A frequent question that we get asked is what government assistance for solar is there?
Solar is a great personal investment but it also has a significant public benefit in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and taking pressure of ageing power stations, so it’s not surprising that State and Federal governments are keen to encourage people to invest in home solar.
Currently there are currently two main programs to assist in solar installation the Federal Government’s STCs and the Tasmanian Government’s Energy Saver Loan Scheme, as well as the feed-in-tariff which isn’t really assistance but may feel like it.
Federal Government STCs
The Federal Government’s primary incentive package comes through the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) which entitles installers to “Small-scale Technology Certificates” or STCs as they’re commonly called.
In theory STCs once validated act a bit like currency and can be sold or transferred, however for the purpose of a regular home installation normal practice is to just assign them to the installer who reduces the cost of the install by their value so that you pay less.
The way most solar installers, including Marshall Solar and Energy, operate is that the STCs are included as a “discount” right from the first quote. So if we send you a quote for $10,000 it might be that system actually costs $13,000 but we’ve taken $3,000 off to cover the STCs that you will assign to us as part of the installation.
We don’t make any money from the STCs and the “discount” you receive will be exactly equal to the value of the STCs. But naturally it’s a lot easier for us to put in a handful of applications every month than for someone to figure out how to put in one application.
One thing worth noting about STCs and the SRES generally is that the value of STCs are set to reduce over time and the whole scheme is only planned to run until 2030. Of course, government policy on renewable energy and climate change is fairly dynamic so you might expect there to be other policies in the future.
If you want to know more about the scheme a good starting point is the Clean Energy Regulator’s page here: https://www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/RET/Scheme-participants-and-industry/Agents-and-installers/Small-scale-technology-certificates
Tasmanian Government Energy Saver Loan Scheme
The Tasmanian Government provides a no interest loans up to $10,000 for eligible energy saving products such as home solar systems, batteries, or even heat pump hot water systems.
Energy Saver Loans are interest-free, have no establishment fee, and no account-keeping fee – although fees for late repayments do apply.
- Loans may be issued for amounts between $500 and $10,000.
- Loans may be issued for terms of one (1) to three (3) years.
- Loans require fortnightly or monthly repayments (with the entire sum to be paid off by the end of the loan-term).
In effect the amount of money you pay will be exactly the same as if you paid the full amount up-front, but instead of needing to stump up $10,000 all at once, you can pay $128.21 per fortnight for 3 years (I’ve rounded this up to the nearest cent, but you get the idea).
Credit is provided by Brighte Capital Pty Ltd (ABN 74 609 165 906). Australian Credit License Number 508217. All applications are subject to Brighte’s credit approval criteria. Fees, Terms and Conditions apply.
The scheme has been popular with our customers so we can help you out with applying as much or little as you would like.
If you’d like to know more about it, the Tasmanian Government’s website is a great starting point: https://recfit.tas.gov.au/household_energy/energy_saver_loan_scheme
Feed in tariff
The feed-in-tariff isn’t government assistance but I’ve added it in here because it is a key component of how your solar system investment pays for itself.
The Feed-in-tariff is the amount of money your power company pays you for excess solar. So for example if your solar system produces 10kW but you only use 5kW then the extra 5kW gets sold back into the grid.
At the time of writing Aurora Energy pay 8.883c per kWh, while 1st Energy pay 10.869c per kWh. But note that these prices do change fairly regularly.
You will probably realise that the amount you have to pay for electricity is much higher than the amount you get paid but it should be conceded that the grid costs money to maintain regardless of which direction the electricity is “moving” in, so while there are plenty of arguments about what the best feed-in-tariff might be or what the best way to encourage and support solar installation is, there is a solid explanation for the discrepancy.
As mentioned, government policy on renewable energy and climate change at the State and Federal level is an ever-changing beast and certainly has been the subject of plenty of party politics in recent times but at Marshall Solar and Energy it’s our job to keep on top of it all, so don’t hesitate to get in contact with us if you’re interested in knowing more.