Solar rebates and financial incentives: a guide for businesses

Want to cut costs, boost your business’s reputation and do your part to fight climate change? Install solar. There are also generous rebates available. Here’s how they work.

There are various schemes, incentives and grant programs designed to help offset the cost of rooftop-solar installation for businesses within the City of Sydney.

These include help from the federal government, generation certificates and grants from both the City of Sydney and the NSW government.

Let’s look in more detail at what this means for your business.

Small businesses

The federal government covers part of the cost of all solar installations under 100kW (typically solar systems between 10-50kW capacity make sense for small businesses). This contribution ­is automatically applied to the cost of a solar system at the time of purchase and doesn’t require any further action by businesses. Advertised or quoted prices for solar systems usually include this federal government incentive. The government scheme is designed to kick-start the Australian solar market and is not intended to continue as the market reaches maturity. The message for businesses, then, is that the time to take advantage of a discounted solar installation is now.

Larger businesses

Solar installations over 100kW are not eligible for federal government assistance, but accredited systems of this size automatically produce large-scale generation certificates (LGCs) every time they generate 1 megawatt hour (MWh) of renewable electricity. These LGCs can be sold to coal and gas-fired power generators, which are required to generate or purchase a certain number of certificates to the government each year and surrender them to the government or pay penalties. The goal of the LGC scheme is to encourage the growth of renewable energy by forcing fossil-fuel power plants to offset their carbon impact. For businesses of a certain size, generating LGCs can be a significant new revenue stream.

Photo: Flemington Markets

What about feed-in tariffs?

Businesses can also make money by selling any excess energy they generate. All major energy retailers now offer to purchase this energy from customers. The rate at which users are paid for each unit of energy they export to the electricity grid is known as a feed-in tariff. You can shop around for the best deal at the federal government’s Energy Made Easy website.

Grants for businesses

The NSW government has established the Community Building Partnerships program for infrastructure projects such as rooftop solar that “deliver positive social, environmental and recreational outcomes while promoting community participation, inclusion and cohesion”.

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