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Solar Credits Scheme - Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q)

Information within the Solar Credits FAQ has been organised into common Subject Segments to make it easier for you to find the answer to your questions.Just click on one of the Subject Segments in the list below to be taken to the relevant FAQ's:

About Solar Credits....

Eligibility requirements/rules for Solar Credits....

What can Solar Credits be claimed on?....

Applying for Solar Credits....

Claiming Solar Credits....

Solar Credits relevance to Renewable Energy Certificates and Different Locations within Australia....


Please feel free to Contact a Clean Energy Consultant at any time to answer your questions .... We are here to help 


About Solar Credits....


The Solar Credits scheme was introduced by the federal government as part of the revised RET (Renewable Energy Target). It is a mechanism intended to boost support to households, businesses and community groups that install small-scale solar PV, wind and hydro electricity systems by multiplying the number of RECs able to be created for eligible installations.

Also known as the REC multiplier, the solar Credits Scheme multiplies the RECs to be created by 5, however is capped at 1.5kW. For systems greater than 1.5 kW, capacity over the 1.5kW is created at the 1:1 calculation.
The Solar Credits  Scheme applies to off grid and grid connect wind and solar power installations only – solar hot water rebates operate under completely different schemes.
Solar Credits are provided in the form of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for people who have installed a new solar PV system from 9 June 2009 and have not benefited from any other solar rebate scheme.Solar Credits apply to the first 1.5 kilowatts (kW) of capacity of the system installed.The level of support provided by Solar Credits depends on the price of RECs (which may vary over time) and the location and size of the system.

Solar Credits replace the support previously provided under the Solar Homes and Communities Plan, within the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA). For information on the Solar Homes and Communities Plan rebate, contact the DEWHA Community Information Unit: 1800 803 772.Systems installed on or after 9 June 2009, where no application has been made up to that date for pre-approval under the Solar Homes and Communities Plan, will be entitled to Solar Credits under the Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme rather than the rebate.

In practice, installers of solar photovoltaics (PV) systems usually offer a discount on the price of installing a solar PV system in return for the Solar Credits.

The level of support provided by Solar Credits will depend on the price of RECs (which may vary over time) and the location and size of the system. For example, based on a $40 REC price in 2010, the Solar Credit multiplier will provide the following:

A solar PV system in Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra will receive:  103 RECs = $4,120 for a 1 kW system; and – 155 RECs $6,200 for a 1.5 kW system.

A solar PV system installed in Melbourne or Hobart will receive fewer RECs as these areas have less sunshine so less renewable energy is produced, but will receive: 88 RECs = $3,520 for a 1 kW system; and 133 RECs = $5,320 for a 1.5 kW system.

As REC prices vary month to month, please Contact a Clean Energy Consultant to confirm the eligible Solar Credits value for the solar system you are interested in purchasing.

The Solar Credits scheme will multiply the REC value by 5 from 2009 until June 30th 2012. From July 2012 the multiplier effect gradually decreases to;
  • 2012 – 2013          Multiplies by 4
  • 2013 – 2014          Multiplies by 3
  • 2014 – 2015          Multiplies by 2
  • From July 2015 there will be no multiplier

 

Eligibility requirements/rules for Solar Credits


The eligibility rules are prescribed in the RET scheme regulations, administered by the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator (ORER).
  • The system must be an eligible ‘small generation unit’; being a solar PV system of up to 100 kilowatts (kW) capacity; a small wind turbine of up to 10kW capacity or a micro-hydro system of up to 6.4 kW capacity.
  • The system must be installed at an eligible premises. Examples include houses, townhouses, residential apartments and shops.
  • The system must be a new and complete unit.
  • There is to be no ‘double-dipping’ in relation to the Solar Homes and Communities Plan, the Renewable Remote Power Generation Program (RRPGP), or the National Solar Schools Program (NSSP). That is, a premises receiving a grant or rebate under any of these programs is not entitled to Solar Credits.
  • No more than one system at eligible premises (address) is entitled to Solar Credits.
  • Solar Credits may only be created once for a particular installation, irrespective of whether the certificates are created for a 1-year, 5-year or 15 year deeming period.
  • The system must have been installed no more than 12 months prior to the date of application for Solar Credits.

