Living in sunny New South Wales gives you a fantastic advantage since Australia boasts the world’s best supply of solar energy resources. With 6 to 8 hours of daily sunshine, you can significantly reduce your electricity bills by embracing solar power.
The NSW government is fully on board with this, encouraging homeowners to make the switch through various programs like Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs), solar feed-in tariffs, rebate programs for low-income households, and other financial incentives.
In this article, we will dive into the details of these programs, exploring how they can benefit and support your transition to a more sustainable and cost-effective energy future. Below is the full list of the topics we will be discussing:
- NSW solar rebates and STCs
- Factors affecting how many STCs you can get
- How to get eligibility for STCs
- Other financial incentives you can enjoy as a resident of New South Wales
Let’s get started!
What are solar rebates and Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs)?
The NSW solar rebate program provides financial incentives to help offset upfront solar panels cost, especially in installing and buying solar panels (1).
STCs, or Small-Scale Technology Certificates, are certificates issued by the NSW government to encourage the adoption of renewable energy systems like solar panels.
On that note, the rebates you get depend on the number of STCs your solar system is eligible for. The more STCs, the higher the rebate.
This brings us to the next question you might be asking.
Want 3 Quotes By Trusted Solar Installers In Your Area?
How many STCs can your system get?
The number of STCs your solar power system can receive depends on various factors, including:
- The size of your solar panel system
- Deeming period
- Zone rating
Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
Size of the solar panel system
The size of your solar power system plays a vital role in determining the number of STCs you can obtain. As a general rule, a larger solar panel system produces more electricity and is more eligible for a higher number of STCs. With that, you receive more government solar rebates.
Although, there is a size limit but more on that later.
That being said, if you want to calculate how many STCs you can get with the size of your planned solar panels, the Australian government provides a free STC calculator that you can use.
Recommended: How many solar panels do you need for your home?
The deeming period refers to the number of years that the NSW government guarantees the creation of STCs. It’s currently at 7 years but this number goes down every year until 2030.
The higher your deeming period, the more STCs your system can get. This means that installing solar panels as soon as you’re able is also the cheapest way to get them.
The geographic location of your property is another crucial factor in determining how many STCs you can get.
Different regions in Australia receive varying levels of solar irradiance, or the amount of sunlight available for energy generation.
The zones are categorized based on solar radiation, with Zone 1 experiencing the highest amount and Zone 4 receiving the least. In other words, higher levels of solar irradiance will make your system eligible for more STCs (and higher rebates).
The Clean Energy Regulator assigns zone ratings to different locations based on their solar irradiance levels. Living in an area with a higher zone rating can potentially earn more STCs and enhance your solar panel rebates. (2)
Eligibility criteria for STCs
To be eligible for STCs and the associated rebate, your solar system needs to meet certain criteria. These eligibility requirements ensure that your system is safe, reliable, and compliant with industry standards.
For your reference, let’s discuss the criteria:
CEC-accredited solar components
The solar system must use components (such as solar panels and inverters) that are approved by the Clean Energy Council (CEC). This ensures that your entire system meets industry standards and performance requirements.
Australian and NZ standards for solar installation
Australia is a powerhouse of solar energy resources. New South Wales, in particular, stands at the forefront of pioneering large-scale solar projects. (3)
However, when installing solar systems, you must comply with the relevant Australian and New Zealand standards for installation and grid connection. Adhering to these standards ensures the safety and quality of the system.
CEC-approved solar installer
The installation of the solar system must be carried out by a Clean Energy Council-accredited solar panel installer. CEC accreditation ensures that the installer has the necessary skills and knowledge to install solar PV systems correctly and safely.
If you’re having trouble finding such an installer, we can help. We have a network of CEC-approved solar installers that we’ve also pre-vetted. Take our short quiz and we’ll get you sorted right away.
Want 3 Quotes By Trusted Solar Installers In Your Area?
Compliance with regulations
The solar system must comply with all applicable regulations and requirements set by local authorities and regulatory bodies. This includes obtaining any necessary permits or approvals.
Solar PV system size limit
The solar system must not exceed 100 kilowatts (kW) in size to be eligible for STCs. This limit ensures that the rebate program focuses on supporting small-scale installations.
That being said, the most common solar panel installation in Australia is only 6 to 10 kW. So it’s unlikely that you’ll even consider a 100 kW system.
Below is a table showcasing rebate profiles based on the current value of Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs). As of writing, it’s at 39.90 AUD. The table includes the number of STCs generated for each system size, along with the corresponding rebate.
Other financial incentives for NSW residents
In addition to the solar panel rebate program, there are other financial incentives available for New South Wales (NSW) residents who are interested in adopting renewable energy systems. These incentives aim to further support the transition to clean and sustainable energy sources.
Here are some notable financial incentives for NSW residents:
Solar feed-in tariffs
The Feed-in Tariff (FiT) is a program that allows solar panel owners to receive credits or payments for the surplus electricity they export back into the energy grid.
This helps further reduce your power bills while promoting renewable energy production.
Different electricity retailers may impose varying rates and terms. Here’s a breakdown of those said rates:
- Energy Australia offers a single-rate feed-in tariff of 7.6 cents per kWh
- Origin Energy rebate offers 5 to 20 cents per kWh
- Simply Energy rebate offers 8 cents per kWh
- AGL electricity retailer offers 5 cents per kWh
*Note that these rates are subject to change.
Solar for low-income households
The NSW government offers specific programs and initiatives to make solar energy more accessible to low-income households. The low-income household rebate programs provide the following to eligible residents:
- financial assistance
This, in turn, helps reduce your energy bills and offers financial assistance for upfront costs when installing solar panels.
NSW rebate swap for solar (for homeowners)
This program enables eligible homeowners to swap their Low Income Household Rebate for a 3 kW solar system. This is all free, including components and installation.
To be eligible, you need:
- To be currently receiving the Low Income Household Rebate
- To agree not to get the rebate for the next 10 years
- To have a valid Pensioner Concession Card, or to have a Department of Veterans Affairs Gold Card
- To own your own house (you need to be living there, too)
- To not have an existing solar system
Rebate swap for energy-efficient upgrades
This is for the people who aren’t eligible for the above rebate swap but are receiving the Low Income Household Rebate.
Here, you can swap the rebate for home and appliance upgrades that will help lower your energy bill. The value of the upgrade can be as high as $4000.
Residents of New South Wales (NSW) hold great leverage for its favorable climate and abundant sunshine. To take advantage of this, the Australian government offers solar rebates in the form of STCs to help lower the upfront cost of installing solar panels.
However, you must pass their criteria, such as using CEC-approved solar components and hiring CEC-credited installers.
If you need assistance in connecting with these professionals, we can provide you with 3 FREE quotes from our pre-vetted network of installers.