Initiated by the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000; RECs, otherwise known as Renewable Energy Certificates, are available when you buy qualifying solar hot water, solar/wind power systems or solar panels. You can receive cash back on your purchases by selling the RECs or use them as a point of sale discount from Energy Matters.
The RECs system was originally implemented to encourage an additional 9,500 GWh of
renewable energy generation per year by 2010 as part of the Renewable Energy Target. Renewable Energy Certificates will play an even greater role in the revised renewable energy targets to be achieved by 2020 via the Solar Credits Program.
How the new Renewable Energy Target works
- The government has implemented a target of 20% renewable energy sourced electricity by 2020
- The current RET requires 9500 GWh of renewable energy to be delivered by energy companies
- The 20/20 target requires 45000 GWh
- 1MWh of energy equals 1 REC, so 45,000,000 RECs will be generated to meet the 2020 target
- To meet the target, energy companies must surrender RECs into their holding account at the end of every calendar year at an amount representative to 20% of their market share
- If energy companies don’t put sufficient RECs into the holding account, the company is fined at a rate much higher than the REC value
RECs, STC’s and LTC’s
Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) is an umbrella term covering Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) and Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGCs). For the purposes of this article, RECs will refer to STC’s.
RECs – renewable energy currency
One REC is equivalent to one megawatt hour of electricity generation. A renewable energy certificate can be traded for cash and the value of these certificates fluctuates according to market conditions. Basically, a REC is a form of renewable energy currency.
Owners of systems can claim RECs themselves by completing the appropriate application forms. However, this can be confusing and time consuming, so most people choose assigning their right to claim RECs to an agent, such as Energy Matters; which is a very simple process.
By taking advantage of Renewable Energy Certificates, a substantial amount of money can be saved when you buy wind and solar power equipment!
Solar and wind power RECs rebate
Energy Matters offers Australian Commonwealth Government’s RECs as a point of sale discount on all eligible renewable energy systems we install. By offering a point of sale discount, we can save you the time and hassle of the application process related to the generation of renewable energy certificates.
Please note: a GST paying customer (any business or tax paying entity that is not a final consumer) will need to provide us with a tax invoice for the value of the RECs plus GST prior to the installation taking place. This will allow us to subtract the value of the RECs from the point of sale amount of the system.
Solar hot water renewable energy certificate rebate
Energy Matters also offers a point of sale discount for Australian Government RECs accompanying all eligible solar hot water systems we install – get the immediate financial benefits of renewable energy certificates without the waiting time and frustration of filling in forms; plus we offer one of the highest REC prices around!
Please refer to our solar hot water rebates page for more information; including RECs calculator guidelines. Please note that zoning details for solar hot water RECs calculations is different to the zoning for solar panels
The environmental implications
There’s been a great deal of criticism that the Renewable Energy Certificate system does not provide substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, that all it does is to allow companies to pay to pollute.
The “phantom” additional multiplier RECs issue aside (which only applied to the Solar Credits scheme when it was operating under the multiplier); when you install solar and sell your RECs (or use their value as a point of sale discount), you are essentially selling the right to own the renewable energy (carbon dioxide emission reduction) delivered from that technology to an energy company who will buy those RECs in order to meet their obligation.
However, it’s very important to bear in mind you are supporting the country to meet the mandated Government targets and helping to support the Australian solar industry. This not only means more green jobs, but increased uptake of solar power drives costs of supply and installation down so that solar can become more competitive with traditional fossil technologies. In a nutshell, more solar generated electricity = less coal fired power generation required.
If you choose to retain your RECs by paying full retail price, congratulations – you are in the “ultra-green” zone as you are supporting Australia to go above and beyond the 2020 target!
Australia’s Renewable Energy Certificate system, particularly the Solar Credits multiplier, is far from perfect; but it’s a start and is a basis upon which to work from and improve. Without it, solar power would continue to stay out of reach of many; see our industry stagnate and new development severely impeded.
Despite the limitations of the RET and of the RECs system, a decision to install solar now:
- sustains a fledgling industry for its significant role in Australia’s future sustainability
- creates sustainable consumers by effecting behavioural change through awareness
- empowers communities to be part of the solution the global climate crisis
- leads mainstream uptake of environmental technologies, driving affordability and future capacity
Buy and sell RECs through Energy Matters
While Energy Matters primarily buys RECs at top prices from clients who have purchased solar power systems from us, we’re also in the process of setting up a full carbon trading service. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell Renewable Energy Certificates provided with equipment you’ve purchased elsewhere, we may be able to help! Contact us for further details!
Clean Energy Targets
There is also Clean Energy Targets, or CETs, for more information see the Clean Energy Council page about them at http://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/cec/policy-advocacy/energy-transformation/clean-energy-target