Details of the rules are available on the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator (ORER) website.


Solar Credits is not means tested, so anyone who meets the criteria can get them.

You can claim Solar Credits on the first 1.5kW of small-scale solar PV, wind and hydro. For systems greater than 1.5kW you get Solar Credits for the first 1.5kW then RECs at the normal 1:1 ratio for the rest of the system.

No. If you've received approval or pre-approval for Commonwealth government rebates then you can't get Solar Credits. The rebates include;
  • The Solar Homes and Communities Plan (SHCP)
  • National Solar Schools Program (NSSP)
  • Photovoltaic Rebate Programme (PVRP)
  • Renewable Remote Power Generation Program (RRPGP)

If the second Solar PV Power system is installed at a different address to the first, and you haven't received either a rebate (refer to the question above) or Solar Credits on this second system, then you should be eligible to claim Solar Credits.If this second system is an addition to a first system at the same address, and you haven't received either a rebate (refer to the question above) or Solar Credits on the first system, then you should be eligible to claim Solar Credits. However, this should be first confirmed with the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator (ORER)  www.orer.gov.au.

No. Only new and complete systems can claim Solar Credits. In other words, the unit must not need any additional parts to produce electricity.

You can only ever create Solar Credits once per system. You can choose to claim RECs in 1, 5 or 15 year deeming periods; however you can only ever claim Solar Credits on one of these periods i.e. if you choose to claim Solar Credits in 5 year periods you can only claim them for one of these periods.Solar Credits are most effective financially when claimed in the full 15 year period.

No.  Appropriate safeguards will be put in place to prevent double dipping in relation to the multiplier and the SHCP rebate.

Yes. Solar Credits can only be created for systems installed on or after 9 June 2009.

You can only claim Solar Credits AFTER your system’s been installed and you must make the claim within 12 months of the installation date.
  • Houses, including the land the house is built on and outbuildings
  • Townhouse, apartment etc (each unit/flat is eligible for Solar Credits)
  • School Buildings


Other premises located at an address including:

  • Businesses – e.g. motel, hotel, caravan park, hospital, nursing Homes (but each room is NOT an eligible premise)
  • Shops – including each shop in a shopping mall/ complex. A shop located on the same land as a house is a separate premises
  • The premises where a community group or institution carries on its activities e.g. Scout hall
  • If a farm has more than1 house, each can get Solar Credits.


Premises not eligible for Solar Credits include?

  • Home offices located within a house
  • Street lights and signs
  • Mobile phone towers
  • Boats
  • Mobile homes (caravans)

  • Home offices located within a house
  • Street lights and signs
  • Mobile phone towers
  • Boats
  • Mobile homes (caravans)


In order to maximise your payment Solar Credits are generally claimed as 15 years deeming. You will not be able to claim 15 years deeming unless the system has been installed by an installer accredited with the Clean Energy Council. The regulator requires the installer’s accreditation in order to create RECs.

Yes, remote power systems are able to claim Solar Credits providing they meet all eligibility criteria.
 

What can Solar Credits be claimed on?

Yes, remote power systems are able to claim Solar Credits providing they meet all eligibility criteria.

In order to maximise your payment Solar Credits are generally claimed as 15 years deeming. You will not be able to claim 15 years deeming unless the system has been installed by an installer accredited with the Clean Energy Council. The regulator requires the installer’s accreditation in order to create RECs.
  • Houses, including the land the house is built on and outbuildings
  • Townhouse, apartment etc (each unit/flat is eligible for Solar Credits)
  • School Buildings


Other premises located at an address including:

  • Businesses – e.g. motel, hotel, caravan park, hospital, nursing Homes (but each room is NOT an eligible premise)
  • Shops – including each shop in a shopping mall/ complex. A shop located on the same land as a house is a separate premises
  • The premises where a community group or institution carries on its activities e.g. Scout hall
  • If a farm has more than1 house, each can get Solar Credits.


Premises not eligible for Solar Credits include?

