The Clean Energy Regulator (CER) offers a financial incentive for the installation of eligible systems through the creation of small-scale technology certificates (STCs). This incentive alone may cover up to one third of the solar system installation cost. This incentive is available to all individuals, households and businesses who install an eligible system.
The CER administers schemes legislated by the Australian Government for measuring, managing, reducing or offsetting Australia's carbon emissions. Included in these activities is the
Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), which creates a financial incentive for individuals and businesses to install eligible small-scale renewable energy systems, like solar panels, air source heat pumps and solar water heaters. This incentive is available for eligible systems up to 100 kilowatts. For systems above 100 kilowatts please see the
Large-scale Renewable Energy Target webpage.
Further financial incentives or rebates may be available depending on the state or territory in which the system is being installed. Information on what is available in each state and territory is available at
Smart Energy Programs.
The CER does not sell or install solar panels. This page has been designed to assist consumers to find information on rebates and incentives available, how to choose a solar panel system and installer and understand the process of getting solar panels installed.
For information about feed-in tariffs, visit
Electricity feed-in tariff.
Before installing a solar panel system, it is important to research how much electricity your household or business uses per year. The
Australian Energy Regulator has an
online household electricity calculator to assist with this, or you can contact your current energy provider. You should also consider any future usage you are considering (such as converting gas heating to electric) and if you are planning to use the electricity yourself or export to the grid.
The decision of which system to purchase should be informed by usage, the weather and level of sun exposure in the installation location, and budget (including the
Your Energy Savings,
Smart Energy Council and
Clean Energy Council have a range of information to assist with researching the right system for these requirements. We recommend you obtain multiple quotes and compare the systems being offered to you.
Once a suitable solar panel system has been chosen, its
eligibility under the SRES should be confirmed if you wish to claim STCs.
The SRES incentive works by awarding one small-scale technology certificate (STC) per one megawatt hour of renewable electricity generated by the system. An STC acts as a form of currency and can be sold on the STC open market at a negotiated price, or through the STC clearing house within the
REC Registry. View the CER's
STC calculator, or visit
Buying and selling STCs for more information.
To make things simple, most consumers choose an upfront discount on their system, rather than claiming and selling STCs themselves. This process is simple and will generally form part of your contract when you purchase your solar system. It usually involves signing your right to create and sell the STCs to an agent in return for an upfront discount on your system.
In this scenario, you do not
claim and trade the STCs, and instead the registered agent does. This is a simpler and faster process than creating and trading certificates yourself. However, consumers can opt to claim and trade STCs independently after the system has been installed if they wish.
If the system has not been installed yet, you may wish to ask the retailer if they are planning to include an option for you to assign the rights to claim STCs over to them in return for an upfront discount.
The financial benefit supplied to you by a registered agent can vary from day-to-day. This is because STCs are an electronic commodity and can be traded in the
open STC market, where the price varies depending on supply and demand. If you are assigning STCs onto an agent (in return for an upfront discount), it is important to ask how much they will pay for the STCs and compare this to other agents and the current market prices.
Please note that the CER does not set the certificate price used by agents, nor does it get involved in disputes between owners and agents. Payment for certificates, or the right to create certificates, is a contractual matter between you and your agent.
If your system has already been installed, we encourage you to check the installation paperwork to see if there is any reference to 'STC assignment' or 'certificates'. If you have installed an
eligible system within the past 12 months and have not assigned your STCs to a registered agent or claimed the certificates yourself, you may still be eligible to claim and trade STCs. All STCs must be created within 12 months of the system being installed.
The CER cannot provide advice on the credentials of solar retailers, designers or installation companies. We recommend the following resources to assist consumers in avoiding scams:
The CER also has a list of
current and previous non-compliance by individuals and organisations in CER schemes, including the SRES.
If you suspect that someone may be committing fraud against the CER's schemes, visit
Solar Panel Validation (SPV) Initiative aims to protect the integrity of the SRES and give industry and consumers and easy way to check and confirm that solar panels:
The SPV allows installers to scan solar panel serial numbers, which are then checked against a database to ensure they correspond to verified serial numbers. Consumers are then provided with an electronic record of confirmation that their solar panels are verified. Before installing solar panels, you can ask if the solar business is participating in SPV and for a record of verification for their solar panels.
If you intend to participate in the SRES, you must choose someone qualified and accredited to install your system for you.
Using an approved solar retailer and accredited installer ensures your system meets Australian standards for quality and performance. If there are problems after installation, it also ensures you are
protected as a consumer. A list of approved solar retailers and accredited installers is available at
How do I choose a solar retailer or installer?
Once you have decided to install solar, a retailer will work with an accredited solar designer to draft a plan for your system, and provide a quote. This should include information on the types of panels and inverter being installed, the expected power generation as well as panel placement on the roof. We recommend you obtain multiple quotes and compare the systems being offered to you.
Once you have chosen a retailer and agreed on your quotation, the retailer will work with an installer to have your system installed.
If you have concerns about your solar panel system, installer or retailer, a list of resources is available at
What to do if you have concerns about your solar installation.
The following webpages contain information about purchasing solar:
About The Clean Energy Regulator
Carbon Pricing Mechanism
National Greenhouse And Energy Reporting
Renewable Energy Target
Emissions Reduction Fund
Our Systems And Their Resources
Clean Energy Markets
Data and information
Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee
Subscribe to email updates
Information Publication Scheme
Freedom of Information
The Clean Energy Regulator is a Government body responsible for accelerating carbon abatement for Australia.