A rebate by any other name
By Rebecca Ryall
You or I might call it a rebate, but the government's Clean Energy Regulator prefers we don't use that term. The Small-scale Technology Certificate (STC) represents a reduction on the installation cost of solar (or other small-scale electricity generation system, such as wind or hydro), applied per kW hour (output deemed over a number of years), at a rate which fluctuates with the market. It is a discount on system components which is applied at the point of sale, and usually negotiated on behalf of the consumer by the installation company. Market fluctuations of the value of an STC are driven by consumer demand. Simply, if the demand for rooftop solar increases, this will drive down the value of the STC. In July the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recommended axing the STC system. However, the Clean Energy Council has rejected this advice, with the Morrison government this week declaring that the current scheme will continue, as planned, until 2030, causing much relief to the solar industry, consumers and advocacy groups.
Panel deregulation and safety compliance
The Clean Energy Council (CEC) is the peak body for renewable energy in Australia, responsible for ensuring the quality, safety and reliability of Australia's solar power industry. As part of their policy and advocacy work, the CEC administer the Solar Installer Accreditation Scheme, the Solar Retailer Code of Conduct, the Battery Assurance Program and the Solar Panel Validation Initiative through which it maintains a list of photovoltaic panels which comply with industry standards for safety and performance. This validation scheme gives installers and consumers confidence that their (sometimes expensive) investment in PV panels meet Australian safety and performance standards and come with a valid Australian warranty and are approved for network connection.
Eligibility for participation in the STC programme includes the use of solar components approved by the Clean Energy Council. In order to reap the financial benefits of the STC scheme, it is important that only components on the CEC approved product list are installed. Importantly, several makes and models of PV panels face imminent deregulation, due to expiration of current approval.
For the average domestic solar consumer, there is not a lot of brand recognition and it can be difficult to judge the quality, safety or efficacy of the various components of a home solar system. Rainbow Power Company has over 30 years of experience in the rapidly changing environment of the renewable energy industry. Not only are we industry leaders in sales and installation, but we are here to stay. You can have confidence that Rainbow Power complies with all industry standards and we only deal with reputable manufacturers. We only deal in products tested and approved by the Clean Energy Council and our after sales service is second to none. Should you experience any difficulties with the system or components installed by us, we are just a phone call away. Should you have any questions regarding the STC scheme, or any worries about the safety and efficacy of your rooftop solar panels, please feel free to contact us.