solar panels

How to create STC for small-scale solar, wind and hydro systems

The information below explains how to create small-scale technology certificates (STCs) for small scale solar, wind and hydro systems, so that you can sell and trade them yourself via the online REC Registry.

Important information before you start:

  • Small-scale technology certificates (STCs) are not a rebate, and completing this creation process is not an application for a Government rebate. You will not qualify for any Government-based financial benefit at the completion of this process.
  • Creating STCs for sale can be complex and has significant administrative requirements, legal implications, and may involve fees.
  • If you require rapid payment for your certificates, or a simpler process, please contact an agent who can organise the creation and sale of your certificates.
  • If you decide to follow the process below, be aware you will be required to:
    • pay full price for your system upfront
    • organise the installation of your system, ensuring it is compliant with the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 and associated Regulations
    • apply for registration as a person
    • create the STCs in the REC Registry
    • find a buyer for your STCs (including using the STC Clearing House), and
    • manage payment for the STCs.
  • The Clean Energy Regulator may provide you with advice on this process, but cannot manage any of these processes for you, or intervene in any process other than STC creation.

To create STCs you must:

  • be the owner of the STCs, either by having installed an eligible solar panel, wind, or hydro system at your property, or by having the STCs correctly assigned to you by the original owner of the STCs.
  • have all the correct and signed documentation required to create STCs
  • have a "Registered Person" account in the REC Registry, and
  • create STCs within 12 months of the system being installed.

Note: STCs created for systems installed prior to 1 January 2010 will enter the REC Registry as large-scale generation certificates (LGCs), not STCs. Please see the LGC section for how to trade and sell LGCs. You cannot use the STC Clearing House for these certificates.

Your system must comply with all the requirements listed below in order to be eligible for STCs.

A new solar, wind or hydro system is eligible if:

  • the system is designed by a Clean Energy Council accredited designer
  • the system is installed by a Clean Energy Council accredited installer
  • all the components of the installed system are new
  • solar panel modules meet AS/NZS 5033 Compliant PV Modules. A list of approved panels is available on the Agents tools and resources page
  • the system uses an inverter it is listed in the Clean Energy Council’s list of approved inverters, available on the Agents tools and resources page
  • the system and installation complies with Australian and New Zealand standards
  • the system and installation complies with all local, State and Federal requirements for the type of installation
  • the solar panel system has a capacity of no more than 100kW and has a total annual electricity output less than 250MWh. If your system is larger it will be classified as a power station and will need to be accredited as a power station in order to be eligible for LGCs, and
  • the STCs are created within 12 months of the installation date (if you choose to go through an agent they will create the STCs on your behalf).

You must be the owner of the system at the time it is installed and capable of producing electricity to be entitled to create, or assign the right to create, STCs. In some circumstances, where the solar panels are installed in new buildings, the owner may be the builder or property developer.

Your system must comply with the following requirements in order to be eligible for STCs.

Unit type Unit capacity and annual electricity output Installation periods
Solar PV units No more than 100kW and a total annual electricity output less than 250MWh On or after 14 November 2005
Solar PV units No more than 10kW and a total annual electricity output less than 25MWh Between 1 April 2001 and 13 November 2005
Small wind turbines No more than 10kW and a total annual electricity output less than 25MWh On or after 1 April 2001
Hydroelectric units No more than 6.4kW and a total annual electricity output less than 25MWh On or after 1 April 2001

Purchasing your system through a retailer

It is common to receive a discount on the total price of purchase and/or installation of a system in exchange for assigning the right to create STCs. If you wish to create the STCs yourself it is important to inform your supplier/s that they will not be assigned the right to create the STCs against the system when you make your purchase.

Note: You cannot create STCs if you have already assigned the right to create them to an agent. An agent is a company or person registered in the scheme to create certificates on behalf of others. This may be, but is not always, your installation company.

What does it mean if your system is classified as a power station?

  • As a RET power station owner, you are eligible to create LGCs for some of the power generated by the system.
  • If you have added capacity which makes your small-scale system into a power station, you are not eligible to create STCs for the new part of the system.
  • You may apply for accreditation of the complete system as a RET power station.
  • Information on the RET power station accreditation process is available on the RET power stations page.
  • LGCs may not be created for electricity generated by that part of the RET power station that was the original small-scale system, as the original part will already have had STCs (or RECs) claimed for it.
  • You will need to calculate the proportion of the electricity generated by the original small-scale system and deduct it from the total electricity generated, and only claim LGCs on the subsequent amount.

