The rising awareness about the importance of green energy encourages consumers to do things differently. Unfortunately, making the right decisions for the environment can sometimes be a costly process. Purchasing solar panels and environmentally-friendly portable power stations are significant steps toward creating a carbon-free world, but some of us just don’t have the budget.
Thankfully, Australia has come up with various solutions to make being green a less expensive endeavour. One way the government encourages consumers to switch to clean renewable energy is through solar power incentives and tax breaks. But what does that mean, and are you eligible?
We’ll answer both of those questions in full, so stick around!
What are the Federal Solar Power Tax Breaks?
Solar power tax breaks, also known as rebates, are a variety of financial initiatives designed to encourage customers to generate their energy using the sun. They aim to assist Australian consumers with affording or offsetting the up-front costs of installing solar PV systems.
The Australian government has created multiple initiatives to reach its Renewable Energy Target. The first is the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme, a programme that encourages individuals and small businesses to install renewable energy systems. These systems can include solar-powered panels, heat pumps, water heaters, and other renewable energy technologies.
Eligible participants can either receive a discount for the upfront system costs or qualify for small-scale technology certificates (STCs). Recipients of STCs can use the certificates to recoup the costs of purchasing and installing the solar system. Each certificate is equal to one-megawatt hour of renewable electricity. The number of certificates created per system depends on the installation date and the amount of electricity generated.
The other initiative is the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target. The LRET is concerned with installing large-scale, renewable power stations throughout the country. The programme provides large-scale generation certificates (LGCs) to eligible energy providers to sell to companies and individuals that use renewable electricity.
Solar power tax breaks make renewable energy more accessible for consumers throughout Australia.
Are You Eligible for Solar Power Tax Breaks?
Eligibility varies almost entirely between states, so the criteria for New South Wales residents could differ enormously from the criteria in Victoria. However, the unifying factor for eligibility is the development or installation of solar power generators. If you plan to add solar panels or similar renewable energy devices to your home, read up on your state’s policies. We have more info on this below.
Solar Power Incentives and Tax Breaks in New South Wales
Initially, New South Wales offered a Solar Bonus Scheme, but this ended in December 2016. Now it has been replaced with two incentive programs designed to turn homeowners toward solar power.
Solar for Low-Income Households
Do you live in a low-income household in NSW, including South Sydney, Central Coast, North Coast, South Coast, or Illawarra Shoalhaven? You could be eligible for the program targeting solar for low-income households.
Eligible residents may qualify for a free 3kWh system. To participate, you must own your home and be in a position where you can forgo your low-income household rebate for ten years in exchange for the system.
The Empowering Homes Program
The Empowering Homes program features an interest-free loan to eligible New South Wales residents for installing a new solar battery or adding a new one to an existing system. For a new system, homeowners can receive up to $14,000. To upgrade an old system, you could receive a loan of up to $9,000.
To be eligible, you must have an annual household income of less than $180,000. This offer is only available in select suburbs.
Solar Power Incentives and Tax Breaks in Victoria
If you live in Victoria, a wide range of incentive programs lets you power your home with green energy.
Solar Battery Rebate
If you are a homeowner and intend to install a solar battery, you may be eligible for a ‘point of sale discount’ of up to $2950.
To be eligible, you must own your home outright and already possess an existing renewable energy system with a power rating equal to or greater than 5kWh. You must also have a combined annual household income of less than $180,000, and the energy storage system must be on Solar Victoria’s Approved Battery List.
Virtual Power Plant Pilot Program
This pilot program expands the solar battery rebate and allows residents to join the Virtual Power Plant program. The policy offers a rebate of $4174 to install an approved battery system. The eligibility for this program is identical to the Solar Battery rebate described above.
Solar PV Panel Rebate
This program provides a rebate of $1400 on installing PV panels, available to homeowners and residents of rental properties.
There is also an interest-free loan available of the equivalent amount. Homeowners must pay it off within four years, and it is only applicable for homeowners that do not already possess a PV system and have a combined annual household income of less than $180,000.
Solar Hot Water Rebate
This rebate provides Victorian residents with a rebate of up to $1000 to install a solar hot water or heat pump water system. Eligibility dictates that you are a homeowner, have not received a previous rebate as part of the solar battery or PV panel scheme, and possess an annual household income of $180,000 or less.
Solar Power Incentives and Tax Breaks in Queensland
Compared to the above states, Queensland offers little in the way of solar power incentives. It mainly supports residents switching to solar power through feed-in tariffs.
What Are Solar Feed-In Tariffs?
Solar feed-in tariffs are small credit rebates that apply to energy produced by a solar system or similar small-scale generator. The more electricity you generate via renewable sources, the larger your credit rebate will be.
The rebates are not provided as cash-in-hand but as a series of deductions to your standard energy bill.
Solar Power Incentives and Tax Breaks in the Australian Capital Territory
Various incentive schemes are available in the Australian Capital Territories.
Sustainable Household Scheme
Through the Sustainable Household Scheme, homeowners can receive an interest-free loan valued between $2000-$15,000 to fund rooftop PV panels and household battery storage systems. Purchases of these products can be entirely paid for via this loan, provided the total does not exceed the maximum of $15,000.
Home Energy Support Program
If you are eligible for the Home Energy Support program, you can receive up to $5000 in rebates for energy-efficient upgrades. The $5000 breaks down into two categories: $2500 for PV panel installation and a further $2500 if residents also install hot water pumps or ceiling insulation.
Eligibility relies upon a Pensioner Concession Card or a DVA Gold Card, and the resident must own the respective property.
Next-Gen Energy Storage Program
Homeowners can earn a discount off their solar battery purchase of $3500 or a reduction of 50%, depending on which is the lower amount.
Eligibility relies upon residents already owning a renewable energy system and never having received financial assistance from a program in the past. One of the retailers listed on the ACT government website must also install the new system.
Most people are aware of the necessity of moving away from fossil fuels and the benefits of installing a clean, renewable energy source in their homes. Unfortunately, the upfront investment required can present a significant barrier to entry.
Australia’s many solar power incentives can help you switch to a renewable energy source that will lower your carbon footprint and save you money in the long run.