Can I get more Solar Credits for a second solar system for my home?

A great number of people throughout Australia are taking advantage of the federal government’s Solar Credit scheme, which offers financial incentives for solar power installations on their homes. Many people are also wondering if they can get additional Solar Credits for a second or third installation on the same property–like on the roof of a granny flat. This article will address the eligibility clauses to consider for such a prospect.

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We here at the Solar Choice blog have previously written extensively about the Solar Credit scheme and Renewable Energy Certificates (1 REC = 1 megawatt of renewable energy), which are guaranteed at $40 (if you are willing to wait) as of January 2011.  For a general overview of RECs and Solar Credits, please see this informative article. We also have a great entry on how to calculate your Solar Credit discount, or you could go to the Office of Renewable Energy Regulator website and check out their handy calculator.

In a nutshell, Solar Credits are part of the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target program, or MRET, later amended to the Enhanced Renewable Energy Target or eRET, and in January 2011 divided into the Small-scale RET (SRET) and the Large-scale RET (LRET).  The program aims to promote the uptake of renewable energy technologies in Australia to 20% of all electricity consumed by 2020 by offering RECs, freeing up cash for investment, and other policy programs.

So, let’s say you already have a photovoltaic system installed on the roof of your main home and you’ve also got a granny flat with a bare-looking roof out the back, begging jealously to be decked out with some lucrative and environmentally friendly solar panels. Would it be possible for you to do so? The answer is essentially yes, as long as both the properties have different addresses. An address can be established quite easily from the address on the electricity bill, and all addresses with a different number on the street will certainly fall in this category. If the address is a sub-lot such as 3a or 6b Smith Street, then the eligibility is still open. However, different structures on the same address such as shearing sheds and homes on the same rural lot, will not be classed as different address. Be aware that this has nothing to do with the number of meters or sub-boards that exist between properties.

This Solar Credits FAQ gives a good overview of the REC scheme, including some additional details about the eligibility of solar installations for Solar credits. These limitations include:

-The system must be a ‘small generation unit’ with a capacity less than 100kW in the case of solar PV

-The system is installed in an ‘eligible premises’, including a house, a townhouse, a residential apartment, or a shop

-The installed system must be new, complete, and functioning.

-There can be no ‘double-dipping’.  That is, you cannot take advantage of more than one renewable incentive scheme.  If you you apply successfully for RECs, you cannot subsequently apply for benefits through the Solar Homes and Communities Plan, the Renewable Remote Power Generation Program, or the National Solar Schools Program.

Helping you decide how to get the most of an installation is what Solar Choice does best, so feel free to get in touch with us for a free quote.

Sources and Resources:

Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency “Solar Credits FAQ”: http://www.climatechange.gov.au/government/initiatives/renewable-target/need-ret/solar-credits-faq.aspx

Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator homepage (ORER): http://www.orer.gov.au/

Written by:

James Martin

Master of Environmental Management, UNSW

Solar Energy Analyst

James Martin II

Contributor at Solar Choice
James was Solar Choice's primary writer & researcher between 2010 and 2018.

He is now the communications manager for energy technology startup SwitchDin, but remains an occasional contributor to the Solar Choice blog.

James lives in Newcastle in a house with a weird solar system.
James Martin II

Comments

  1. Hi, I have 4kw x 3 system grid aray on my shed (12kw – 3 phase) which has a seperate electricity account name and meter to the house which is on the same block of land. If I change the billing address for the existing aray to a sub number like 18a and have this bill sent to the P.O.Box, will I be able to install a seperate 5 kw system onto the house?
    Or would I be better off expanding the existing? Since it have been installed on the old 30kw max system.
    Thanks
    Barrington

    1. Hi Barrington,

      It is more likely that you would have to change the address for your home and give the existing address to your shed to get around potential bureaucratic hurdles.

      If at all possible, a new system at a new address would be the best option, as this would enable you to take advantage of the Federal Solar Credits REC Multiplier again; plus, you wouldn’t have to go through the trouble of replacing the inverter of your old system when you upgrade it.

  2. Hi, I have a 1kw solar system which was purchased when the rebates first came out and it seems that a 1kw system is insufficient. Would I still be eligible for the extra recs or any sort of incentive if I upgrade my system now or make another totally new system 3-5kw system on my north-west part of my roof? thanks in advance.
    Phil

    1. Hi Phillip,

      Thanks for the comment! It is possible to get further RECs for an extension to your existing system, but you will not be eligible for any REC multipliers that would have applied to the first portion of the installation. At the moment (until 1 July 2011) the REC multiplier is 5x the actual trading price of a REC–it’s this “5x” multiplier that will not apply to the new portion of your system, even if it did apply to the part you already have installed. No new RECs, however, will be issued if you install a new, additional system.

      For more answers and an excellent FAQ, please check out the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator website.

Comments are closed.