New South Wales is leading Australia’s uptake of solar energy, with around 24.6% of households installing solar panels and batteries in the last 10 years. According to the Net Zero Plan, the NSW government is striving for net-zero emissions by 2050. To make this possible, the NSW government is offering grants and rebates that encourage small businesses and homeowners to switch to renewable energy sources.
Read on to understand your options when installing solar panels in your NSW home. This guide will cover the Empowering Homes Solar Rebate and the Solar For Low Income Households Grant, giving you everything you need to know about your government’s support.
Empowering Homes Solar Rebate
The Empowering Homes Solar Rebate aims to help homeowners in eligible postcodes transition to renewable energy by providing interest-free loans for the initial cost of the panels.
What’s On Offer?
For households in the eligible postcodes given by the NSW government, there are two main options to choose from:
- A $14,000 loan that covers a combined solar panel and battery system to be repaid interest-free over a period of 8 years.
- A $9,000 loan that covers the installation of a solar battery to a pre-existing solar system to be repaid interest-free over a period of up to 10 years.
Your solar panels and the solar battery will receive an extended warranty of 10 years following installation.
To be eligible for the Empowering Homes Solar Rebate, you must pass the following requirements:
- Your household must be located in the postcodes laid out by the NSW government.
- You must earn less than $180,000 per year.
- You must live in a grid-connected home.
- You must own your home and have the authority to install panels.
- You must satisfy the loan criteria.
Before you apply for an Empowering Homes Solar Rebate, you must make some considerations to determine if a solar battery will be a beneficial investment for your household. You will likely benefit from installing a solar battery if:
- You have a high household energy consumption (over 6,000kWh per year).
- You use most of your electricity in the mornings and evenings.
- You are willing to switch to a fixed time of use tariff with your electricity provider.
- You already have a commitment to energy-saving measures.
How To Apply
To apply for an Empowering Homes Rebate, there are three simple steps:
- Find a solar installer that is a member of the Clean Energy Council, like SolarPath.
- Ask for a quote from SolarPath.
- Retrieve a quote record to complete your loan application process.
Once your loan has been approved, SolarPath will contact you to arrange the installation of your solar panels.
Solar for Low-Income Households
The NSW government is offering low-income households the opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint and opt for cleaner energy solutions.
What’s On Offer?
The Solar for Low Income Households trial provides pensioners in eligible households with a free 3kW solar system installation, with the aim of reducing overall energy costs by up to $600 a year.
To be eligible for the trial, you must:
- Reside in one of the eligible regions pinned for the trial.
- Own your home – you may still be eligible if your spouse owns the home.
- Currently receive the Low-Income Household Rebate.
- Hold a valid Pensioner Concession Card or Department of Veteran Affairs Gold Card.
- Not already have a solar PV system installed.
Before applying, you must first determine whether the Solar For Low-Income Households rebate is right for you, you should read theguidelines and frequently asked questions laid out by the NSW government to help you.
How To Apply
To apply for the trial, simply visit the NSW website and click the ‘Apply Now’ button. Then, register an account and complete the eligibility and consent forms. To do this, you will need:
- An electricity bill – to prove you currently receive the Low-Income Household Rebate.
- A photo or scan of your Pensioner Concession Card or Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card.
Once you have completed the eligibility and consent forms, you can submit your application for review.
Assistance for Regional Businesses
For regional businesses, the Regional Community Energy Fund is developing grants and incentives to help households and small businesses manage their energy costs. These initiatives include:
- Grants for energy projects that benefit the local community
- Funding for regional energy hubs to give households and small businesses the support and resources they need to access expert advice and manage energy use.
Homeowners and small businesses are also able to take advantage of feed-in tariffs. Excess electricity produced by your grid is purchased back at a rate set by your energy provider.
The production of solar energy is usually at its highest while the demand for energy is at its lowest (between 8.30 am – 4 pm). Because of this, the rate for feed-in tariffs is not high, usually sitting between 3-6c per kW.
The Small-Scale Renewable Energy and Small-Scale Technology Certificate Schemes
There is a Federal Government rebate called STC. This is the number of small-scale technology certificates SolarPath receives per watt panel installed. We normally offer customers quotes that include the government rebate where they pay the balance. For example, if a system costs $6500 and the government is providing a $3000 rebate, then you will only have to pay $3500. Please note, this rebate is reduced at the end of this year on the 31st December.
You will receive more rebate for a larger size system than a smaller one. This is because the rebate is offered per watt, so the more panels you have, the more rebate you will receive.
In addition, the Federal Government also offers the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) for households and small businesses that install an eligible small-scale renewable energy system. The SRES provides a running benefit that can help with the initial costs of installation and maintenance.
By installing an eligible system under the SRES, a household or business is granted Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs) with a value that can be redeemed by selling or assigning them to your energy provider.
The number of STCs created is dependent on the amount of renewable energy the system produces and the region in which it is installed, taking physical location into account. Australia is split into four STC zones, with Zone 1 receiving the most STCs and Zone 3 the fewest. Most of NSW sits in Zone 2, although the North-west area around Byron Bay is in Zone 1. In terms of the number of STCs awarded, for instance, homes in the outback and northern territories will likely get more STCs per Kw than those in New South Wales. Those with postcodes in these locations are granted a higher discount with the STC solar discount scheme.
Need Help with your Solar Installation?
There are plenty of options for a household looking to install solar panels and reduce their energy costs. If you’d like to find out if you’re eligible for any of these incentives or would like to learn more about solar power and what our services can do for you, contact Solar Path and speak to one of our expert energy consultants today.