Investing in a solar power system often means doing your research well, especially when it comes to understanding whether a solar power system is right for your needs. Apart from the hardware research like choosing the right variety, design and brand of solar panels and understanding your solar battery needs, the “soft” part of solar panel systems installation research involves taking a look at whether the investment itself is worth it. That means navigating your way through a host of government rebates, subsidies and tax-relief schemes that are designed to make your life easier, but really can just make your head spin.
Here’s a primer on what would apply to you, as a home or small business owner living and operating in Victoria.
Feed-In Tariff (FIT) Schemes
A feed-in tariff scheme is a sort of “two-way give-back” mechanism, where the installer of the solar power system (typically, the consumer, homeowner or small business-owner) is given a monetary payment, in exchange for electricity that is generated through solar power, wind energy and other sustainable methods. So, if you’ve got a solar power system installed at home or the office, and the system generates more electricity than it needs, it’s a good idea to “feed” some of this energy back into the traditional electricity grid, so that it can be used by others, for a payment from either the government or a commercial retailer of electricity.
We’ve got two FIT schemes in Victoria – the Premium FIT and the Transitional FIT. Both are based on a model that offsets your total electricity consumption using a traditional grid against the amount of energy that you can produce through a stand-alone solar power system. The Premium scheme runs until 2024, and pays back at the rate of 60 cents/Kwh, and the Transitional one will end in 2016; it currently pays 25cents/Kwh.
Though applications to both have stopped being accepted as of 2012, the Victorian government does have some new solar rebates coming up, like the new FIT scheme that is based on the amount of solar irradiation or exposure your place of business or residence will get, and which will take into account hardware features involved, like the capacity of the solar panels to produce electricity, the amount of sunlight they might need, and their overall efficiency.
And then of course, there are the solar credits offered by the national government, quite independent of anything the state government does, so they might be worth taking a look at, too.
Community Solar Projects
Another way to get quicker results when it comes to encouraging more people to switch to solar power is to get entire communities to change the way they generate power. The Victorian government has 4 programs aimed at community solar power development:
- The Solar Hubs Program: has been designed to give consumers better service and choice in solar power systems installation and operation, by setting higher and more competitive standards amongst solar panel installers, and energy retailers.
- The Victorian Solar in Schools Initiative: helps fund schools in the state that are looking to generate electricity by installing solar power systems.
- The Commonwealth Solar Cities Program: works with municipal governments to expand solar power systems use in local communities.
- The Solar Hot Water Rebate Program: is designed to encourage consumers who want to change their electrically-powered hot water system to a solar powered one, by funding part of the process.
Seems like the Government of Victoria is gung-ho about solar power – are you? Contact us for information on switching your old-fashioned electricity system to a brand-spanking new solar power system – and to sit back and reap in the benefits of living a cleaner and greener life.