Australia

Facts on solar energy in Australia have been provided by solar panel installation experts from this country. For the best advice, please click the Thumbs Up button – the highest voted answers appear at the top! If you have further questions about installing solar energy systems in Australia, you can ask the question below and it will be submitted to our experts.

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Financial Incentives
- Feed-in tariffs and other government financial incentives

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Oct 9th 2013The Solar Bonus Scheme is a feed-in tariff paid to residential and small businesses using less than 100 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity per year. Customers are credited for the surplus electricity generated from roof-top solar photovoltaic (PV) systems that is exported back into the Queensland grid after the household load is met. Surplus electricity is produced at every instant that the PV system is producing more electricity than the household is using. The Solar Bonus of 44 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) will be credited for surplus electricity that is fed back into the grid.

Customers participating in the scheme will be credited 8c/kWh of electricity fed into the grid. The amount of credits received depends on the amount of power that is exported to the electricity grid.

The amount of electricity a customer sends to the grid will depend on how much energy is being consumed by the household while the solar panels are generating power. Electricity is only exported back to the electricity grid if the household demand for power is less than what the solar system is producing at a point in time.

Households may be able to maximise their solar bonus by improving the energy efficiency of their home during the day, in order to export more electricity to the grid, thereby receiving more credits. The optimum times for the export of power is when the household is out at work, school or play. As long as all appliances not required are turned off, the majority of power made by the solar system will then be exported back to the grid. Other ways to maximise the export of power is to use the high energy demand appliances like washing machines and dishwashers in the morning and evening, outside of the peak hours when the solar system is producing maximum power.

A 1.5kW system produces 7.5kW/hours of power a day on average in North Queensland. For every kW/hour exported back to the grid, the household will be credited 8c, which is about double the purchase price from the supplier. The number of credits is greatly dependant on the activities of the household during the day. This scheme makes householders more conscious of the power they are using throughout the day.

The solar bonus of 8c/kWh will be offered until 2028 for customers signing up to the scheme prior to it being reviewed after 10 years or when eight megawatts of capacity have been installed, whichever comes first. 

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Dec 17th 2013Australia experiences generous feed in tariffs in 2010 but these have been cut back across the country to a typical 8 cents (US dollar and Australian dollar are roughly the same) per kWh of surplus power.The Federal Government via the Small Technology Certificate scheme provides 1 certificate per 50W (approx) of solar panel power. A 5kW installation will generate 103 certificates (as at December 2013). Certificates are traded on the Clean Energy Market and are currently valued at $38, so the 'rebate' for a 5kW system is approximately $4000. The STC scheme is ultimately paid for by 'dirty' power producers, mostly coal fired power station operators who have to purchase a certain quote of certificates per quarter year, calculated as a percentage of their total energy power production.

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Jul 12th 2016Gov rebates still apply
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Other Benefits
- Eg. Energy Performance Certificate benefits for homes in UK

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Oct 9th 2013Small-scale Technology Certificates are issued for small scale solar photovoltaic systems and other renewable energy systems, including hotwater heat pumps. The number of certificates issued depend on the size, location and deeming period of the certificates. The certificates are a trading commodity and are traded on a market, hence fluctuate in value on a daily basis. The number of certificates you are eligible for depends on the size and type of system you install. For a 1.5kW Grid Connect System, you are entitled to 103 STCs under the Solar Credits Scheme.

The Solar Credits Scheme is currently available to residential, rental and commercial properties. The Solar Credits Scheme multiplies the number of the STCs by a factor of 3 for the first 1.5kW of a system.  Any additional kilowatt above 1.5kW receives further STCs discount with no multiplying effect.  The multiplier factor of 3 is applied until 30 June 2012, after this date it will reduce to 2 and then by one for every year thereafter until 2013. The discount on the system is determined by the number of STCs once the Solar Credits Scheme is applied.

Off Grid Power Systems are also eligible for the Solar Credits Scheme discount up to a size of 20kW.  An off grid power system is defined as being installed at least 1 kilometre from the nearest main-grid line or less than 1 kilometre from a main-grid line where the owner has provided written evidence from the local network service provider that the total cost of connecting the power to the main-grid is more than $30,000.

The Solar Credits Scheme multiplier will only apply to systems that have been installed prior to the annual STC cap being met of 250,000 STCs for the financial years of 2011 – 2013.

If the annual cap is equal or exceeded the Solar Credits multiplier immediately applies to only the first 1.5W of capacity installed. Generation from capacity above 1.5 kW will still be eligible for the 1:1 rate of STC creation.

