Solar Rebates in NSW 2014

Financial solar rebates and incentives in New South Wales have changed dramatically over the last 5 years making it difficult to find a simple answer on what you are eligible to receive when you purchase a solar system in today’s terms.

In short, households installing solar in New South Wales are eligible for two types of rebates. The first is a federal government rebate which generally comes in the form of an upfront discount off the price of your system. This rebate is called the Solar Credits Scheme and has been around since August 2009, when it was introduced by the federal Labour government. The second comes in the form of something called a feed-in tariff where any surplus power generated from the solar system is fed back into the grid, and you receive credit on your electricity bill.

With this in mind, how much can households expect to receive for each kWh (kilowatt hour) they put back into the grid and what kind of financial assistance can people expect in total from rebates in NSW? While the answers can only be rough estimates, this article will enlighten you on the rebate system so that you can make more informed choices regarding solar power in the future.

solar roof

Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme

This is a federal government initiative to increase the amount of renewable electricity produced in Australia. The main focus of the scheme is subsidising people who install a small-scale rooftop solar system. How much you will be subsidised will depend on the size of the system and your location, but it will generally take a sizable $1-4,000 chunk off the upfront cost of installation.

Net Feed-in Tariffs

Net feed-in tariffs are the only sort of feed-in arrangements available in NSW and throughout Australia. This system pays you for surplus energy that goes back into the grid. Any energy that is not exported is used by the home. The financial benefit of net metring is not relying on electricity from the grid, which reduces your quarterly bill.

New Customers

The NSW Government announced that they had closed applications for the NSW Solar Bonus Scheme on May 13, 2011. New solar power customers are no longer eligible for the scheme.

New customers in NSW can only receive a feed-in tariff from individual electricity retailers. Unfortunately, there is no mandatory minimal feed-in tariff for the state, which means retailers can value exported solar power as they wish. In some cases, retailers will offer nothing.

It is best to shop around to see who can give you the best rate from for the feed-in tariff. To find out how much retailers are offering in NSW, click here. These prices are likely to change, so it is advisable to contact the retailers directly to find out what they are currently offering.

Existing Customers

Households that receive the NSW Solar Bonus Scheme will continue to do so. The 20c or 60c/kWh tariff will still apply as long as customers meet the criteria for each scheme.

How much can I expect?

It is cost-effective to have a solar power system installed for three reasons.

  1. The cost of solar photovoltaics has dropped due to the small-scale renewable energy scheme and strong competition from manufacturers in China.
  2. Solar power will drastically reduce your electricity bill because you are not using energy from the grid.
  3. The price of electricity has steadily risen over the past few years in NSW with a push from power companies to increase it yet again to maintain their networks

Future Predictions

IPART (Independent Pricing & Regulatory Tribunal) is recommending that a minimum feed-in tariff be introduced in NSW. For 2014/15, they believe retailers should pay at least 5.3c/kWh for solar energy going back in the grid. That’s lower than their previous suggestion of 6.6/kWh. Whether this rate plateaus or drops further remains to be seen. At this point in time it is very difficult to predict.

The Australian Government is currently reviewing the incentives which give a rebate to customers installing a solar power system. The outcome of this review is uncertain, however there is some speculation that it could end as early as 2020, in which case it would be prudent for customers to install a solar power system sooner rather than later.

Are you thinking about getting a solar power system?

Purchasing a solar power system can seem overwhelming because there are so many factors to consider. However, we offer a service that gives you three quotes from installers in your area – and best of all, it’s free!

Simply provide us with details about your property and the type of solar power system you were considering and we’ll take care of the rest. It’s as easy as that.


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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.