State-Based Solar Incentive Guide For Australia
State-Based solar incentives in Australia offer low-interest loans, interest-free loans, free solar system installation, or free battery installation. The incentives are given depending on your state location. However, you receive solar incentives only if you are eligible.
Solar has environmental benefits and helps you save on electricity bills. But the substantial up-front solar prices can discourage households and businesses from purchasing solar. So, the Australian government provides incentives and financial incentives to encourage solar installation.
After reading this article, you’ll learn about all the government incentives and state-based solar incentives. You will know what the incentives offer, if you are eligible and how to apply.
Let’s dive in!
What government incentives are there for solar panels?
Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs)
Small-scale technology certificates (STCs) are issued by the Australian federal government to small businesses and households installing renewable energy systems.
Who is eligible for STCs?
- Install your solar system one year before applying and claiming the STCs.
- All the accessories and parts of your solar system must be in the Clean Energy Council (CEC) list of approved components.
- The solar accessories must meet Australian standards.
- Comply with electrical safety and other state, federal, territory, and local governments requirements.
- Use a CEC accredited installer, designer and retailer.
- The solar system should be less than 100kW, and the annual electrical output shouldn’t exceed 250MWh.
What is the worth of STCs?
A Small-scale technology certificate’s worth depends on its supply and demand in the open market. However, the STC price can never go beyond $40 per certificate.
According to Demand Manager, the current STC price is $39.30 per certificate.
The number of certificates you’ll get will depend on:
- Your solar panel’s capacity
- Installation date
- Your system’s location
You can sell the STCs in the open market because electricity retailers must purchase an annual quota of the certificates. But it’s easier to sell the certificates through your installation company. When you sell your STCs through a third party, you’ll receive a few dollars less than the spot price to cover the administration costs.
Keep in mind that the STCs you can receive will reduce every year until 2030, when the government phases them out.
How Can I Apply for STCs?
Solar Installers apply for and claim STCs on behalf of the homeowner and pass on the savings through the cost of the system. STCs are assigned to an individual system, and address. Each panel is scanned before installation and CEC qualified installers follow strict paperwork processes to ensure the claim is made correctly.
The Feed-in tariff (FiT) is a tariff paid by electricity providers to homeowners when they export excess power to the grid. Most energy providers offer a few cents for every kilowatt-hour (kWh). You receive the amount owed as a credit on your electricity bill. In the past, a government-subsidised Feed-In-Tariff was available for up to 60c/kWh. This program is no longer available for new installations and a FiT is negotiated between customers and their energy providers.
You can see the best Fedd-In Tariffs by location below:
How much are FiTs worth?
Feed-in Tariffs give you cents for every kilowatt per hour of electricity your system sends to the main grid. Your electricity retailer sets the rate of kilowatts per hour, but it partly depends on the wholesale electricity price, so it is important to choose the best provider for a household with solar power. The retailer has the right to set its rates as long as it’s over the set minimums. Additionally, the Feed-in Tariff rates differ depending on your location.
1. NSW solar incentives
New South Wales offers two financial incentives to households with renewable energy systems and feed-in tariffs. The current solar incentives in NSW are the Solar for Low-Income Households Trial and Empowering Homes program.
Empowering Homes solar battery loan
The Empowering Homes solar battery loan helps homeowners buy solar battery systems or add solar batteries to their existing solar systems.
Two interest-free Empowering Homes solar battery loans exist, which include:
- A maximum of $14,000 for a battery system and solar PV, repayable in 8 years
- Up to $9000 for retrofitting a battery to your solar PV system, repayable in 10 years
Who is eligible for Empowering Homes solar battery loan?
You are eligible for Empowering Home solar battery loan if:
- You live in an eligible postcode
- You have an annual household income below $180,000
- You own and live in your grid-connected home and have the right to install a battery and solar panel system
- You fulfil the standard loan criteria (e.g., good credit score and ability to pay back without struggling)
Who can benefit from Empowering Homes solar battery loan?
Solar battery systems are not for every home. The benefits of the solar battery will apply to your household if you:
- Use most of your electricity in the evening or morning
- Utilise more than 6000 kilowatts hours of electricity annually
- Use or plan to transfer to a time-of-use tariff with the electricity retailer
- Have other energy-saving measures
How to apply for Empowering Homes solar battery loan?
The first thing is to ask your approved retailer for a quote. The next step is to receive the quote from Plenti, a solar finance company. After approval, the retailer will call you.
Solar for Low-income Households
Solar for low-income households help pensioners get affordable clean energy by providing 3kw solar systems, including installation, at no cost. After installation, you can save electricity bills of up to $600 annually.
Who is eligible for Solar for Low-income Households?
You are eligible for Solar for Low-income Households if you meet the following standards:
- Currently receiving the Low-Income Household incentive
- Don’t have a solar PV system
- Have a valid Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card or Pensioner Concession Card
- Own your home
- Live in the eligible areas; Central Coast, North Coast, Illawarra-Shoalhaven, South Coast and Sydney-South.
