Western Australia’s location in the world makes it an ideal place for clean power generation. It’s no wonder thousands of properties, including residential, commercial, and industrial, have installed solar panels to generate electric power sustainably.
WA residents can access two renewable energy schemes: the Synergy Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS) feed-in tariff for exporting energy to the grid, and the Federal Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), which typically helps reduce the upfront cost of installing a solar PV system.
These solar schemes and incentives help households in Western Australia offset the cost of solar panels. Let’s check out the kinds of solar incentives currently available in WA, what they cover, how to be eligible for them, and more.
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What Solar Rebates or Incentives are Available in WA?
There are two government solar incentives available to WA residents in 2022: the State Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS) and Federal Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES).
If you’re interested in installing a residential solar PV system, these two incentives can help ease the financial weight of switching to renewable energy and help more homeowners enjoy the advantages of solar energy. Let’s discuss these two schemes further.
1. Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS)
If you live in Western Australia, you may want to take advantage of the government’s Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS). DEBS is an energy buyback scheme that allows eligible customers a rebate for the electricity they export to the grid.
The exported electricity can come from solar panels, electric vehicles, home batteries, and the like. The DEBS is created to support and encourage using these new, sustainable, clean, and eco-friendly technologies.
2. Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES)
The SRES scheme was created to encourage people and small businesses to install solar panel systems, solar water heaters, small-scale wind systems, small-scale hydro systems, and air-source heat pumps.
Effectively, the SRES entitles eligible small-scale renewable energy systems to small-scale technology certificates, which are sold over time to recoup purchase and installation costs. Typically, the householder will assign their solar installer the right to handle these certificates upfront, and receive a lower purchase price for their solar PV system.
When comparing the cost of solar installation in Australia, the price you’re quoted will typically include this financial incentive. You’ll see this as a line item discount on solar installation quotes and estimates.
How Much is the Solar Incentive in WA?
Under the Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS), homes in Western Australia can receive a ‘feed-in tariff’ for their renewable energy production. This is a credit on your electricity bill for excess electricity exported to the grid.
New solar feed-in tariffs came into effect in Western Australia on July 1, 2022.
The new Synergy solar feed-in tariffs for 2022 are:
- 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour off-peak (9 PM until 3 PM)
- 10 cents per kilowatt-hour peak (3 PM until 9 PM)
The new Horizon Power solar feed-in tariffs for 2022 are:
- 3 cents per kilowatt-hour off-peak (9 PM until 3 PM)
- 10 cents per kilowatt-hour peak (3 PM until 9 PM)
Since rooftop solar panels generate the most power in the middle of the day, the estimated solar-rebate average of north-facing solar panels, according to Solar Quotes, is around 3.8 cents per kilowatt-hour. West-facing panels tilted at 22.5 degrees would be approximately 4.4 cents.
The previous WA solar rebate, the Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (REBS) was discontinued in 2020. Households with new solar panels installed on or after August 31, 2020, will receive the DEBS tariff rates stated above rather than the REBS tariff rates.
Who is Eligible for the Solar Incentive in WA?
Eligibility criteria for the DEBS solar feed-in tariff include the size of the renewable energy systems you’re installing or upgrading, how much power your property consumes annually, and technical requirements for grid connection.
In Western Australia, you may be eligible for the DEBS solar feed-in tariff for each eligible kilowatt-hour you export to the grid.
Homes, educational institutions, and non-profit organisations are eligible for DEBS in Western Australia that are:
- Interested in or planning to install a new and eligible energy distributed energy system such as solar panels or a home battery array. Those with electric vehicles are also eligible.
- Interested in or plan to upgrade their existing solar panels. Those adding a home battery to an existing renewable energy system are also eligible.
- Customers of an existing renewable energy buyback system (REBS) who want to change to DEBS.
There are some additional eligibility criteria for DEBS.
The renewable energy system you wish to install or upgrade must:
- have a capacity of 5 kW or less, or
- have a capacity of up to 6.6 kW with an inverter capacity of up to 5 kW
If you have a solar PV system of over 5 kW and live in certain regions, you may be eligible for the Horizon Power Commercial Buyback Scheme (COBS). Note that this isn’t a government incentive and is a private scheme operated by Horizon Power.
