As well as potentials savings you could make on your power bill, you could be entitled to a government rebate for your solar system. The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) can help you with the purchase price of your solar power system by awarding you with small-scale technology certificates (STCs). The number of STCs you may be eligible for is based on the amount of solar electricity your system produces (or how much energy consumption it reduces) and the climate in which you live. You can then redeem your STCs by selling or assigning them.6
Some state and territory governments also offer solar rebates or incentives. Information below is current as of May 2022. Read more about rebates and concessions in your state or territory.
A solar feed-in tariff (FIT) pays you for the electricity generated from your home solar system that you then feed back into the electricity grid. The main type of solar FIT is net, which pays you for the leftover unused electricity from your system that you then export to the grid.
The other type of solar FIT is gross, which pays for all the electricity generated by your system, as it’s intended to bypass your home entirely and feed straight back into the grid. Gross solar FITs aren’t generally offered to new customers anymore.
Solar FITs are also different between states and territories, and different again between energy retailers within those states. Ask your existing retailer for more information.
Solar power systems are large, intricate, expensive products. It’s therefore vital you choose the right system for your needs. Here are some things you should consider if you’re looking into solar energy for your home.
How much energy do you need?
When you search for the right solar energy system for your home, you should first decide how much electricity you need to generate. For example, your average 2kW panel would generate approximately 8kWh pre day; however, this will vary depending on the amount of sunlight and number of daylight hours you receive where you live.
Take a look at your current consumption and the periods during which you most use power; your energy bill would typically detail this. Such information will then influence the size and number of solar panels your property would likely need.
What can impact the cost of solar power systems?
As we mentioned earlier, the price of solar energy systems (particularly the panels) has come down over the years as demand and production has increased.3 An average 4kW solar PV system can cost approximately $3,400 – $7,900 for installation, although this price can vary based on many factors including:
How much could it potentially help you save?
Saving on electricity bills is one reason why people turn to solar energy to power their homes. Bear in mind, though, that it can still take a few years of having a solar power system before your energy savings exceed the purchase price.
Is your home suited to solar energy?
The ideal spot for solar panels is on a north-facing roof or a space that isn’t near shade.12 You’ll still generate electricity with east- or west-facing panels, but with each degree away from north they face, it’ll be that little bit less.
Do you own your home?
If you don’t own your home, you’ll need to get your landlord to install the solar power system. Even if your home is suited to solar energy, not all scenarios will be eligible.
How much roof space do you have?
The amount of space on your roof should also be considered when choosing a solar power system. For example, you may not be able to install a system if you live in an apartment.
1 Australian Government: Australian Renewable Energy Agency – Solar energy. Last updated April 2022. Accessed May 2022.
2 Australian Government: Geoscience Australia – Solar energy. Accessed May 2022.
3 Australian Government: Your Home – Photovoltaic systems. Last updated 2020. Accessed May 2022.
4 Australian PV Institute – Australian PV market since April 2001. Funded by Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Accessed May 2022.
5 Sustainability Victoria – Solar power. Accessed May 2022.
6 Australian Government: Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources – Renewable power incentives. Last updated September 2020. Accessed May 2022.
7 ACT Government: Actsmart – Household battery storage. Accessed May 2022.
8 ACT Government: Actsmart – Solar for low income program. Accessed May 2022.
9 NSW Government | Energy Saver – Save with Solar Accessed March 2022.
10 Australian Government: Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources – Solar home battery assistance. Accessed May 2022
11 Solar Victoria – Solar Homes Program. Last reviewed April 2022. Accessed May 2022.
12 Solar Victoria – Section 6: Planning your solar electricity system. Last reviewed March 2022. Accessed May 2022.
13 Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources – Solar PV and batteries. Accessed May 2022.
14 Clean Energy Council – Costs and Savings. Accessed May 2022.
15 Solar Victoria – Section 3: Grid-connected solar explained. Last reviewed March 2021. Accessed May 2022.