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Small-scale technology certificates

Small-scale technology certificates

How are we tracking?

Small-scale technology certificates in 2015:

  • 15.9 million validated—reflects 15.9 million megawatt hours of renewable energy estimated to be generated or displaced over the lifetime of the systems.

Once small-scale renewable energy systems are installed and capable of producing electricity or delivering hot water, small-scale technology certificates can be created.

Under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, participants can create small-scale technology certificates up to 12 months after the system is installed. This means that during 2015 we validated small-scale technology certificates created for systems installed in both 2014 and 2015.

Small-scale technology certificate creation

During 2015, a total of 15 949 733 small-scale technology certificates were validated for small-scale installations. This is down from the 18 784 182 small-scale technology certificates validated in 2014. Of the certificates validated in 2015, 89 per cent were from solar panel systems and nine per cent from solar water heaters. The remainder of certificates came from air source heat pumps and small-scale wind and hydro systems.

Graph 2: Small-scale certificates validated in 2015

Graph 2: Small-scale certificates validated in 2015 

Small-scale technology certificate market

The Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 requires liable entities to buy and surrender certificates to meet their renewable energy obligations. The small-scale technology percentage is determined annually and sets the number of small-scale technology certificates that liable entities must acquire and surrender during the year (more information about liable entities is on the Liable entities page).

Small-scale technology certificates may be sold and purchased through the secondary market or through the clearing house.

The small-scale technology percentage for 2015 was 11.7 per cent which was equivalent to 20.6 million certificates—made up of 17.5 million estimated small-scale technology certificates from systems installed in 2015, plus a three million certificate surplus that remained from previous years.

With only 15.9 million small-scale technology certificates being validated in 2015, demand for small-scale technology certificates outweighed supply. This resulted in regular use of the small-scale technology certificate clearing house.

Graph 3: Small-scale technology certificate secondary market spot price (GST exclusive) since 2011

Graph 3: Small-scale technology certificate secondary market spot price (GST exclusive) since 2011 

Note: We source market prices from NextGen.Net, Thomson Reuters and Mercari.

"WHILE THE NUMBER OF SMALL-SCALE SYSTEM INSTALLATIONS WAS LESS THAN LAST YEAR... THE AVERAGE SYSTEM CAPACITY HAS INCREASED."

Clearing house

The Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 allows for a small-scale technology certificate clearing house.

The clearing house allows liable entities to buy small-scale technology certificates at a fixed price of $40 (GST exclusive) when supply from the open market does not meet their demand. Large-scale generation certificates are not available through the clearing house.

Demand for certificates is set by the small-scale technology percentage (see the Number of certificates required page). Electricity demand was above the level forecast by the small-scale technology percentage, resulting in an under-supply of certificates in the market and the price of small-scale technology certificates rising during the year. The market price reached $40 in March 2015 (see Graph 3).

The increase in demand for certificates from the clearing house resulted in it going into deficit for the first time.

The clearing house goes into deficit when insufficient small-scale technology certificates are available to purchase. When this occurs, we create 'Regulator created small-scale technology certificates' for buyers to purchase. These certificates can be traded and surrendered like any other certificate. Over time as small-scale technology certificates become available in the clearing house, they are offset against the deficit and cancelled.

How are we tracking?

Clearing house in 2015:

  • 4 513 purchases valued at $248.8 million, involving a total of 6 219 809 small-scale technology certificates, and
  • a deficit of around 600 000 small-scale technology certificates at the end of 2015.

The clearing house went into deficit a number of times during 2015, with the highest deficit of more than 2.5 million small-scale technology certificates occurring in October 2015. The clearing house has remained in deficit since then, with a deficit at the end of 2015 of around 600 000 small-scale technology certificates.

In 2015, there was $248.8 million worth of purchases through the clearing house. The largest purchase was for $29.7 million worth of small-scale technology certificates.

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