South Australia solar incentives and feed-in tariffs 2021

Published: 18 March 2021

Are you a SA homeowner looking for solar? We’ve collated the incentives available in 2021 to help you make the switch!

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Are you a homeowner looking for solar? Below we’ve detailed the SA solar incentives available in 2021. 

South Australia has some of the highest power bills in the world, and the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) reported an average price of 37.68 cents/kWh for 2019/2020. The good news is, homeowners in SA can avoid these high energy prices by adopting solar power. 

South Australia solar incentives 2021

There are two solar panel incentive programs available in South Australia: the nationwide SRES, and the City of Adelaide Sustainability Incentives Scheme.

Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme

The SRES does not offer a direct incentive for solar power. Instead it awards Small-scale Technology Certificates (STC) based on the system’s expected generation between 2021 and 2030. The Clean Energy Regulator has an online calculator, which estimates the STCs based on the PV system capacity and postcode.

  • Currently, a 6.6-kW solar system in Adelaide gets 91 STCs.
  • At the average price of $38 per STC, this is equivalent to an incentive of $3,458 (around $524 per kilowatt installed).
  • The price of a 6.6-kW solar installation is around $10,500 before incentives, but the STC reduces the net cost to $7,042.
  • In other words, the STC incentive covers around 33% of the upfront cost.

Since the northern regions of SA are sunnier, the number of STCs per kilowatt also increases. For example, a 6.6-kW system can get over 100 STCs if installed in one of the inland towns north of Port Augusta. This increases the incentive amount to over $3,800.

Remember, STC incentives are only available for solar PV systems from Clean Energy Council Accredited Installers like Instyle Solar. In addition, the installation must meet Australian and New Zealand codes, while using solar panels and inverters in the CEC-approved list.

If you need further information about the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, please visit the Australian Government Clean Energy Regulator website.

City of Adelaide Sustainability Incentives Scheme

Solar systems in Adelaide can get additional incentives before 30 June 2021, thanks to the Sustainability Incentives Scheme from the city government. This incentive program covers 20% of solar PV system costs, with limits depending on the system capacity in kilowatts:

  • Up to $1,000 for systems between 1.5 kW and 10 kW
  • Up to $2,500 for systems between 10 kW and 20 kW
  • Up to $5,000 for systems over 20 kW

The incentive is available for concession card holders and residential landlords, and there is also a business version of the incentive. The scheme also offers solar incentives for apartment buildings, which cover 20% of installation costs. The maximum incentive is $500 per apartment, or $20,000 per site, and it applies for solar installations with over 20 kW of capacity.

If you need further information about this solar incentive in Adelaide, please visit the Sustainability Incentives Scheme website from the City of Adelaide government.

Home Battery Scheme

South Australia also offers the Home Battery Scheme, which helps homeowners purchase battery systems. The incentive is currently $300 per kWh for energy concession holders, and $200 per kWh for all other households. In both cases, the incentive limit is $3,000 per installation. To claim the maximum incentive, an energy concession holder must install a 10-kWh battery, and other users must install a 15-kWh battery.

Solar battery systems have an installed cost of around $1,000 per kWh in Australia. This means the Home Battery Scheme covers 20%-30% of their cost, depending on the incentive rate offered. The program also offers loans in addition to the battery incentive, thanks to a $100 million fund from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). These loans are not limited to batteries, and they can also be used for solar panels.

If you need further information about the solar battery incentive in South Australia, please visit the Home Battery Scheme website from the SA government.

Retailer Energy Productivity Scheme 

Finally, South Australia offers the Retailer Energy Productivity Scheme (REPS), previously known as the Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES). While this program does not offer direct incentives for solar panels and batteries, it can be used for related upgrades and energy management measures:

  • Water heater replacements and upgrades, including solar water heating.
  • Connecting an electric resistance heater or heat pumps to a “solar sponge” tariff.
  • Connecting a home battery system to a virtual power plant (VPP). Both new and existing batteries are eligible.

The Adelaide Sustainability Incentives Scheme also covers similar measures. The program offers a 50% incentive, up to $500, for installing smart controls that use surplus solar generation to store hot water. The program also offers a 25% incentive, up to $1,000, for replacing an electric resistance heater with a solar hot water system or heat pump.

If you need further information about solar hot water and energy management incentives in South Australia, please visit the Retailer Energy Productivity Scheme website from the SA government.

South Australia solar power feed-in tariffs

The feed-in tariff (FIT) is the rate paid to homeowners for exporting surplus electricity from your solar panels to the local network. When FITs are high, there is an incentive for homeowners to install larger solar systems, since their extra production is also valuable. On the other hand, when the FITs are low, homeowners tend to use less solar panels to avoid surplus production. South Australia does not have a minimum FIT required by law. However, local electricity providers offer tariffs of up to 21 cents/kWh.

The feed-in tariff has an effect on the annual savings of a solar system. The following is a simple example, but it demonstrates the concept:

  • Assume that a 6.6-kW solar system has an estimated production of 9,500 kWh per year. However, the owner can only use 6,500 kWh, while 3,000 kWh go to the grid.
  • Considering an electricity price of 37 cents/kWh, the 6,500 kWh are equivalent to $2,405 in annual power bill savings.
  • With a low FIT of 8 cents/kWh, the other 3,000 kWh only save $240. However, this increases to $450 with a better tariff of 15 cents/kWh.
  • The lower FIT leads to $2,645 in annual savings, but this increases to $2,855 with the higher tariff (8% higher).

For the latest feed-in tariffs and updates visit: https://wattever.com.au/retailer-solar-feed-in-tariffs-by-state-and-territory/ 

Am I eligible for a solar incentive? 

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