How to Claim STC Rebates for Solar or Heat Pump Hot Water

Kids enjoying heat pump hot water available with STC Rebates

Got an old electric hot water system that’s ready to be upgraded? The Australian Government’s Small-scale Technology Certificate (STCs) program is a part of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme aimed at encouraging the uptake of renewable energy systems by residential and small business consumers. The program provides financial incentives to those who install eligible small-scale renewable energy systems, such as solar panels, wind turbines, heat pump hot water systems, and solar water heaters. Your new solar or heat pump hot water system could come with a sizable rebate. Unlike Heat Pump or solar hot water installations in NSW, Queensland doesn’t attract additional rebates. But the best news? You don’t have to do anything to claim STC rebates, the solar or heat pump hot water installer does it all for you.

What our expert, John Salmon says:

The STC credit system has received a bit of flack but in reality, it’s not just a way to incentivise more sustainable appliances, the shift of responsibility from the user to the tradesperson to redeem the rebate removes further barriers to making smarter, greener choices.

Eligible Installations for STC Rebates

To qualify for in an STC Rebate, the installation must meet specific eligibility criteria. Typically, the renewable energy systems must be small-scale, have a capacity of 100 kilowatts or less, and comply with the Clean Energy Council (CEC) guidelines. If you’re looking at solar hot water, you’ll need to install solar panels for the first time. Upgrading to a heat pump hot water system that connects to your existing rooftop solar panels is eligible for the rebates.

Creation of STCs is a Certificate-Based Rebate

When an eligible renewable energy system is installed, it is awarded a certain number of STCs based on the system’s expected generation of renewable energy over its lifetime. The number of STCs varies depending on the size, type, and location of the system. This technically isn’t a “typical rebate” like the insulation rebates for example, it’s a certificate program – you are entitled to cashback for the number of projected savings your installation will make.

Assigning STCs Means ZERO Paperwork

Once your new solar or heat pump hot water installation is finalised, you are then “assigning” it to your plumber. In other words, you’re giving your installer the “credit” for the STC rebate. Usually, your plumber then gives you “cash back” or deducts the assigned STC credit from your installation cost. In other words, they have to do all the paperwork for you.

Queensland Small Business – You’ve Got More to Consider

STCs are the currency of renewable energy. They’re the method used to keep businesses accountable in meeting environmental targets. STCs are tradable commodities, and their value can fluctuate based on market demand and supply. The market price for STCs is influenced by factors such as the number of renewable energy systems installed, government policy changes, and overall market conditions. Electricity retailers and other liable entities under the RET scheme are required to surrender a specific number of STCs to the Clean Energy Regulator each year as part of their compliance obligations. These liable entities use the surrendered STCs to meet their Renewable Energy Target obligations. For this reason, if you’re installing an STC-eligible hot water system in your small business in Queensland, you may wish to dig deeper into the paperwork – it might be worth forgoing the discount to meet your environmental obligations.


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