RET (Renewable Energy Target) Scheme
The government in Australia has made it very easy to participate in the renewable energy boom and add solar power to your home or business.
Australia has made a commitment to achieve 20% renewable energy in the nation by 2020. To do that, homeowners and business owners alike can add solar power to their own energy mix, and receive benefits from the states.
Solar Credits for Many Types of Consumers
The Large-scale Renewable Energy Target is a benefit scheme for large producers of energy, such as commercial solar and wind-power stations. The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme is directed at individual consumers, such as those who add solar water heating and rooftop solar photovoltaic panels. For most Australians, the SRES scheme is the one most likely to be used. How does it work?
Credit certificates (STC or Small-scale Technology Certificates) are earned through the purchase and installation of means of renewable energy, such as solar panels. By installing such an eligible system, you have a claim to a certain number of these STCs. These become tradable commodities which are traded like stocks by the Renewable Energy Certificates Registry or REC registry.
While an individual may purchase and install an eligible system and trade these certificates himself, the more usual course is to assign credits to a qualified installer, who trades the STCs, while you get a discount on PV panels and installation.
How Many Credits is Your System Worth
The value of your STCs is based on several things. First, how many megawatt hours does your system generate, and how much energy can you return to your utility company? Where your home or facility is located has an impact too, since some areas of the country produce solar power with greater ease. More sunlight translates into more energy, and vice versa.
STCs generally range in value on the open STC market from $20 to $40. There’s a guarantee from the government of $40 per credit if the seller uses the STC Clearing House, if a delay in payment is acceptable.
Solar Credits Can Be Multiplied
Bearing in mind that credits must be applied for within 12 months of installation, the value of those credits can be multiplied by a fixed factor, based on the date of installation. For example, systems installed by June of 2011 are eligible to have the STCs multiplied by a factor of 5.
Those installed by the end of June 2012 may have the STCs multiplied by a factor of 3. Anything installed after July 1 2013 is no longer eligible for these multiplied solar credits, so it’s to the homeowner’s advantage to install a solar system as soon as possible.