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Creation of small-scale technology certificates

​Under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, participants can create small-scale technology certificates for up to 12 months after the date the system is installed. This means that during 2014, the Clean Energy Regulator validated small-scale technology certificates created for systems installed in 2013 and 2014.

Between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2014, a total of 18 784 182 small-scale technology certificates were validly created for 252 843 small-scale installations.

Of these, 59 469 were created by solar water heaters and 193 374 were created by small generation units.

The data presented in graphs 15 and 16 are for certificates validly created in 2014, based on the date the system was installed. Given the 12-month period for creating certificates, the number of certificates for 2014 installations will continue to rise in 2015.

Graph 15: Small-scale technology certificates validly created from 2011–2014

Small-scale technology certificates validly created from 2011–2014.  

Note: Data current as at February 2015.

Graph 15 shows valid small-scale technology certificates by renewable energy source since the start of the scheme.

Graph 16: Certificates validated for solar hot water system and air source heat pump installations, 2009–2014

Certificates validated for solar hot water system and air source heat pump installations, 2009–2014.  

Note: Data current as at February 2015.

Graph 16 represents valid certificates created by solar water heaters. Solar water heaters accounted for 83 per cent of certificates validated in 2014, while air source heat pumps equated to 17 per cent.

Graph 17: Certificates validated for small generation units, 2009–2014


SGUs = small generation units

Graph 17 represents valid certificates created by small generation units in 2014.

A solar credits multiplier was introduced in 2009 to provide an additional financial incentive for solar panel installations by multiplying the number of certificates these systems could create. This multiplier was designed to reduce over time and it ceased on 30 June 2013. As a result, no systems installed in 2014 were eligible for a multiplier. However, multiplied certificates may have been created in 2014 due to the 12-month certificate creation rule.

Process for creating small-scale technology certificates

Section 21 of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 states that certificates for eligible solar water heaters must be created within 12 months of the installation date.

Regulation 19D (under section 23A of the Act) states that certificates for eligible small generation units installed on or after 6 October 2007 may be created:

  • within 12 months of the installation date, for a one-year or five-year period
  • at the end of the period in which the right was exercised to create certificates (for example, if a person created certificates for an installation for one year, at the end of that period the person may create certificates for another year, until the end of the scheme), or
  • within 12 months of the installation date for a 15-year period (if this option is chosen no further certificates can be created for the installation).

Small generation units installed between 1 April 2001 and 5 October 2007 are eligible to create certificates at any time for a one-year or five-year period. At the end of each period owners or agents can create certificates for the next 'deeming period'. The deeming period refers to the expected life of the system. Information about how deeming periods are determined is published on the Clean Energy Regulator website.16

If agents or individuals do not create certificates within the allowed timeframe they are no longer eligible to create certificates for their small-scale installation.

Industry assistance (partial exemption certificates)

The Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 includes provisions to provide partial exemption from liability under the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target and Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme for electricity used in defined emissions-intensive trade-exposed activities.

The Renewable Energy Target imposes additional costs on electricity consumers. These costs can be significant for emissions-intensive industries and may affect their international competitiveness. A partial exemption reduces this cost-burden and supports achievement of the Renewable Energy Target objectives without adverse impacts on industry, local communities and jobs.

Emissions-intensive trade-exposed activities include aluminium smelting, smelting zinc, petroleum refining and manufacture of newsprint. Emissions-intensive trade-exposed activities are specified in the Regulations and listed in Table 6.

Under the Act, 'prescribed persons' (usually entities that carry on emissions-intensive trade-exposed activities) may apply for partial exemption certificates. If approved, the Clean Energy Regulator issues the prescribed person with a partial exemption certificate.

The certificate states the amount of electricity in megawatt hours for which exemption can be provided to the liable entity named on the certificate (usually the retail electricity supplier). The exemption is for electricity used in the emissions-intensive trade-exposed activity during the year specified in the certificate.

In 2014, the Clean Energy Regulator received 177 partial exemption certificate applications by the legislated deadlines. Applications from prescribed persons spanned 46 of the 51 eligible emissions-intensive trade-exposed activities.17

164 partial exemption certificates issued in 2014
As at 31 December 2014, the Clean Energy Regulator issued 164 partial exemption certificates, totalling 25 861 492 megawatt hours of partial exemption for 2014. Table 6 provides details of the partial exemption issued in 2014 for each emissions-intensive trade-exposed activity.
Table 6: Total amount of 2014 partial exemptions given for each emissions-intensive trade-exposed activity as at 31 December 2014
ActivityPartial exemption (megawatt hours)
Alumina refining664 356
Aluminium smelting16 944 478
Cartonboard manufacturing0
Dry pulp manufacturing0
Integrated iron and steel manufacturing579 161
Integrated production of lead and zinc58 890
Manufacture of carbon steel from cold ferrous feed464 821
Manufacture of newsprint832 931
Manufacture of reconstituted woodbased panels156 767
Packaging and industrial paper manufacturing640 095
Petroleum refining946 217
Printing and writing paper manufacturing86 130
Production of ammonia105 998
Production of ammonium nitrate66 332
Production of bulk flat glass18 487
Production of carbamide (urea)42 463
Production of carbon black0
Production of ceramic floor and wall tiles5 396
Production of chlorine gas and sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) solution201 336
Production of clinker248 330
Production of coal char0
Production of coke oven coke305
Production of copper344 526
Production of dried distillers grains with solubles7 227
Production of ethene (ethylene)59 333
Production of fused alumina4 181
Production of fused zirconia2 251
Production of glass beads1 899
Production of glass containers142 795
Production of glass wool48 072
Production of helium16 624
Production of high purity ethanol26 188
Production of hydrogen peroxide6 260
Production of iron ore pellets28 963
Production of lime55 795
Production of liquefied natural gas1 414
Production of magnesia76 130
Production of magnetite concentrate147 788
Production of manganese601 905
Production of methanol21 744
Production of nickel184 567
Production of polyethylene82 083
Production of polymer grade propene (polymer grade propylene)7 245
Production of rolled aluminium74 357
Production of silicon301 435
Production of sodium carbonate (soda ash) and sodium bicarbonate0
Production of sodium silicate glass250
Production of synthetic rutile39 754
Production of white titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment31 801
Smelting zinc1 322 727
Tissue paper manufacturing161 685
Total 25 861 492

Note: In accordance with regulation 22E(3), the total amount of partial exemptions given for each emissions-intensive trade-exposed activity must be published by 1 October in the year to which the partial exemptions relate.

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