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The 'Rebate'

When you install a new solar system on your roof, it earns some STCs (small technology certificates), otherwise known as 'the rebate'. The more panel power you put on your roof, the more STCs are earned. Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide all earn the same number of STCs, but poor old Melbourne gets about 15% fewer STCs due to the reduced solar produced from a system in Melbourne compared to the other cities.


For example, 6.6kW of new panels across most of Australia earn 118 STCs, and each STC is worth whatever it is being traded for on the open market, but at time of writing $36 each. So 118 x $36 = $4248. In Victoria that same 6.6kW of panels will only create 101 STCs or $3636 in rebate...a $612 difference.

A typical solar panel, a Canadian Solar 275W costs $200, and you need 24 of them to make 6.6kW so the net price you pay is $200 - ($4248/24) = $23 per panel outside of Victoria and $200 - ($3636 / 24) = $48.5 in Victoria.

We stock some excellent quality panels that cost $169 each. Deduct the $177 rebate outside of Victoria and you pay negative $8. So 6.6kW of them SAVES you $192 from the cost of your solar. You read that right. You get paid to take them. Of course, you only get the rebate if you also install a new and CEC approved inverter and have it installed by a CEC certified electrician but at least you have made a dent in those costs.

Feed-In Tariffs refer to what you get paid for surplus power made by your solar during the day that wasn't needed at the time it was made. Your electricity retailer takes it, credits you normally somewhere between 7 and 16 cents and then sells it to your neighbour for between 26-40 cents, (the electricity retailers decide what your price is per unit of electricity and what you get paid for surplus solar power). Many people are installing batteries to get a better return on their surplus power, although frankly, the maths doesn't really add up on that just yet unless there are subsidies on the batteries.

Financing solar purchases is surprisingly rare in our experience and yet we are really not sure why. Totally legit unsecured Green Energy Loans have interest rates of about 6% and setup fees of $150. The 'Interest free' deals require the retailer to load their prices by $600 or so to cover the fees charged by the financer, so in reality, you ultimately pay less and have much more flexibility going for a green loan from folks like Community First Credit Union. Cheapest way though if you can't pony up the cash is to talk to your bank and try to put it on your mortgage.