Feed-in tariffs and renewable energy certificates

Despite all of the mostly negative news relating to Australia’s renewable energy target, investing in a PV solar panel system is still hugely beneficial. Not only will you be making your life easier, on top of helping out our environment, but the financial schemes rewarding solar panel investors are still lucrative. Two of these: the feed-in tariffs from your energy provider, and the government run STC program, are open to anyone who purchases such a system.

The team at Think Solar, owing to our wide experience working in the industry, know the ins and outs of these schemes like the back of their hands. We can not only suggest which type of system will help you gain the most benefits from these schemes, but also assist you with filling in and submitting all relevant forms. We’re also your go-to experts for prompt and complete installation of PV panels, both for businesses and homes all over Melbourne.

Feed-in tariffs

In most states, there is a scheme that rewards you for the amount of leftover power that you feed back into the electricity grid. This is called a feed-in tariff, and shows up on your power bills as a credit payment. It is through this scheme that solar’s financial benefits are best illustrated, and they can take off a huge amount of your bills. The Victorian State Government sets the feed-in tariff annually, and has set the 2016 cost to be $0.08 per kWh fed back into the system.

This price is based off of the forecasted value for wholesale electricity prices throughout the state, owing to greater competition in the marketplace. It is also important to note that the Victorian State Government is also considering a host of other initiatives, running alongside the feed-in tariff. This may include multiple tariffs, a rebate on procedural maintenance, and possible deregulation of the energy market.

Renewable energy certificates

Renewable energy certificates (REC’s) are like an electronic currency. They respond to fluctuations in the market, and essentially pay you back for each megawatt of electricity generated. These REC’s are broken down further into two categories: The large-scale renewable energy target (LRET), and the small-scale renewable energy scheme (SRES). It is from the SRES where small-scale technology certificates (STC’s) are issued.

STC’s were designed to provide a financial incentive for households and small businesses to invest in solar panels. You will receive your own STC’s when you have a new solar panel system installed. The amount of STC’s that you will get is dependent on the size of the panel fitting, as well as where you live in Australia. For the purpose of STC creation, Australia is divided into four zones, based on the amount of sunlight received.

For pure example purposes, let’s assume that you have just purchased a solar panel system capable of generating 1.5 kW. The minimum amount of STC’s you would receive for each zone is:

  • 182 certificates for Zone 1
  • 172 certificates for Zone 2
  • 155 certificates for Zone 3
  • 133 certificates for Zone 4

For those living in Melbourne, a system such as this will earn you 133 STC’s. If you lived in Mildura instead, you would receive 155 STC’s for the same system. Each certificate is worth a certain amount, which again is based on a market value. The worth of STC’s has been hovering around $37 for quite some time, however is projected to go far lower, as solar cells become more common and affordable.