COMMERCIAL SOLAR REBATES, GRANTS & INCENTIVES

Switching your company on to solar power can be even more cost effective if you’re able to access any of the grants, rebates and other finance options available.

This page describes some of the support available to help finance or accelerate payback time of a commercial solar power system. This includes offers such as commercial solar rebates.

Energy Matters can assist your organisation in accessing a variety of incentives and financing. For further information on any of the below, contact our friendly commercial experts via our online form.

Types of commercial solar rebates, grants and incentives:

Federal Government – RECs, STCs and LTCs

A Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) is an umbrella term for two types of certificates issued by the federal government under the Renewable Energy Target:

  • Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) – for solar panel systems ≤ 100kW
  • Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGCs) – for solar panel systems > 100kW

Both STCs and LGCs are tradeable commodities attached to eligible installations of solar power systems and other types of renewable energy generation such as solar hot water and heat pumps. In a commercial size solar system, their value can be many thousands of dollars.

Our recommended suppliers will provide you with a point of sale discount if you elect to sign over your STCs or LGCs to them. This saves you valuable time and hassle over attempting to trade the certificates yourself.

The federal government has decided to slowly phase out the program under which the certificates operate. Until 2030, the number of certificates issued to each installation will decrease each year, reaching zero in 2030.


Federal Government – Economic Stimulus Package

On 12 March 2020, the federal government announced a $17.6bn economic stimulus package to help Australians deal with the challenges posed by the coronavirus.

The business investment component of this package comprises of two tax incentives designed to stimulate growth – both these apply to the purchase of solar power systems:

  1. An increase in the instant asset write off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000
  • Effective immediately and continuing to June 30, 2020
  • Equivalent to $45,000 in tax credit* on a $150,000 solar PV system.
  • For businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million

2. Accelerated depreciation deductions

  • Deduct an additional 50 per cent of the asset cost in the year of purchase.
  • Available now through to June 30, 2021
  • For businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million

*Based on a 30% company tax rate. Customers should seek their own accounting and financial advice.


Feed-in Tariffs – Available Nationwide

While the goal of a commercial solar power system these days is to maximum usage of the solar power generated within your business operations – rather than exporting it to the grid – there will be times when production may be surplus to requirements. This includes times such as on weekends and public holidays.

Feed-in tariffs pay system owners for surplus electricity exported to the mains grid. You can find out more about FiT here. While not strictly classed as a commercial solar rebate, they do mean more money in your pocket.


 Environmental Upgrade Finance – Available in NSW, Victoria and South Australia

Low interest loans for solar and other environmental upgrades are available to businesses in NSW, Victoria and South Australia under an Environmental Upgrade Finance (EUF) agreement.

Under this agreement, a building owner borrows money for environmental building upgrades from a financier and makes the repayments through the local council rates system. Security provided by the council lowers the risk for the financier, resulting in interest rates that are competitive compared with traditional financing.

Benefits include:

  • Competitive fixed interest rates
  • Long-term finance (10-20 years)
  • No additional security required
  • No deposit required
  • Share costs and benefits with tenants, with their consent
  • Financing can be transferred if property is sold

Environment Upgrade Finance is suited to businesses who:

  • own their premises and require longer term finance with low monthly payments
  • have a long-term tenancy.

Not all councils support this financing method. Let Energy Matters help you find out whether you can apply by filling out this form.


 Clean Energy Finance Corporation – Competitive Bank Loans

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is working in partnership with some of the nation’s leading financial institutions to drive invest in clean energy, such as solar power and battery storage.

Low cost finance through this program can cover up to 100 per cent of the cost of equipment and projects typically range from $7,500 to $5 million.

Participating business lenders include:

  • RateSetter – Green Loans
  • ANZ – Energy Efficient Asset Finance
  • Bank of Queensland – Energy Efficient Equipment Finance

Program link: https://www.cefc.com.au/where-we-invest/sustainable-economy/asset-finance/


 State by State Solar Incentives

Federal – STCs and LGCs Federal – Economic Stimulus Package Feed-in Tariff Environmental Upgrade Finance Clean Energy Finance Corporation – Low Interest Loan Other
VIC YES YES YES YES YES Victorian Energy Upgrades – for solar hot water and heat pumps

Solar grants for farmers – up to $1 million

ACT YES YES YES No YES Battery storage rebates – up to $24,750
NSW YES YES YES YES YES Farm Innovation Fund – low interest loans
South Australia YES YES YES YES YES City of Adelaide Council – rebates for solar panels, solar hot water systems and battery storage

Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES) – rebates for solar hot water & heat pumps

QLD YES YES YES No YES No
WA YES YES YES No YES No
TAS YES YES YES No YES No
NT YES YES YES No YES No

Victoria

Victorian businesses can access a range of subsidies and financing for solar power installations and solar hot water upgrades at state level.

For example, a number of Victorian local councils are providing access to low interest, long-term loans for solar and other energy efficiency products through the Environmental Upgrade Finance agreement. This is well worth considering if you want to have long-term fixed interest borrowing at a rate that is competitive compared to traditional lenders.

