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The “Solar Rebate” Is Not Ending

The “Solar Rebate” Is Not Ending

Heard those rumours about the end of the solar rebate? Worried that the rooftop solar system you are thinking about is going to be impossible to afford? Don’t worry, rumours of the death of the “solar rebate” are greatly exaggerated. It’s staying around for a while. Read on to learn how this rumour got started, and what’s really happening with the solar rebate.

What Is the Solar Rebate?

The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, or SRES, is a subsidy which reduces the cost of rooftop solar systems. So even though it’s known as the solar rebate, technically it’s not a rebate at all. A rebate refunds some of the money you pay after you pay it. The SRES cuts the cost up front. Still, it’s the name that people have settled on. Once your rooftop solar system is installed, a Small-scale Technology Certificate, or STC, is automatically generated. You don’t have to cash it in right away. You can hang onto it, if you want to for some reason. However, the installer generally uses them to reduce the installation cost. In fact, any quote you get from an installer most likely is already taking the STCs into account, so if you hang onto them then your installation cost will be higher. 

The Rumour is Just Aggressive Sales Hype

Not only has the solar rebate not been canceled, it is actually going to be around for another 11 years. So why all this talk of the rebate coming to an end? Well, that’s the result of some underhanded advertising tactics being deployed on Facebook and other social media sites recently. These ads try to put pressure on people like you, who are thinking about buying a system, by implying that you have to act now before the price goes up. It’s one of the oldest high-pressure sales tricks in the book. These ads say things like, “It’s your last chance to get the solar rebate before the end of the year,” which implies, but never actually says, that the solar rebate is ending then. Not technically a lie, but not exactly honest, either. They’re counting on you not thinking carefully about what you just read and panicking enough to order their (possibly) overpriced rooftop system. Then, when you call them, they’ll tell you that you need to lock in the current prices, so you’d better order from them right now.

Still, Sooner Is Better

The solar rebate is not coming to an end. However, it is slowly being phased out. Every year, it is worth a little less than the year before. It is, therefore, better to buy a rooftop solar system sooner rather than later. If you want to know what kind of discount you can expect, just follow this procedure:

  1. Look up which STC Zone you live in. There are four, total. Each zone has an STC figure. The base figure is 1. Zone 3, which is where most people live including those in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, and Adelaide, has an STC figure of 1.382. People in Zone 4, which includes Melbourne and Tasmania, have a figure of 1.189. The difference in figures has to do with the amount of sunlight each zone gets on average.
  2. Work out how many years are left for the solar rebate. It ends in 2031, so to work it out, you just subtract the current year from 2031. For example, in 2020, there are 2031 – 2020 = 11 years left.
  3. Multiply the number of kilowatts in your solar system by the number of years left in the program.
  4. Multiply the result by the STC figure for the zone you live in. The result is the savings you can expect if you buy the system this year.

It’s a good idea to run this calculation on each of the systems you are thinking about buying, so you know what the overall lowest price will be.

The Takeaway

The solar rebate is not ending any time soon. Don’t let yourself get pressured into buying before you’re ready by dishonest sales tactics. If you live along the Central Coast, Newcastle or Sydney, carefully research the different rooftop solar system options, and decide which one is right for you. Then, find reliable local solar installers like us, who won’t try to scare you into making a hasty decision.

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