The government incentives that put renewable energy within reach 

The global energy price crisis is driving up petrol, electricity and gas bills by hundreds of dollars a year, and may well be a tipping point for thousands of families who have been eyeing off solar power systems, together with associated batteries, or electric vehicles (EVs).

State and federal governments are on board, offering attractive incentives for switching to renewable energy that now make solar power systems and EVs more attainable for households.

If you are a four-person household with a power bill of about $3000 a year, a typical solar system with 6. 6kW of panels and a 10kWh battery will set you back $15,000-$22,000 – before government rebates – so you are looking at a period of 5-7 years before the system pays for itself.

While EVs still cost more than petrol cars, the savings on fuel and maintenance mean that, over 5-6 years, the cost is about the same for a new MG ZS EV (due in August and the cheapest EV on the market) and a similar petrol car.

If you want to charge an EV from your solar system, you would probably need more panels and a bigger battery than described above, extending the payback time.

However, even if the solar system costs more, financial help is at hand.

Every state now has EV rebates worth thousands of dollars that you could use to add extra panels to your solar system.

So, what government financial assistance can you get to make the switch to renewables? I did a quick stocktake.

  • The Australian Capital Territory remains the place to live for government renewables incentives, with a rebate of up to $3500 on batteries, up to $2500 for low-income households installing solar, plus interest-free loans up to $15,000 for energy efficient products, including solar and EVs.

There is also no stamp duty for EVs, two years’ free registration and 50 public chargers. The Territory has paid out almost $40 million to more than 4000 applicants, and rebated almost 3000 batteries and 700 low-income household solar systems.

  • Victorian incentives are probably next best. The state government offers means-tested rebates of $1400 on solar panels (34,000 places in the program left) $1000 on solar hot water, and $3500 on a battery (only 2435 left and dropping by $500 at the end of this month). Plus there are interest-free loans available in the same amounts.

There is also a $3000 subsidy for EVs that cost less than $68,740 (1094 remaining in the release of 4000) and a $100 registration discount. However, there is also a road user charge of 2. 5¢ per kilometre.

The government has so far paid out rebates to 200,000 Victorians for panels, batteries and solar hot water and more than 5200 for EVs.

  • New South Wales has means-tested, interest-free loans of up to $14,000 for solar and batteries in some regional areas, and free 3kw solar systems for concession-card holders who receive a low-income household rebate. There is also $3000 for the first 25,000 EVs and no stamp duty if they cost less than $78,000.
  • Queensland offers a $3000 rebate for EVs under $58,000 that can be claimed from July 1.
  • South Australian incentives include a battery rebate of up to $2000 (ending September), plus a $3000 EV rebate, tax concessions and three years’ free registration.
  • Western Australia has a $3500 rebate for EVs under $70,000, capped at 10,000 grants (just opened) and is funding $15 million in charging infrastructure.
  • At a federal level, the small-scale renewable energy scheme shaves about one-third off the cost of installing a solar system, but reduces slightly each year until 2030, when it will end. That is a good incentive to claim it sooner rather than later.

The federal government has also committed to introducing an electric car discount. EVs under the luxury car tax threshold ($84,916 in 2022-23) would be exempt from a 5 per cent import tariff and 47 per cent fringe benefits tax – if they are provided through work for private use.

There has never been a better time to switch your household or car to run on renewables. The time to act is now.

Joel Gibson is the author of . Catch his money saving segments on , and on Twitter .

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