There are also two other state-level programs which offer attractive subsidies for businesses keen to invest in renewable energy:

  1. Victorian Energy Upgrades – available to all businesses and households
  2. Solar and energy efficiency grants – available for farmers

1/ Victorian Energy Upgrades
Victorian Energy Upgrades are available to all types of Victorian businesses for the installation of a range of energy-efficiency products including solar hot water and heat pumps.

These rebates are worth up to $800 for installing more efficient hot water systems. The amount of rebate depends on the type of system installed, it’s size and other factors.

Water heating costs can be as much as 16% of an average Victorian energy bill. So if you want to find out how much you could save – get in touch with us today.

2/ Solar and Energy Efficiency Grants for Farmers

Grants of up to $1 million are available to Victorian farmers who are primary producers under the Agriculture Energy Investment Plan. Grants are on a dollar-for-dollar cash co-contribution basis and are for investment in solar power, other forms of renewable energy generation and energy efficiency improvements.

To be eligible your farm needs to be a primary producer and spend at least $8,000 per year on energy – including electricity, gas, LPG and diesel, but excluding transportation costs*.

The grants available are:

Grant type Grant value One of the key eligible criteria – amount spent per year on electricity, gas, LPG and diesel (exc transport) inclusive of GST
Tier 1 Up to $50,000 > $8,000
Tier 2 $50,000 – $250,000 >$25,000
Tier 3 $250,000 – $1 million >25,0000

Deadline March 31, 2020

The first step is to apply (insert link: http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/farm-management/agriculture-energy-investment-plan/assessments#documentation) for a free on-farm energy assessment.  Don’t delay as the deadline for applying for an assessment is March 31, 2020.  The paperwork you’ll need to submit with your application is pretty straightforward – so if you think you may be eligible, and you want to cut your energy costs then it’s a good idea to submit an application ASAP.

*other eligibility criteria apply.  See government website for full details [link to http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/farm-management/agriculture-energy-investment-plan


ACT

As well as the subsidies and financing available at national level for solar, ACT businesses can also benefit from a generous rebate from the ACT government for installing battery storage.

Next Generation Energy Storage Grant program

Up to $24,750 is available to businesses installing battery storage through the ACT government’s Next Generation Energy Storage Grant program.

Around 5,000 Canberra businesses and homes will receive a rebate of $825 per kilowatt (kW) up to a maximum of 30kW.

This rebate is only available through suppliers who have been selected and authorised by the ACT government. 

For businesses looking to increase their energy security – and minimise disruption and loss of income caused by power outages – installing a battery now, with this incentive, could be a sensible financial decision.

To find out more, complete this form and our team will help you get started. 

Program link: www.actsmart.act.gov.au/what-can-i-do/homes/discounted-battery-storage


NSW

In addition to the federal solar subsidies, feed-in tariffs and low interest loans such as the Environmental Upgrade Finance agreement, the NSW government has put in place a $1 billion program to provide long-term low interest loans to farmers for capital expenditure on a range of items, including solar.

Farm Innovation Fund

New South Wales farmers can apply to borrow up to $1 million for capital expenditure – including solar power systems – to improve permanent on-farm infrastructure.  In addition, interest charges for the 2019-20 period will be waived. 

This $1 billion program – called the Farm Innovation Fund – offers loans for up to 20 years at low rates of interest.  Loans are available for up to 100% of the net cost of the works (such as a solar panels installation).  The interest rate will be fixed for the term of the loan at a competitive rate – currently 2.5% as of March 2020.

https://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/loans/farm-innovation-fund


South Australia

Businesses in South Australia can access competitive low interest finance for solar and other energy efficient products through the Environmental Upgrade Finance agreement through selected lenders. 

There is also the Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES) which provides rebates for solar hot water and heat pumps as well as other energy efficiency upgrades.

These schemes are in addition to the subsidies and financial incentives available at national level for installing small and large-scale solar power systems.


City of Adelaide

Businesses, sporting organisations and not-for-profits located in the City of Adelaide can also access a range of valuable incentives for solar panels, solar hot water systems and battery storage.  These subsidies range in value from $1,000 to $5,000 and are through the City of Adelaide Council’s Sustainability Incentive Scheme.

For example, the subsidy on a 20kW solar power system is 20% of the system cost, up to $5,000.  Other subsidies are:

Energy storage

  • 50% up to $5,000 for energy storage systems

Solar hot water

  • 25% up to $1,000 for upgrade or installation of a solar hot water system

https://www.cityofadelaide.com.au/about-council/grants-sponsorship-incentives/sustainability-incentives-scheme/

The world of commercial solar rebates, low interest loans, grants and other financial assistance can be a confusing one that constantly shifts and changes. Contact Energy Matters for a no-obligation discussion of how solar can improve your bottom line and to learn more about the incentives and/or financing options that may be available to you. To arrange a discussion, use our online form.

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