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GreenPower and Solar Credits Explained

Posted in Movements, Research by Kate Archdeacon on March 4th, 2011

Source: Sanctuary Magazine

Confused about Solar Credits, RECs, STCs and GreenPower? The ATA’s Energy Projects & Policy Manager, Damien Moyse, talks us through the basics.

“GreenPower is a great way to offset your greenhouse gas emissions from electricity consumption. The mechanism has been around for ten years and is tightly regulated, operating through the existing Renewable Energy Target market. For each kilowatt hour of GreenPower that you buy, your electricity retailer will purchase additional renewable energy certificates (RECs) on your behalf. From an individual perspective it may be only a small thing, but collectively, Australians voluntarily spent around $100 million on GreenPower in 2009, which resulted in almost 2,000 gigawatt hours of additional renewable electricity generation on top of the Government’s mandated targets under the Renewable Energy Target. Overall, this makes a significant and positive difference to the renewable energy industry.

“The Solar Credits scheme aims to increase the uptake of small scale renewable energy systems, such as solar photovoltaic (PV), small wind and micro-hydro systems, generally up to 1.5 kilowatts in size. The scheme works by offering people who purchase and install these systems an increased number of small technology certificates (STCs) than they would otherwise be entitled to under the Renewable Energy Target. Selling the STCs to the renewable energy market effectively provides the consumer with a discount off the retail price of the system, and hence an incentive to invest in one. As an example, a person in South Australia purchasing a 1.5 kW solar PV system for $9,000 would currently be entitled to 155 STCs. With an STC price of $36, this would provide a $5,580 discount off the retail price of the system.”

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