Government Schemes

Federal Government

The current Labour Government has cancelled many of the Liberals’ rebates, making it more difficult for environmentally aware Australians to fund solar energy for their homes. However, this government is investing in large-scale ‘Solar Cities’ campaigns.

Solar Credits Scheme

Solar Credits assist with the upfront costs of installing small-scale renewable energy systems, including household solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Solar Credits, which is part of the expanded national Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme, will provide extra Renewable Energy Certificates, which are also called RECs, to households and businesses that install eligible small scale solar PV, wind and hydro electricity systems.

Under the Solar Credits arrangements, eligible systems installed before mid-2011 will get five RECs for every REC the system would otherwise receive.

Solar Credits apply to the first 1.5 kilowatts (kW) of capacity installed; generation from capacity above 1.5 kW will still be eligible for the standard 1:1 rate of RECs creation.


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Solar Credits for Off Grid Installations

With recent changes to the Renewable Energy Regulations there are now provisions to increase the kilowatt (kW) capacity limit for which the Solar Credits multiplier applies in relation to off-grid small generation unit installations up to the first 20 kW of a system capacity subject to an annual cap in the total number of certificates.

Under the new amendments small generation units are eligible for Solar Credit RECs up to the first 20 kW of system capacity if:

  • The system is an off-grid small generation unit (as defined below).
  • Was installed after 28 June 2010 and before 1 July 2015.
  • Must be eligible for solar credits.
  • RECs are created before the annual financial year cap is met for installations which occur in that financial year.

Where these requirements are met the effect of the regulations is that the current solar credits multiplier (e.g. 5 for small generation units installed before 30 June 2011) applies to the first 20kW of system capacity rather than only the first 1.5kW. When the annual cap is reached for each year the standard 1.5kW system capacity for Solar Credits will apply.


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NSW Solar Bonus Scheme

NSW has effectively scrapped the Solar Bonus Scheme, as of 27th October 2010. SEIA are currently working hard with the Greens and the Opposition to find a workable, equitable and fair Feed In Tariff to ensure the sustainability of the Solar Industry in NSW.

SEIA are also actively campaigning for a National Feed-In Tariff and Australia-wide regulations and commitment to ensure that the Industry is equitable right across Australia.


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Queensland Solar Bonus Scheme

The Queensland Government Solar Bonus Scheme (the Scheme) pays households and other small customers for the surplus electricity generated from roof-top solar photovoltaic (PV) panel systems, which is exported to the Queensland electricity grid. The Scheme is designed to make solar power more affordable for Queenslanders, stimulate the solar power industry and encourage energy efficiency.

Customers participating in the Scheme will be paid 44 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for surplus electricity fed into the grid – more than double the current general domestic use tariff of 18.84c/kWh (inc GST as at 1 July 2009).


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SA Solar Feed-in Scheme

The Electricity (Feed-In Scheme-Solar Systems) Amendment Act 2008 was the first solar feed-in law in Australia and pays a premium guaranteed tariff of 44 cents per unit of electricity (kilowatt-hour, kWh), to households and small customers who feed solar electricity into the grid.

The law came into effect on 1 July 2008 and will extend for 20 years.

On the 31st of August 2010, the Premier and Minister for Sustainability and Climate Change, the Hon Mike Rann, announced the Government’s decision to make a number of changes to the scheme as a result of the10MW Review.

The Electricity (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2011 to amend the scheme was tabled in Parliament on 6 April 2011.

The intended changes to the scheme aim to increase the benefits to solar customers while limiting the total cost of the scheme to all customers in the state.

At a glance, the Government has introduced legislation to:

  • Increase the bonus, from 44 cents to 54 cents per kilowatt hour;
  • Obligate retailers who choose to contract with solar customers to pay a minimum rate for the power that they receive from the owners of solar panels;
  • Limit eligibility for payment of the bonus to the first 45 kilowatt hours exported to the grid per day;
  • Limit eligibility to one generator per customer;
  • Specifically exclude generators operated primarily for the purpose of generating a profit from the scheme; and
  • Close the scheme to new entrants on 1 October 2011.


