STCs are available to investors in solar panels used in all fixed solar installation, including solar water pumping and stand-alone (off-grid) systems. Only mobile solar panels are excluded (boats, caravans, etc). Solar hot water systems, wind turbines and hydro-generation systems can also qualify for STCs. However, systems only qualify for STCs if the installers are accredited by the Clean Energy Council.
The value of an STC is market-driven, although there is a maximum upper limit of $40/STC. The purchasers are the major emitters of CO2, who are required by government to buy an allocated number of STCs each quarter to offset their emissions footprint.
In practice most of the homes and businesses that invest in our solar systems, assign their STC’s to Tailored Energy Solutions in exchange for an up-front discount on the cost of their installation. This is because the process of selling the STCs is complex and can be lengthy (up to 12 weeks before you receive the money).
Depending on the size of the solar installation, STCs can be worth many thousands of dollars. They are a valuable Federal Government incentive to “go solar”.
In Queensland the feed-in tariff has reduced over time from 44 cents/kWh to 7.448 cents/kWh. This low return means that unless “batteries are included”, ie you have a battery bank in which to store your excess power generated by your solar system, it is very important not to install an over-sized solar system. If solar production is significantly greater than your daytime electricity use, the payback from your investment will be reduced.
However, it is now increasingly common for Ergon Energy to stipulate NO EXPORT to the grid for new solar installations, particularly if they are over 2.5kW. So many customers are not only excluded from earning the feed-in tariff, they also have to pay for costly export control equipment.
For these reasons, Tailored Energy Solutions is very careful NOT to over-specify solar systems. What we do instead is to show you how to make sure all your power-hungry activities occur during the solar day, and therefore use solar power instead of Ergon Energy. For example washing machines and dish-washers should be run during the day, and air-conditioners should be switched on to cool down the house before the solar stops generating.
The CEFC subsidises the NAB and CBA to offer low-rate loans to individuals and businesses who invest in solar installations costing more than $25,000 and less than $500,000. (Projects costing more than $500,000 are funded by the CEFC directly).
Tailored Energy Solutions can assist customers with CEFC finance applications.
Tailored Energy Solutions keeps up to date with all clean technology, renewable energy and other appropriate grant programmes. We not only bring them to the attention of our clients, but can also assist with the completion of applications and subsequent reporting.
For example, Tailored Energy Solutions was engaged by NQ(IQF) in Ayr to complete an application to AusIndustry for a Clean Technology grant for various projects, including a major rebuild of their processing plant. NQ(IQF) subsequently won a grant of almost $200,000. (This project is featured on our Energy Audit and Tariff Review webpage).
Another example is the Ergon Energy Paget and Mackay Incentive programmes that encourage users in these areas to reduce their peak energy demand. These programmes have been offered because the existing power networks are over-loaded, and funding customers to reduce demand is more cost-effective than upgrading the local electrical networks.
Tailored Energy Solutions liaises with Ergon on behalf of our customers, completing applications for Ergon approval prior to the customer committing to proceed with a project. If the project is then completed, Tailored Energy Solutions assists with the paperwork required by Ergon Energy for payment of the grant.