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Aug 4th 2014No relevant

Recommended Sites
- Useful non-commercial solar websites for homeowners and businesses that want to learn more

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Oct 9th 2013Queensland Sustainability Declarations - Queensland Government Department of Infrastructure and Planning:
http://www.dsdip.qld.gov.au/

Australian Government - Department of the Environment:
http://www.climatechange.gov.au/

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) - Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator:
http://ret.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/

The Clean Energy Regulator is an independent FMA agency that administers the Renewable Energy Target, including the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target and the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.

Clean Energy Council:
http://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/

The Clean Energy Council is the peak body representing Australia's clean energy sector. It is an industry association made up of more than 600 member companies operating in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Australian Solar Institute - Solar Energy Research & Development:
http://www.australiansolarinstitute.com.au/

The Australian Government established the Australian Solar Institute (ASI) in 2009 to keep Australia at the forefront of solar innovation by investing in activities that aimed to reduce the cost, and increase the competitiveness of, photovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies.

Eco Generation:
http://ecogeneration.com.au/

EcoGeneration is committed to communicating the clean energy industry’s news, promoting its achievements and advancing discussion and debate. EcoGeneration is published 6 times a year. Each edition includes featured and specially commissioned articles, low-emission and renewable energy industry news, policy and regulation information, events and reviews.

Australian Conservation Foundation:
http://www.acfonline.org.au/

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Aug 4th 2014http://www.solaraccreditation.com.au/consumers/purchasing-your-solar-pv-system.html

Solar Suitability
- How suitable is the climate in the country for solar electricity

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Dec 5th 2013Excellent conditions for Solar

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Dec 17th 2013Australia's climate is generally speaking ideal for solar although Tasmania in the far South receives significantly less solar irradiation than the mainland. We are based in Perth on the West Coast of the continent with an annual average of 7.9 hours of sunshine per day.A 5kW solar installation in Perth will generate a daily average of 24 kWh with summer peaks of 30 kWh. 

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Jul 12th 2016South Australia is an excellent location for solar energy systems
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Return on Investment
- What sort of return on investment can homeowners installing a solar power system expect

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Dec 17th 2013Using a typical 5kW installation as an example, a home-owner can expect the system to produce 8760 units a year (in Perth, Western Australia). If 80% of the power is consumed in the home as it is made and 20% is exported to the grid then the current savings are $2,000 on an annual power bill. The typical cost of a 5kW system after deducting the 'rebate' currently available (December 2013) is $5,000, so a ROI of under 3 years is typical,

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Jul 12th 2016We can get you up to a 12c feed in tariff.

Our systems have a pay of approx 2.5-4 yrs

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Aug 4th 2014Return on investment of around 7 yrs for a suitably designed system

Planning Requirements
- Government regulations relating to installations of solar power systems on homes and commercial buildings

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Dec 17th 2013There are very few local government planning requirements for solar in Perth, Western Australia. There are sometimes restrictions placed on the placement of panels (not facing the street for example) with a small number of councils on designated streets. The primary restriction on solar is imposed by the electricity supplier (Western Power) who to date will automatically accept up to 5kW solar installations in the metropolitan area but will audit anything larger than that to ensure that their equipment can handle the potential load that might be exported back into the grid.

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Jul 12th 2016Planning application only required for tilt frames in South Australia

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Aug 4th 2014No planning pre-approval required in Victoria unless you have a heritage overlay

Grid Connection
- Overview of the process to get a rooftop solar power system connected to the grid

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Dec 17th 2013The process varies from state to state within Australia, but in Perth, the current process requires a submission to the electricity retailer (Synergy) first, who then provide an approval number to proceed to the next step which is a technical submission by the solar company to the network provider (Western Power). The process typically takes 5 weeks from initial submission to final approval. The rules are very clearly documented so virtually every submission is approved as the solar companies understand that any divergence from the rules (principally inverter type and capacity based) will result in a rejection,

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Jul 12th 2016South Australia has a net feed in tariff. This means you use your solar generated energy internally on the premises first and any remainder is fed into the grid.

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Aug 4th 20141.  Obtain Powercor pre-approval
2.  Review Quote
3.  Pay deposit if going ahead with install
4.  Arrange a suitable day for installation
5.  Electrician arranges for the finished system to be inspected
6.  Electrician fills out EWR and Powercor connection form
7.  Completed EWR. Powercor connection request, Powercor pre-approval form and   CES forms sent to retailer
8.  Powercor inspector visits site, checks inverter operation and resets smart meter export register to zero

Questions for Experts

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