Thinking Solar? Get Your Solar System Installed Before January 2017!

The Government Rebate To Have A Solar System Installed is Being Phased Out

SAE Solar System InstalledThe final Government incentive to kick-start the Solar Industry is now being phased out from next year. This incentive known as STC’s (Solar Trade Certificates) has been a major factor in the uptake of solar around Australia. In fact, more than 1.5 million Australian homes now have a solar system installed.

Using a system based on Solar Trade Certificates, this government solar incentive offers those Australians installing a solar system for the first time a major discount on the upfront cost of having their solar system installed, is due to be phased out starting 1st January 2017.

As an example, using a 5kW solar system installed, which is the average installation size in both Queensland and New South Wales as it is big enough to service the energy needs of the average Australian family home, the incentive offered by SAE is $3,965.50. Remember this incentive is a one-off discount off the upfront cost of having your solar system installed.

On January 1st 2017, this incentive will drop by around $260, and will continue to drop every year until the rebate completely disappears by the December 2030 deadline. Right now, to qualify for the existing incentive in full, your solar system must be installed by the cut-off date of 31st December 2016.

How Does The STC System Work?

stc rebate end for solar system installedAt the moment, the Government incentive rate is based on the supply and demand of the market (the rate varies between $37 & $39 for a Solar Trade Certificate – SAE offer $38). What this mean is if you buy a 5-kilowatt solar system, Tier 1 panels with an SMA inverter total cost approximately $11,000. With the rebate (STC discount) you will receive approximately $4,000 in STC discounts, leaving you with a bill to pay of approximately $7,000. This is based on the “lifetime” of the system which is 15 -20 years.

The easiest way to explain is that you the solar system owner are now an energy generating power station (alongside large renewable power stations) so you create certificates for every megawatt hour of power you generate creating the ‘supply’ side of the certificate market. Then, wholesale purchasers of electricity, i.e. electricity retailers, buy these certificates to meet their renewable energy obligations to the Government, creating the ‘demand’ side of the certificate market.

How Does The STC Discounts Work?

The STC (Small-scale Technology Certificates) incentive was brought in, in its current form in 2009 as part of the Renewable Energy Target. As mentioned above it essentially operates on Supply & Demand of the energy market.

  • Energex-Ergon-Merger-SAE-Electricity-BlogAn STC is given for every 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a solar system installed is expected to produce over a 15-year lifespan. I.e: 5kW solar system installed in Brisbane in September 2016 would be expected to produce 103,000kWh in its lifetime, so would be eligible for 103 STCs.

  • These STCs are then exchanged with your solar system installer (SAE Group) for a discount off your solar install price. Of course, the Solar Installer has to be authorised to sell STC’s to help recover some of the cost of installing.

  • The market price varies between $37 – $39 (SAE offer $38) per STC at the time of writing this article. A Brisbane or Gold Coast home installing a 5 kilowatt solar system, Tier 1 panels with an SMA inverter can look at saving approximately $4,000 with the STC incentives.

How Is The Incentive Being Phased Out?

The STC System is based on the assumption that the “lifetime” of your solar power system is 15-years. As of the 1st January 2017, the maximum number of years you can claim as the “lifetime” of your system will be 14 years – 13 years from 1st January 2018 – 12 years from January 2019 and so on. Effectively, the Solar Rebate is being phased out over the next 13 years. Click the button below to view the table directly from the Clean energy regulator site:


Clean Energy Regulator Table


So why should you invest in solar now  before the Solar Rebate is phased out in the next 13 years? The price of Solar Panel systems have declined on an average of 15% over the past 4 years alone. This means that for every year you wait and the rebate lowers the less money you save – HOWEVER the money you spend on electricity is estimated to increase by 9% annually.

With the increase in electricity prices, a Solar Power system can offer a 35% return on your investment which means you can:

  • Take years off your mortgage
  • Save thousands of dollars
  • Use green solar energy instead of coal
  • Future-proof your home
  • Battery-compatible systems  (hybrid or the option to eventually go off-grid) available

Don’t lose out as the STC Rebate declines each year and electricity prices increase. Contact us today to calculate how we can save you money and help you pay your investment off sooner. Click below for one of our Solar Specialists to help you save money.


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