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Small-scale systems eligible for certificates

09 October 2017

Contents

Under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, eligible small-scale renewable energy systems may be entitled to small-scale technology certificates, which can be sold to recoup a portion of the cost of purchasing and installing the system.

Small-scale renewable energy systems are categorised into small generation units and hot water systems.

Where to begin

Installation requirements

Before designing or installing a small-scale system you must be aware of a number of requirements which will determine if the system is eligible for small-scale technology certificates after it is installed.

Familiarise yourself with the installation requirements for small-scale systems before proceeding.

Document requirements

Under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, all signed compliance statements, forms, certificates, reports, photos and invoices must be retained for a minimum period of five years after certificates are created.

The Clean Energy Regulator may request these documents at any time to prove that the system was eligible for small-scale technology certificates.

Take the time to understand the document requirements for small-scale system installations.

Eligible small generation units

Before starting, it is important to ensure that you are informed about what type of system you should install, the systems and components that are approved and eligible under the small-scale renewable energy target, and the financial benefits you may be entitled to.

Read more information about what you need to know if installing solar panels..

Criteria

To be eligible for small-scale technology certificates, small generation units (including solar photovoltaic panels, wind turbines, and hydro systems) must:

  • be installed no more than 12 months prior to the creation of certificates, and have its panels and inverter, listed on the Clean Energy Council list of approved components
  • meet Australian and New Zealand standards
  • use a Clean Energy Council accredited designer and installer and meet the Clean Energy Council design and install guidelines
  • comply with all local, state, territory and federal requirements, including electrical safety, and
  • be classified as small-scale, and a:
    • solar panel system that has a capacity of no more than 100kW, and a total annual electricity output less than 250MWh
    • wind system that has a capacity of no more than 10kW, and a total annual electricity output of less than 25MWh, or
    • hydro system that has a capacity of no more than 6.4kW, and a total annual electricity output of less than 25MWh.

If the small-generation unit is larger than the capacity limits listed above, it will be classified as a power station and must be accredited as a power station under the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target. If accreditation is successful, the unit may be eligible for large-scale generation certificates.​

Solar system eligibility

An installation of a solar photovoltaic system that meets the above eligibility criteria and has not already received small-scale technology certificates may be eligible for small-scale technology certificates. Expanded or additional systems may also be eligible.

It is important that consumers and businesses are clear on the eligibility requirements, particularly for expanded systems. If you are expanding a system, you may need to replace or upgrade a number of the components of your system to participate in the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.

Note that systems for which one, some or all panels have been replaced, and have previously received small-scale technology certificates for the entitlement period, will not be eligible to receive additional small-scale technology certificates. In some instances, small-scale technology certificates were previously issued for replacement panels. As some participants may have scheduled or quoted work before this guidance was released, applications for replacement panels will still be considered for small-scale technology certificates for installations up to 31 January 2018, subject to all other requirements being satisfied.

You should carefully consider your options, and compare the benefits and complete costs of installing a new or expanded system, including factors like electrical wiring upgrades, compliance with current standards, and operating efficiency. Make sure you ask about any hidden costs associated with any changes or upgrades to an existing system.

You should also consider potential impacts on feed-in tariffs for any changes to solar installations on your dwelling. You should contact your electricity retailer, and State or Territory Government, to provide you with further information on the impacts of feed-in tariff eligibility for your system.

The scenarios outlined below will help you determine if your system, or modifications to it, are eligible for small-scale technology certificates.

Eligibility scenarios

The scenario examples below will help you to determine your system’s eligibility for small-scale technology certificates. These scenarios cover the most common types of installations. Please contact us​ if you have further questions.​

A graphic showing a house with one inverter and 4 solar panels

Original system installed​​

​Eligible - The system must have a rating of no more than 100 kW. Panels and inverter must be on the Clean Energy Council approved products list at the time of installation. All components (including electrical elements and fixtures) must meet the current relevant standards.​

A graphic showing a house with one inverter and two groups of solar panels

Additional capacity/upgrade​

Eligible - The system must have a rating of no more than 100 kW. The new panels and existing inverter must be on the Clean Energy Council approved products list, and the inverter must have sufficient capacity. All components (including electrical elements and fixtures) must meet the current relevant standards.​

A graphic showing a house with two inverters, each with several solar panels

Additional​, separate system​

Eligible - The system must have a rating of no more than 100 kW. The new panels and inverter must be on the Clean Energy Council approved products list. All components (including electrical elements and fixtures) must meet the current relevant standards.​

A graphic showing a house with a replaced inverter and replaced solar panels

Original system replaced​

Eligible - The system must have a rating of no more than 100 kW. All system components (i.e. panels and inverter) must be new (no previous claims), recorded on the Clean Energy Council approved products list at the time of installation and meet the current relevant standards (including electrical elements and fixtures).​

A graphic showing a house with the original inverter, and three existing solar panels and one new solar panel conected to it.

One, some or all panels replaced

Not eligible - This scenario is ineligible because at least one major component (i.e. panel or inverter) has been used to previously claim small-scale technology certificates in the entitlement period. Applications involving one, some or all panels being replaced will still be considered for small-scale technology certificates for installations up to 31 January 2018, subject to all other requirements being satisfied.

Other requirements 

To be eligible for small-scale technology certificates, all systems must be installed by Clean Energy Council accredited installers, and meet relevant Australian Standards, which include:

  • AS/NZS 3000, Electrical installations
  • AS 4777, Grid connection of energy systems via inverters
  • AS/NZS 5033, Installation and safety requirements for photovoltaic arrays
  • AS/NZS 1768, Lightning protection
  • AS/NZS 4509.1, Stand-alone power systems, Part 1: Safety and installation
  • AS/NZS 1170.2, Structural design actions, Part 2: Wind actions
  • AS 4086.2, Secondary batteries for​ use with stand-alone power systems, Part 2: Installation and maintenance.​​

Eligible solar water heaters systems

Criteria​

To be eligible for small-scale technology certificates, solar water heaters including air source heat pumps must:

  • be listed on the register of solar water heaters
  • be installed no more than 12 months prior to the creation of certificates, and
  • be classified as small-scale, and a:
    • solar water heater with a capacity up to, and including 700 L (solar water heater models over 700 L capacity require additional documentation to be eligible for certificates), or
    • air source heat pump with a capacity of no more than 425 L.

Make sure you retain all documents which relate to the installation for a period of five years, which may be requested by the Clean Energy Regulator.

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