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Eligibility for the Renewable Energy Target

22 December 2017
RET

Electrical systems that generate electricity from renewable sources may be eligible to participate in either the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme or the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target. These schemes create a financial incentive for the build and installation of renewable power stations and systems — participants in these schemes can create renewable energy certificates, which are bought by electricity retailers to meet their renewable energy obligations. Each scheme has its own eligibility and compliance requirements — it is important that potential participants understand these requirements to make an informed decision of which scheme best suits their system specifications, individual circumstances and professional competencies. A system can only receive benefits under one scheme.

Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme vs Large-scale Renewable Energy Target

The Renewable Energy Target is intended to provide opportunities for renewable energy systems across a range of technologies and scales, and to allow flexibility for new and innovative business models. Two elements of the Renewable Energy Target (the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target and Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme) are designed to support the renewable energy industry in combination, with each scheme providing incentives to different sectors.

In particular, solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme are intended for:

  • homeowners (generating power up to 100 kW), and
  • businesses generating up to 100 kW capacity for solar PV from a small renewable energy system, who are primarily seeking to consume the power generated by their premises.

The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme is not designed for large projects that have a primary purpose to export or sell the power.

While solar PV systems are the most common form of systems being installed in the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, the above intent also applies to wind (rating of no more than 10 kW, rather than 100 kW) and hydro systems (rating of no more than 6.4 kW). Systems larger than this are intended to be covered by the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target.

The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme also provides support for solar water heater and air-sourced heat pump renewable energy systems. The Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target does not support these technologies. The intent of the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme for these technologies is similar to the above electricity-based technologies. The scheme is designed for homeowners and businesses seeking to reduce their energy needs by using renewable energy systems. It is not intended for industrial-scale systems or for the export of energy.

The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme has a number of distinctive features designed to assist homeowners and business, including a simple application process and certificates provided upfront based on an estimate of future generation.

By contrast, the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target encourages investment in large projects seeking to export or sell power. Large projects are more complex and subject to a rigorous technical assessment and application process. Accredited power stations must have their generation measured in order to receive certificates. Large-scale generation certificates are issued for generation that has occurred. A higher degree of evidence of renewable generation is required due to the quantity of the certificates being claimed.

It should be noted that the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme does not have provisions to gain pre-approval of renewable energy systems and eligibility is only determined once a complete application has been received. The Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target allows for the provisional accreditation of power stations.

What are some the key differences between the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme and the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target?

Small-scale Renewable Energy SchemeLarge-scale Renewable Energy Target
Eligible technology or renewable energy sources

Limited to:

  • solar photovoltaics
  • solar water heaters
  • air-source heat pump water heaters
  • wind, and
  • hydro.

See Small-scale systems eligible for certificates​ for details of capacity limits.

Includes:

  • wind
  • solar
  • hydro
  • ocean
  • tide
  • eligible biomass
  • geothermal-aquifer
  • hot dry rock
  • landfill gas
  • sewage gas, and
  • eligible waste coal mine gas.

See Section 17 of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 or the ​Eligibility criteria.

Application for registration

After installation.

No pre-approval provision.

Prior to or after installation.

Provisional registration possible.

Renewable energy certificate type Small-scale technology certificates. Large-scale generation certificates.
Generation of certificatesCertificates created upfront for the deemed amount until 2030.Created periodically based on generation data.
Reporting frequencyOne-off application with system details provided at the time of small-scale technology certificates creation.

Compulsory initial system accreditation.

Large-scale generation certificate creation at least annually until 2030 with an Electricity Generation Return submitted each year.

See ​Compliance and reporting for more information.

Eligibility to participate in schemes based on system capacity

The following table details system capacity limits for common technologies in both the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme and Large-scale Renewable Energy Target.

Small-scale Renewable Energy SchemeLarge-scale Renewable Energy Target
Solar PV System

No more than 100 kW rating.

Annual electricity output not more than 250 MWh.

More than 100 kW.

25 MWh or more.

Wind System

No more than 10 kW rating.

Annual electricity output not more than 25 MWh.

10 kW rating or more.

25 MWh or more.

Hydro System

No more than 6.4 kW rating.

Annual electricity output not more than 25 MWh.

6.4 kW or more.

Annual electricity output of 25 MWh or more.

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