Additionally, your property should not consume more than 50 MWh of electricity annually.
Regarding home batteries and electric vehicles, there is no capacity limit. However, they should meet technical requirements for grid connection before they’re considered DEBS eligible.
Only the first 50 units of exported energy per customer per day per premises are applicable for the DEBS buyback rate.
Finally, if you’re an existing REBS customer, you’ll remain on REBS unless you upgrade your system, install an additional battery, or switch to DEBS. However, on August 31, 2020, DEBS completely replaced REBS for new applications.
How Do I Claim the Solar Incentive in WA?
If you are installing a new solar panel system, you or your installer will need to complete a DEBS application form to receive the rebates from the Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme. You can apply through the Synergy website or Horizon Power website to participate in DEBS.
When Does the Solar Incentive End in WA?
There is no exact date, but the energy buyback scheme in WA is projected to end sometime in 2030. Rather than ceasing abruptly, the incentive will be gradually reduced over time until it’s phased out, so rebates will continue to decrease year-by-year.
The gradual reduction of the rebate is part of WA’s Brighter Energy Future roadmap. As one in three WA homes now have rooftop solar, government incentives will gradually reduce – meaning now is the best time to receive rebates on residential solar PV systems.
Is There a Solar Hot Water Rebate in WA?
The Western Australian government no longer offers a specific solar hot water system rebate or subsidy. Solar hot water systems installed in Western Australia may be eligible for the Federal government Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) incentive.
Western Australia previously offered the Solar Hot Water Heater Subsidy Scheme, with rebates of between $500 and $700 for WA households that purchase and install eco-friendly, gas-boosted solar water heaters. However, this scheme is no longer available.
Is There a Solar Battery Rebate in WA?
Unfortunately, there is no solar battery rebate in WA, although there is public outcry for it. This comes as other states such as South Australia, Northern Territory, and Victoria provide various rebates for solar batteries.
You may also be eligible for a Virtual Power Plant subsidy when installing solar battery storage. Since the 2021 Project Symphony VPP trial, virtual power plants are becoming more and more viable to support Western Australia’s energy grid. Companies offering VPP subsidies in Western Australia include Plico Energy.
Here are some frequently asked questions regarding solar rebates in WA.
What are STCs?
STCs stand for small-scale technology certificates. STC is the official Australia-wide term referring to residential solar rebates.
STCs are part of the SRES, which incentivises individual and small-scale business components of the government’s renewable energy target. STCs are made when a solar panel system with a solar panel capacity of less than 100 kW is installed. The number of STCs created depends on the solar system’s size and the property’s geographical location. STCs can also be traded.
Does the SRES Solar Incentive Include GST?
Solar rebates are inclusive of GST in addition to any contribution from STCs. There’s no need to pay GST when registering or creating an STC. However, note that transactions related to the purchase, sale, and assignment of STCs may require homeowners, installers, and other agents to pay GST.
Can You Get Free Solar Panels in Perth?
Unfortunately, there is no scheme or incentive in Perth that entitles homeowners to free solar panels. However, there are still a number of incentives available that can make installing a solar system much cheaper for Perth residents.
This includes the Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (feed-in tariff) and Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme (upfront incentive). It is good to note that solar systems in Western Australia are more affordable than ever.
Government solar incentives in WA are an effective way to steer Australians to use technologies to generate clean, renewable energy. It also rewards them for giving back to the community, specifically by exporting extra power to the grid. We hope the information in this article will help you understand how you can take advantage of government solar incentives while lending a hand in solving Australia’s energy crisis.
This article is published in good faith and for general informational purposes only. JFK Electrical does not make any warranties about the ongoing completeness and reliability of this information. Always seek personalised advice on solar energy to ensure any recommendations suit your property and scenario.
John Lyons, the owner of JFK Electrical Solar & Air, started his career in the electrical industry in 1997. With years of experience gained in the industry across multiple continents, he relocated to Australia and decided to specialise in solar and air conditioning. After deciding he wanted to be closer to his family, John began his own local electrical business in Mandurah, using his extensive knowledge and training in the industry. At JFK, John’s number one goal is to provide tailored solutions to his customers. And thanks to his experience and commitment to his customers, JFK Electrical is now one of the most trusted local businesses in Mandurah for solar and electrical services.