What are Renewable Energy Certificates?
Energy certificates can be sold for cash, or used as rebates against future renewable energy purchases.
Renewable energy certificates are another way to make money from solar. To aid the increase of renewable energy generation, the government put in place a system to allow energy power generators to 'certify' their use of power.
Energy companies have to source and surrender a certain number of these certificates to the Clean Energy Regulator to prove they are meeting renewable energy targets.
How do they work?
By 2020, energy companies must prove that they've produced 20% of their energy from renewable sources which they can do through Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). RECs are earned in different ways depending on which category they fall into:
- Small-scale technology certificates (STCs). These are created by eligible installations of solar water heaters, air source heat pumps, and small power generation units like solar and wind. One STC is roughly equivalent to a MW of energy generated or saved.
- Large-scale generation certificates (LGCs). These are awarded for every MW of power a large-scale power plant (such as a hydroelectric dam, or solar/wind farm) produces above its energy baseline.
They can be traded for cash or sold to power companies.
How do I apply to get a renewable energy certificate?
There is a little bit of paperwork and red tape required to getting your renewable energy certificates. It's a lot easier if you can try to go through your solar installer or an energy specialist in your area. It may also be possible for an energy retailer to provide you with an energy certificate when you agree to a feed-in tariff. If neither of these are available to you, then you can do it yourself. Simply visit the Renewable Energy Target section of the Australian Government Clean Energy Regulator site.
The renewable energy target has come under fire for not going far enough, or for allowing companies to essentially pay to pollute, but these fights are usually best had in parliament. For you and millions of other Australians who are simply looking to get the best deal, renewable energy certificates can provide you with another way to get a little something back from your solar and keep a little extra cash in your wallet.
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