- If your partner is a registered homeowner and you are not, you qualify as a collective household.
2. VIC Solar incentives
Besides FiTs, Victoria offers three solar incentives for households, including a Solar Battery incentive, a Solar Panel incentive, and a Solar Hot Water incentive.
Solar Panel (PV) incentive
The incentive offers homeowners and rental properties a maximum incentive of $1400 for solar PV system installation and an interest-free loan.
Who is eligible for Solar Panel incentive?
Your rental properties and households are eligible for a Solar Panel incentive if you meet the following standards:
- Own and occupy the property
- You (owner/owners) have a combined taxable income of not more than $180,000 annually (according to last year’s Australian Tax Office Notice of Assessment).
- You have not received another Solar Homes Program incentive as an owner and occupier.
- Property has a value of less than $3 million
- The property doesn’t have a Solar PV system
What are Interest-free loans?
If you want to reduce your costs further, you can apply for an interest-free loan. The requested loan should be equal to the incentive amount. So, you can take an interest-free loan of $1400 (with $2,800, you can get a 2kW solar system). You must pay the loan in four years, but you can pay it sooner.
How to apply for a Solar Panel incentive?
The retailer will place your quote on the Solar Victoria Portal, which will assess your eligibility. You’ll also upload your proof of income and a Rates notice.
If you’re eligible, your solar retailer will claim the incentive for you and reduce the amount from the total solar system price. You will pay the balance (if any) directly to the retailer after the solar installation process.
Solar Battery incentive
The incentive allows eligible homeowners living in any Victorian postcode to add batteries to their solar panel systems with a point-of-sale discount of up to $3500. Solar batteries can help you save $640 annually.
Who is eligible for a Solar Battery incentive?
You are eligible for a Solar Battery incentive if you meet the following criteria:
- You plan to install a solar PV panel with a 5kW capacity or more together with solar battery installation or have a solar PV system with a 5kW capacity or more on your property
- You have DNSP’s (Distributed Network Service Provider) approval to attach a battery to the grid
- The property doesn’t contain an energy storage system
- Solar Victoria should have the energy storage solution on their Approved Battery List
- You earn less than $180,000 annually (taxable income according to your Australian Tax Office Notice of Assessment)
- If the current council rates value your property under $3 million
- You should not have a previous incentive under Solar Homes Program as the owner
How to apply for a Solar Battery incentive
The process for applying for a Solar Batter incentive is the same as the Solar Panel (PV) incentive above.
Solar Hot Water incentive
Eligible Victorian households get a 50% incentive of up to $1000 on solar hot water systems. Installing a hot water system can help you save between $140-$400 annually.
Who is eligible for a Solar Hot Water incentive?
Property owners from Victoria must pass the following criteria to get a Solar Hot Water incentive:
- You own and occupy the property
- You (owner/owners) have a combined income of not more than $180,000 annually (taxable income)
- Your property should have a value of under $3 million
- The hot water system being replaced should be more than three years old from the buying date
- Solar Homes Program have not previously offered you a battery incentive or solar PV incentive
- Your property shouldn’t be new
- Your heat pump or solar is on the approved list of the Solar Homes Program
How to apply for a Solar Hot Water incentive?
If you have confirmed your eligibility, it is time to start the solar hot water installation process. Ensure that you don’t install a solar hot water system before Solar Victoria confirms eligibility. Unless you have an emergency, you won’t receive the incentive if installation happens before eligibility approval.
1. Get a Quote
First, you need to obtain a solar hot water installation quote. Inform your solar retailer that you plan on getting a Solar How Water incentive.
A quote will help you apply for an eligibility number. The eligibility number helps your installer confirm that they can start the installation.
Don’t pay a deposit or sign a quote acceptance before receiving the eligibility confirmation. If you want to pay the deposit, first confirm if it is refundable.
2. Apply for eligibility
You will complete Solar Victoria’s documents that come in an eligibility pack. After completing, upload the documents and required attachments to the secured link provided. Solar Victoria will evaluate the documents and inform you and your solar retailer whether you are eligible for the incentive.
3. Install the system
Once Solar Victoria approves your eligibility, you can arrange the installation process with your solar hot water provider. Ensure the heat pump or solar are approved products. Your provider gets the incentive which is deducted from the invoice. The remaining balance for system installation is what you pay.
What is the process to follow for emergency installations?
You don’t have to wait for eligibility confirmation when you need an emergency hot water installation. Submit your eligibility application after the emergency installation. Keep in mind that you may or may not pass the eligibility criteria for the incentive.
Emergency hot water installation
An emergency installation happens if your hot water system is dangerous or breaks down. Inform your retailer you need an emergency hot water installation, and you plan on getting the Solar Homes incentive, so they need to use approved products. If you don’t meet all the criteria, you will not receive the incentive.