  • Home offices located within a house
  • Street lights and signs
  • Mobile phone towers
  • Boats
  • Mobile homes (caravans)

  • Home offices located within a house
  • Street lights and signs
  • Mobile phone towers
  • Boats
  • Mobile homes (caravans)

 

Applying for Solar Credits


Solar Credits are provided in the form of  additional tradeable Renewable Energy Certificates or ‘RECs’ for eligible small-scale solar PV, wind and hydro electricity systems installed after 9 June 2009.System owners can apply for Solar Credits and sell the Rewnable Energy Certificates (RECs) themselves, however, in practice this can be a time consuming and confusing process for many. The Clean Energy Centre makes this easy for customers, offering a discount on the price of a solar PV system, or a cash payment, in return for the Solar Credits and RECs.


You can only ever create Solar Credits once per system. You can choose to claim RECs in 1, 5 or 15 year deeming periods; however you can only ever claim Solar Credits on one of these periods i.e. if you choose to claim Solar Credits in 5 year periods you can only claim them for one of these periods.Solar Credits are most effective financially when claimed in the full 15 year period.

Generally when installing solar PV systems, owners transfer the right to create RECs to their solar panel installer in return for a discount on the price of the system being installed.

Owners of solar PV systems installed from 9 June 2009 can access Solar Credits themselves, rather than transferring their Solar Credits to their installer in return for a discount off the price of the system. Owners can do this (generally through an agent) by applying to the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator (ORER) any time within 12 months following the date of installation.Further information on accessing Solar Credits directly is available from Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator (ORER); www.orer.gov.au


Solar Credits replace the support previously provided under the Solar Homes and Communities Plan, within the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA). For information on the Solar Homes and Communities Plan rebate, contact the DEWHA Community Information Unit: 1800 803 772.Systems installed on or after 9 June 2009, where no application has been made up to that date for pre-approval under the Solar Homes and Communities Plan, will be entitled to Solar Credits under the Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme rather than the rebate.

In practice, installers of solar photovoltaics (PV) systems usually offer a discount on the price of installing a solar PV system in return for the Solar Credits.

You can only claim Solar Credits AFTER your system’s been installed and you must make the claim within 12 months of the installation date.

Generally when installing Solar PV Power systems, owners transfer the right to create RECs to their solar panel installer in return for a discount on the price of the system being installed.Owners of Solar PV Power systems can access Solar Credits themselves, rather than transferring their Solar Credits to their installer in return for a discount off the price of the system. Owners can do this (generally through an agent) by applying to the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator (ORER) any time within 12 months following the date of installation.

Further information on accessing Solar Credits directly is available from Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator (ORER)  www.orer.gov.au


In order to maximise your payment Solar Credits are generally claimed as 15 years deeming. You will not be able to claim 15 years deeming unless the system has been installed by an installer accredited with the Clean Energy Council. The regulator requires the installer’s accreditation in order to create RECs.
 

Claiming Solar Credits


You can only claim Solar Credits AFTER your system’s been installed and you must make the claim within 12 months of the installation date.

In order to maximise your payment Solar Credits are generally claimed as 15 years deeming. You will not be able to claim 15 years deeming unless the system has been installed by an installer accredited with the Clean Energy Council. The regulator requires the installer’s accreditation in order to create RECs.
 
Solar Credits relevance to Renewable Energy Certificates and Different Locations within Australia



The Federal Government introduced the Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) system to incentivise an increase in the amount of electricity generated by renewable sources. A REC is a electronic form of currency that accompany qualifying renewable energy generators such as Solar PV Power, Solar Hot Water and Wind Generators to incentivise an increase in the amount of electricity generated by renewable sources.  A REC works in a similar way as a share certificate, representing a unit of value controlled by market forces of supply and demand and can fluctuate depending on market conditions. RECs are common traded in with the certified agent, such as The Clean Energy Centre, to provide an upfront discount on the investment cost of a solar PV Power or Solar Hot Water system.

Read more on how Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) work and their importance in purchasing a Solar PV Power system....The Solar Credits Scheme multiplies the quantity of RECs x 5, which are applied to the first 1.5kW in the overall system size. A Solar PV Power installation larger than 1.5 kW, e.g. 2 kW, will receive the solar credit multiplier for RECs value up to 1.5 kW, and then the standard RECs allocation for the remaining balance of system kW; such as in our example; 0.5kW (2kw – 1.5kW = 0.5 kW).

