels systems
The table below sets out the indicative level of support that would be provided through creation and sale of tradable small-scale technology certificates (STCs) under the SRES for a 3kW solar panel system installed across Australia up until 31 December 2012 and after 1 January 2013. The indicative examples are based on a $32 certificate price, with different Solar Credits support depending on the date, size and location of installation and market price of certificates.
|City||Approximate level of support|
|2 x Solar Credits multiplier (systems installed up to 31 December 2012)||No Solar Credits multiplier (systems installed from 1 January 2013)|
|STCs||Approximate support||STCs||Approximate support|
While it is possible for owners of renewable energy systems to create and sell the certificates themselves, in practice, installers of these systems usually offer a discount on the price of an installation, or a cash payment, in return for the certificates.
Householders considering installing small-scale renewable energy systems are encouraged to shop around for the best deal.