It’s nearly 2021 – don’t panic about solar rebates

Update December 2020:  This post was originally written in December 2019. The same principles apply each year until 2030. Do not be panicked into signing a contract for solar before January the first.

Original post: Of the many things that will change as we enter a new decade, one thing that people shouldn’t panic about is the slight reduction in the ‘rebates’ paid on new solar installations.

Some less scrupulous solar sales companies are using this change that happens on 1 January to panic people into signing contracts for solar installations.

Every year on 1 January there is a slight reduction in the number of ‘Small Technology Certificates’ or STCs that can be claimed on a completed solar installation.  This is a federal government scheme and is sometimes called the ‘solar rebate’. The scheme is being phased out by 2030, a sensible gradual change which reflects the continuing cost reduction in solar systems.

STCs reduce the upfront cost of a solar installation.  The impact of the change in 2020 is quite small, about $200 for a typical Tasmanian installation*.

STCs cannot be created and traded to reduce the upfront cost of an installation until after installation is completed. A company encouraging customers to sign up before 1 January is either misleading customers, or promising in effect to reduce their quote to match the reduced rebate.

The rules for getting the best value solar installation will be the same in 2020 as they are in 2019.” said Jack Gilding, the Executive Officer of the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Alliance.

They are:

  • you get what you pay for – solar is a long term investment and quality counts
  • make sure the sales company understands your requirements and matches a system to what you need – every roof and every household’s pattern of energy use is different
  • do your research, talk to friends who have installed solar, research company reviews, ask for names of recent customers in your area
  • make the right decision, not a fast decision
  • deal with companies that have offices in Tasmania and will be around to deal with problems and honour warranty claims
  • make sure that your system will be designed by a Clean Energy Council (CEC) accredited designer and will be installed by a CEC accredited installer

More information:

List of TREA members:

Official government calculator: Small generation unit STC calculator

I Want Energy: The Facts About the Changes in Rebates at Year End

* A 5 kW system in Tas can claim 71 STCs if installed in 2019 and 65 STCs in 2020 at a price of about $34 per STC.

Author: TREA

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