The level of support provided by Solar Credits will depend on the price of RECs (which may vary over time) and the location and size of the system. For example, based on a $40 REC price in 2010, the Solar Credit multiplier will provide the following:

A Solar PV Power system in Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra will receive:  103 RECs = $4,120 for a 1 kW system; and – 155 RECs $6,200 for a 1.5 kW system.

A Solar PV Power system installed in Melbourne or Hobart will receive fewer RECs as these areas have less sunshine so less renewable energy is produced, but will receive: 88 RECs = $3,520 for a 1 kW system; and 133 RECs = $5,320 for a 1.5 kW system.

As REC prices vary month to month, please contact the Clean Energy Consultant to confirm the eligible Solar Credits value for the solar system you are interested in purchasing.


1 REC represents 1 megawatt hour of electricity produced by a renewable energy source. Phantom RECs refers to the extra 4x RECs produced through Solar Credits, which don’t represent any additional renewable energy generation. The term is popular in the media.

The Solar Credits rebate levels are based on two elements:
  1. The applicable Solar Zone;
    The quantity of RECs allocated to a Solar PV Power system is also determined by which Solar Zone the installation is located.
  2. The current REC values;
    Solar Credits are a multiple of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), certificates allocated to the purchase and installation of qualifying solar power equipment. Read more information on RECs...

Australia is segmented into four Solar Zones in accordance to the amount of average days and intensity of sunshine and, thus, the solar system’s ability to generate clean energy from the sun in a given area.  You can determine your zone here....

The number of Solar Credits created for a system will depend on the Solar Zone RECs value, and hence the amount of renewable energy the system generates.Solar Zone Map Australia, Solar Credits, Renewable Energy  Certificates, REC, RECs, Solar PV Power, Grid Connect Solar PV Power,  Solar Hot Water - The Clean Energy Centre

  • A solar PV system in Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra all fall into Solar Zone 3, and hence will create the same number of RECs and receive the same amount of support.
  • The same sized system installed in Melbourne or Hobart falls into Solar Zone 4 and will receive fewer RECs as these areas have less sunshine so less renewable energy is produced.

Read more on how the Solar Zone works and thesolar Zone of your location.....



The Solar Credits rebate levels are based on two elements – Solar Zoning and REC values.

RECs:
Solar Credits are a multiple of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). These certificates are allocated to the purchase and installation of qualifying solar power equipment. These certificates can be traded in for cash or as a point of sale discount with companies such as The Clean Energy Centre. Their values are controlled by market forces; meaning they can fluctuate up and down continuously. More information on RECs...

Solar Zone:
The quantity of RECs allocated to a Solar PV Power system is also determined by which Solar Zone the installation is located.

Australia is segmented into Solar Zones in accordance to the amount of average days and intensity of sunshine and, thus, the solar system’s ability to generate clean energy from the sun in a given area.  You can determine your Solar Zone here....Each Solar Zone has a REC quantity assignment value, calculated relevant to the Solar Zones ability to generate clean energy from the sun. The quantity of RECs eligible within a zone will determine the overall RECs discount you will receive off the overall price of the Solar PV Power or Solar Hot Water system. Areas such as Northern and Central Australia are generally sunnier climates, therefore allocated to Zone 1.

Renewable Energy Certificate Solar Zone Australia, Solar Credits    Scheme, Renewable Energy Certificate, Solar PV Power, Solar Hot Water -    The Clean Energy CentreCapital cities such as Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth are allocated to Zones 3.
Melbourne and Hobart are allocated to Zone 4 due to their cooler climates. This system aims to recognize locations that provide great sunlight, therefore greater clean energy capacity.Overview of the Solar Credit Multiplier per Solar Zone:
Zone 4 = 130 RECs = $5,200 (@ $40 per REC)
Zone 3 = 155 RECs = $6,200 (@ $40 per REC)
Zone 2 = 170 RECs = $6,800 (@ $40 per REC)
Zone 1 = 180 RECs = $7,200 (@ $40 per REC)