In the last ten years, Australians have widely adopted solar energy, with approximately 30% of households in the country utilising rooftop solar panels.
It marks the highest global percentage of solar uptake. As of January 31, 2022, over 3 million rooftop solar panel systems have been installed across Australia.
It was only possible because of solar and battery rebates in Australia. Check out the best solar rebate and incentive guide to know the detailed state-by-state government programs. Today, we’ll talk about the financial year 2023–2024 updates.
These solar PV systems are designed as long-term investments, offering cost savings by providing free electricity during daylight hours once the initial cost is covered.
Furthermore, installing solar PV systems contributes to environmentally friendly electricity generation, as sunlight is converted into electricity without generating greenhouse emissions.
The success of solar PV systems in Australia is also attributed to supportive federal and state government programs encouraging solar installation and the incorporation of home storage batteries, such as the Tesla Powerwall 2.
Developments of Financial Year 2023-2024
As the conclusion of the fiscal year approaches, Australia readies itself for a series of significant modifications that commenced on July 1, 2023.
These adjustments include energy expenses, solar energy incentives, aged care, minimum wage, and additional sectors. The specifics of these upcoming changes emphasise their importance and potential effects on individuals and the broader community.
Cost of Living Rose
A surge in the cost of living is anticipated, marked by an expected increase in power bills. The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has verified that energy prices in NSW, South Australia, and southeast Queensland rose from 19.6% to 23.9% starting July 1, 2023. Small business proprietors are also slated to experience an increase in the upcoming fiscal year, ranging from 14.7% to 28.9%, depending on their location.
To address the financial strain caused by high energy bills, the Australian government has introduced a $500 relief payment for eligible households. The qualification criteria for this payment vary based on the state of residence, with each state having specific requirements.
For more details on the commitment of $3 billion from the federal budget 2023 to support households and small businesses with energy bill relief payments, please visit our page.
Solar Energy Rebates That are Affecting Homeowners and Renters
Solar energy incentives: Several states have implemented measures impacting homeowners and renters to promote the adoption of clean energy.
Recognising the significance of transitioning to sustainable energy sources, the governments of New South Wales (NSW), the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), and Western Australia (WA) have introduced various changes to solar rebates, incentives, and subsidies.
In NSW, the Solar for Low-Income Households Program seeks to enhance accessibility to solar energy for low-income households, thereby reducing power bills and promoting sustainable energy use in economically disadvantaged communities.
Effective July 1, 2023, the ACT Sustainable Household Scheme has introduced new eligibility criteria. Stand-alone homes (non-unit titled properties) with an unimproved value (UV) of $750,000 or less in 2022 are eligible for all scheme products except solar.
To qualify for solar under the scheme, the property’s UV 2022 must be $450,000 or less. Meanwhile, unit-titled properties are eligible for all program products if their unimproved value is $300,000 or less in 2022.
For Western Australian solar households in Perth and the southwest, Synergy is the power provider, offering a solar feed-in tariff (FiT) under the Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS).
As of July 1, 2023, DEBS rates for Synergy customers include peak rates of 10 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for electricity exported between 3 pm and 9 pm and off-peak rates of 2.25 cents per kWh for electricity exported between 9 pm and 3 pm.
Comparatively, in the 2021-2022 period, peak rates were set at 10 cents per kWh for electricity exported between 3 pm and 9 pm, while off-peak rates were 2.5 cents per kWh for electricity exported between 9 pm and 3 pm.
Increase in the Minimum Wage
Commencing on July 1, 2023, the minimum wage in Australia is set to experience an elevation, impacting numerous workers across diverse industries.
The Fair Work Commission determined the minimum wage rates. They declared a 2.5% raise, equivalent to $20.33 per week or approximately $1,057.80 annually for full-time employees.
This escalation is intended to tackle wage stagnation concerns and support workers in maintaining a reasonable standard of living.
It is essential to recognise that the extent of the minimum wage increase may vary based on different awards and employment sectors.
Hence, referring to the Fair Work Commission website or seeking professional guidance for precise details is advisable.
Government Incentive for Renewable Energy at the Federal Level
The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) introduced by the federal government is a financial encouragement. They are set up to adopt small-scale renewable energy systems, like solar panel systems, small-scale wind systems, small-scale hydro systems, solar water heaters, and air source heat pumps.
This initiative benefits Australia’s individuals and small businesses by generating Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs).
Established in 2011 to contribute to Australia’s Renewable Energy Target, the scheme has played a pivotal role in promoting the use of renewable energy.
The success of Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs) in boosting the demand for solar installations among households and small businesses is noteworthy.
Accessible to all Australians, STCs present a valuable incentive. They are applicable for solar panel installations up to 100 kW.
Each STC holds a monetary value that can be credited to the installer or traded on the open market for a point-of-sale solar rebate. The maximum number of certificates per solar system is determined by the system’s location, installation date, and electricity consumption measured in megawatt hours (MWh).
This includes electricity generated by a small-scale solar panel, wind, or hydro system over one or five years or a maximum deeming period and electricity displaced by a solar water heater or heat pump over a maximum deeming period.
The Renewable Energy Target speeds up the creation of tradable STCs, providing a financial incentive for increased electricity production from renewable sources.
These certificates are issued and distributed through the REC Registry, an online trading platform managed by the Clean Energy Regulator.
STCs are calculated within the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme based on the solar system’s location, installation date, and the duration over which they are generated.
The scheme is gradually being phased out, with the value of STCs decreasing annually on the 1st of January until 2030, when the scheme is set to conclude on December 31.
For further details on calculating STCs and solar credits, visit our page.
Governments at the state level
Feed-in Tariff (FiT) for electricity retailers
Rebates, Incentives, and Programs for Energy Efficiency Products
This program extends rebates or discounts on various energy-saving products and services, encompassing:
- Heating and cooling systems
- Water heating solutions
- Solar hot water installations
- In-home displays
- Window glazing
- Shower heads
- Clothes dryers
- Fridges and freezers
To avail of discounted goods and services under the program, households and businesses must collaborate with an accredited provider authorised to install items covered by the Victorian Energy Upgrades.
The program exclusively accepts accredited providers as participants.
The rebate or discount amount granted to a household or business is contingent on the specific type of upgraded product and the star rating of the new product.
For instance, a home could receive a rebate for installing a new 7-star energy-efficient refrigerator while upgrading from an inefficient electric or gas hot water system to a solar one.
For additional information about the VEU program, you can explore the Victorian Energy Upgrades website.