Need to know
- States and territories are rolling out programs to help households install solar power and make energy-saving upgrades
- These rebates and grants are intended to improve overall energy efficiency and environmental outcomes
- Whether or not you qualify can depend on your location, income or assets
More states and territories are opening their wallets to help households reduce their energy consumption and bolster their green credentials.
NSW and Victoria have become the latest states to expand support for people who want to get solar at home, while South Australia has been leading the nation in financing energy-saving home upgrades.
And they're not alone – other states and territories are also offering unique schemes aimed at driving down emissions and the cost of living, alongside blanket federal initiatives.
So, if you're thinking about stepping-up your energy economy and could do with some extra help (couldn't we all?), read on to see what's available in your state or territory and whether you qualify.
What is a rebate?
Looking through these state and territory schemes, you'll see many of them involve signing up for, swapping and substituting different rebates or subsidies.
A rebate is essentially a payment to help you cover the cost of something. It can come in the form of a discount on the price of a good or service or a partial refund after you've paid. A subsidy is a direct or indirect payment that provides financial support.
In the instance of solar set-up, rebates from governments usually materialise as a discount on the upfront cost of associated goods and services.
Solar and appliance rebates in NSW
Under a new scheme, the NSW government is offering low income households currently receiving energy bill assistance rebates the chance to forgo those payments in return for a solar system or energy efficient home improvements.
As part of an initiative to "bust" power bills, the state has started giving homeowners receiving the Low Income Household Rebate the option of forgoing the payment for 10 years to receive a 3kW solar setup on their home.
However, not all owners on the $285-a-year payment will be able to swap it out for solar. The scheme is currently only available in limited areas, with the government promising it will expand across the state over the coming year.
Rebate recipients who aren't able to get a solar system, such as renters or apartment dwellers, can swap a decade's worth of rebates for up to $4000 worth of upgrades to their home or appliances to make their energy use more efficient.
The NSW government's scheme offers rebate recipients savings of up to $600 per year in either instance – more than double the annual value of the original rebate.
Solar and appliance rebates in SA
The NSW program is strikingly similar to what's on offer in South Australia. There, low-income residents receiving energy and cost of living concessions and using over 2000kWh of electricity a year can receive a 4.4kW solar system if they agree to go off the rebates for 10 years.
While SA isn't offering to bankroll improvements to homes and appliances in the name of energy efficiency, the government is offering to help households pay for solar batteries
This 'Switch for Solar' scheme has been around for slightly longer than its NSW counterpart (since 2021), but is still limited to specific areas. The SA government says average annual savings on the plan are $419 over and above the concessions.
While SA isn't offering to bankroll improvements to homes and appliances in the name of energy efficiency, the government is offering to help households pay for solar batteries.
Unlike the solar swap program, the Home Battery Scheme is open to all SA households until 1 September 2022 or until there are no subsidies remaining and offers loans and subsidies of up to $2000 to go towards new home battery systems.
Solar and appliance rebates in Victoria
The Victorian government offers rebates aimed at encouraging people to install their own solar panels and batteries and has expanded these incentives in its latest budget.
The state's Solar Homes panel rebate gives households and owner-occupiers up to $1400 to go towards installing panels. On top of that, households can then also take out an interest-free loan to cover any outstanding installation costs.
Solar Homes also provides support of up to $2950 to help households with existing solar systems of 5kW or more complement their array with a home battery.
The state government used its recent budget to increase the number of these panel and battery bonuses it gives out to Victorians each year, although eligibility criteria still apply.
These include having a combined household taxable income of less than $180,000 a year and the property itself being worth less than $3 million.
Victoria also provides specialty rebates and loans for solar hot water systems, renters and landlords looking to install solar panels and households endeavouring to cut their energy use through appliance upgrades.
Solar and appliance rebates in the NT and ACT
Solar seekers in the ACT can take advantage of rebates for batteries offered under the territory's Next Gen Energy Storage Program.
The ACT government is offering households either $3500 or 50% of the price of a battery (whichever is smaller).
Northern Territorians can take advantage of generous grants of up to $6000 to spend on solar installation
It also facilitates rebates of up to $5000 to some concession card holders to cover the cost of installing rooftop solar and making energy-saving home upgrades.
Northern Territorians, meanwhile, can take advantage of generous grants of up to $6000 to spend on solar installation and/or batteries, if they have a solar system already.
Rebates in Queensland, WA and Tasmania
There are no state-run programs subsidising household solar in Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania.
Households in these states, however, can enlist the help of federal guarantees designed to encourage the generation of renewable power.
These programs are also accessible in the states and territories covered by their own unique rebate, grant and subsidy initiatives.
One of these federal initiatives is the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), which basically serves as a discount on the cost of installing solar, sometimes to the tune of thousands of dollars.
For more info on the SRES, check out the Clean Energy Regulator's guide and to get more detail on the various state and territory schemes, visit the energy.gov.au rebates and assistance search portal.
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