Apply for eligibility
You will receive documents from Solar Victoria. After completing, return the filled documents to Solar Victoria through a secured link. Solar Victoria will assess your eligibility and notify your provider whether you are eligible for the incentive. If approved, you will directly receive the incentive.
3. SA solar incentives
South Australia has one solar incentive known as the South Australian Home Battery Scheme. SA still offers Feed-In Tariffs for residents that want to use solar energy.
Home Battery Scheme
The Home Battery scheme offers homeowners a maximum loan or subsidy of $2000 for solar battery installation. The subsidy is mainly offered to low-income households.
The subsidy levels for Home Battery Scheme include:
- Energy concession holder- $250 per kWh
- All other homes- $150 kWh
Who is eligible for the Home Battery Scheme?
You can only access the South Australia Home Battery Scheme if you meet the following criteria:
- All South Australians can access the subsidy
- Energy Concession Holders can get higher subsidies (while ensuring that people from lower economic groups can access the Scheme)
- The subsidy only covers the battery part of the system even if the battery system comes with a battery, inverter, and rooftop panels.
4. ACT Solar incentives
The Australian Capital Territory offers the solar battery storage discount and the solar for low-income households to achieve its goal of sourcing 100% of its energy from renewable sources.
The Solar for Low Income Program
The Solar for Low Income Program offers pensioners and concession card holders a maximum incentive of $2500 for a rooftop solar system. It offers an incentive for supply and installation and an added interest-free loan which you pay within three years.
Who qualifies for the Solar for Low Income Program?
You only qualify for the Solar Low-Income Program if you meet the following criteria:
- You must be the owner and occupy a home in the ACT
- You shouldn’t have an installed solar rooftop system
- You should have an Australian Government Pensioner Concession card
Send an application email to [email protected] to register.
Solar battery storage discount (Next-Gen Program)
Up to 5000 Australian Capital Territory households and businesses can get a discount on battery storage unit installation through the Next Generation Energy Storage program for new or existing rooftop solar PV systems.
The current incentive is $825 for every kilowatt (kW), and the maximum number of kilowatts the discount covers is 30kW. If you have a solar system with 5kW, you can receive around $4000.
If you add a battery system to a standard residential system on your rooftop, you will pay around $8000 to $10,000 (after the incentive). If you don’t have solar, solar panels and a residential system will cost between $13,000 to $18,000 (after the incentive). But the prices differ due to many factors.
Ensure to talk to your solar provider about the best system for your home or business. At Instyle Solar, we’ll walk you through the pros and cons of installing a battery.
Who is eligible for a solar battery storage discount?
If you live in the ACT, you are eligible for a Solar battery storage discount if you meet the following criteria:
- Your system must be linked to the electricity grid
- Have a new residential system that is not in the discount program
- Own/rent property in ACT
- Have a proper location for the battery
- Purchase or own an inverter that meets technical requirements
- Have solar PV panels
5. NT solar incentives
Northern Territory also provides a solar battery incentive program called the Home and Business Battery Scheme.
Home and Business Battery Scheme
The Home and Business Battery Scheme applies to all territory residents, including homeowners, nonprofit organisations, and businesses. The incentive helps you buy and install batteries and inverters by giving $450 for every kilowatt-hour battery system capacity. The maximum you can get is $6000.
Who is eligible for the Home and Business Battery Scheme?
If you live in the Northern Territory, you are eligible for the Home and Business Battery Scheme if you meet the following standards:
- Own the property
- Only use this incentive for a battery system, not to purchase a solar PV system.
- You can apply for the incentive twice if you have two properties (business and home)
- Use an approved battery system.
How to apply for the Home and Business Battery Scheme
- Read the terms and conditions to ensure you qualify
- Get a solar battery quote from a certified provider
- Apply for the incentive online to receive your unique voucher.
6. TAS Solar incentives
Tasmania only has the Feed-in Tariff but no other solar incentives in 2021.
7. WA Solar incentives
Currently, Western Australia doesn’t have any solar incentives other than the ones offered nationally. Here’s more on the region’s STCs and feed-in tariffs.
8. QLD Solar incentives
Queensland only has solar incentives offered nationally (STCs & FiTs) if you installed solar after 2012.
Choose Instyle Solar as your Solar Provider!
Small-scale technology certificates and Feed-in Tariffs are federal incentives available for all eligible Australians. You can also take advantage of State Solar incentives to get the best offers.
For instance, if you live in the Australian Capital Territory, you can access the solar battery storage discount and the solar for low-income households.
Do you want to apply for a solar incentive?
It is crucial to communicate with your solar provider before applying for a incentive. At Instyle Solar, we provide residential and commercial solar. We give you a smooth transition to solar and a high-quality experience. We install carefully selected product brands that:
- Offer Tier 1 products
- Have industry-leading warranties
- Have an Australian footprint
Interested in solar? By clicking below you can use our smart solar calculator to find out just how much you could save with solar, what rebate you are eligible for, and the impact you will have on the environment.
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