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VIC Feed-in Tariffs

Victoria has two programs that allow consumers to be credited for renewable electricity they feed into the state’s grid – a premium feed-in tariff for solar and standard feed-in tariff for other small-scale renewable energy systems.

Feed-in tariffs reward people who are producing their own renewable energy by allowing them to receive a standard rate or more for any power they feed into the grid.

Premium Feed-in Tariff

Victoria’s premium feed-in tariff offers Victorians with small-scale solar PV systems of up to five kilowatts in size a guaranteed minimum credit of at least 60 cents per kilowatt hour for excess electricity fed back into the grid at any time of the day or year.

The premium solar feed-in tariff started on 1 November 2009 and is available to customers signed up under the scheme for the next 15 years. The scheme will be capped at a total capacity of 100 megawatts of solar power across the state, which means once this limit is reached new customers will not be able to sign up.

Standard Feed-in Tariff

Victoria’s standard feed-in tariff is available to households, community organisations and small businesses generating clean electricity from wind, solar, hydro and biomass sources with a generation capacity of up to 100 kilowatts.

The standard feed-in tariff allows eligible customers to sign up and receive a “one-for-one” payment rate for any excess electricity they feed back into the state’s electricity grid.


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Northern Territory Feed-in Tariffs

Currently Power and Water is offering 19.23 cents per kWh for residential customers, 22.37 cents per kWh for commercial customers.


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WA Feed-in Tariffs

A residential net feed-in tariff scheme will commence in Western Australia from 1 August 2010. The tariff will be paid per unit of net electricity exported to the electricity grid from eligible systems.

Scheme Design Parameters

  • Rate – 40 c/kWh for net electricity exported to the grid for applications received before 1st July 2011. Applications received from 1st July 2011 a new rate of 20c per kilowatt hour will apply. This rate is in addition to buyback schemes offered through Synergy and Horizon Power.
  • Recipients will receive payments for 10 years.
  • System size must be consistent with Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme and will be limited to 5kW for Synergy customers and 10kW per phase (30kW in total) for Horizon Power customers.
  • The scheme will be reviewed every 3 years or 10MW of new generation to assess the ongoing level of support required in light of changing economics and technologies.


  • Includes photovoltaic, wind and micro-hydro energy technologies. Emerging technologies may be included upon review.
  • Scheme is open to residential applicants only.
  • Includes all current and future eligible systems.
  • The system must be owned by the home owner (including tenanted properties).
  • Applicant must also be eligible for and participate in the Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme.


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ACT Feed-in Tariffs

Stage 1 of the Scheme (Micro Feed in Tariff) aimed at householders and small business commenced on 1 March 2009. The Scheme is available to all ACT electricity customers (except non-educational Government agencies) with generation facilities of no greater capacity than 30kW. All schools and educational institutions, both public and private, are eligible to access the Scheme.

Systems connected between 1 March 2009 and 30 June 2010 will receive a Premium Price of 50.05 cents per kWh generated, for systems up to 10kW, and 40.04 cents per kWh for systems between 10kW and 30kW. From 1 July 2010 until 30 June 2011, the Premium Price will be 45.7c per kWh for all systems up to 30kW.

Micro Feed in Tariff is now closed – Media release: Micro Feed-in Tariff closes 1 June 2011

Stage 2 of the Electricity Feed-in Tariff, passed by the ACT Government on 17 February 2011, will expand the existing Feed-in Tariff Scheme with the following elements:

  • Renaming the existing household component as Micro Generator.
  • Creation of the Medium Generator and the Community Based Generation category for generators between 30kW and 200kW (category cap of 15MW).
  • Introduction of capacity caps for both new categories (15MW each).
  • Provide for a mechanism by which the Premium Price applicable to each category may be set and reviewed.
  • Extend scheme eligibility to include not-for-profit community organisations.

An information sheet on the changes is available here (PDF 177KB).


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