When the system has been completely installed:

  • All parts of the system are installed and demonstrated to be capable of producing electricity. This includes the correct mounting of the solar panels/turbine, the completion of all of the DC wiring between the panels/turbine and the inverter/regulator, and the mounting/connecting of any other parts that are required to produce electricity.
    • For grid-connected small-scale solar panel, wind, and hydro systems, the inverter does not need to be connected to a meter or main-grid to be considered installed.

System deeming periods

  • STCs may be created for solar panel (photovoltaic) systems either:
    • annually
    • on installation for the first 5 years after installation (the deeming period) and then at the start of each subsequent 5 year deeming period, or
    • on installation for 15 years (the deeming period), after which no further STCs may be created.
  • STCs may be created for wind and hydro systems either:
    • annually, or
    • on installation for the first 5 years after the installation (the deeming period) and then at the start of each subsequent 5 year deeming period.

A majority of owners choose to opt for the maximum deeming period to claim the maximum number of STCs

For more information, visit what is a deeming period.

Accreditation

CEC accredited installers are required to:

  • have public liability insurance worth at least five million dollars (Australian)
  • comply with, the CEC Code of Conduct in the installation of the solar panel, wind or hydro system
  • ensure that the installation has all applicable local and State/Territory Government approval requirements
  • ensure that the solar panel, wind or hydro system and its installation, including wiring, meets relevant Australian and International Standards, and that key components (such as the inverter) are listed on the Clean Energy Council’s list of approved products
  • ensure that the mounting and orientation of the system are in line with the Clean Energy Council accreditation requirements
  • supply all relevant documentation to certify correct installation of the system, and
  • comply with the Regulated requirements for installation of the SGU, by signing suitable compliance paperwork.

Samples of required documentation can be found at Assignment and Compliance Documents.

Documents must contain:

  • Statement of the designer’s CEC accreditation
  • Statement of installer's CEC accreditation.
  • Statement certifying that the installer holds $5million in liability insurance.
  • Installer’s electrician’s licence. The electrical wiring associated with grid-connected installation of the unit must be undertaken by an electrical worker holding an unrestricted licence for electrical work issued by the State or Territory authority for the place where the unit was installed.
  • Site and grid connected written statement. Either the installer or the owner must sign a statement that all required local and state/territory approvals have been met for:
    • The siting of the unit;
    • The attachment of the unit to the building or structure (if the unit is attached); and
    • The grid connection of the system (if it is grid connected).
  • Unit design and installation statement. A signed and written statement that includes the name of the designer and the installer of the unit, and their CEC classification and accreditation number.
  • Electrical compliance documentation for the relevant jurisdiction. Obtain from the installer a copy of any documentation required, by the laws of the jurisdiction in which the unit was installed, certifying that the electrical installation of the unit complies with laws relating to safety and technical standards. This could be in the form of a Certificate of Compliance, Installation Report and Electrician’s Licence.
  • Off-grid electrical compliance documentation. A written statement is required from the installer of an off-grid installation if the wiring for the unit involves an alternating current of 50 or more volts and/or a direct current of 120 or more volts. The statement must confirm:
    • The unit is off grid; and
    • An electrical worker holding an unrestricted licence for electrical work issued by the State or Territory Authority for the place where the unit was installed undertook all wiring of the unit that involves:
      • alternating current of 50 or more volts; or
      • direct current of 120 or more volts.
  • On-site statement. A written and signed statement that the installer/supervisor has physically attended the installation made in their name. This statement should be signed by the owner to certify physical attendance.

Additional documentation - Australian Standards

Small-scale solar installations on or after 1 November, 2010, and hydro and wind installations on or after 20 December 2010, require additional documentation certifying that specific Australian/New Zealand Standards relating to installation of small-scale generation systems have been adhered to.

The Standards required for an installation are the versions in force at the time of installation.

The relevant Standards are:

  • AS/NZS 3000 Wiring Rules
  • AS/NZS 1768 Lightning Protection
  • AS/NZS 5033 Installation of photovoltaic (PV) arrays
  • AS/NZS 1170.2 Structural design actions, Part 2: Wind actions
  • AS/NZS 5033 Compliant PV modules
  • Tested and Approved Grid Connected Inverters
  • AS/NZS: 4509.1 Stand-alone power systems, Part 1: Safety and Installation
  • AS 4086.2 Secondary batteries for use with standard-alone power systems, Part 2: Installation and Maintenance

Registered person accounts

You must be a registered person in order to create STCs. With a registered person account you can:

  • create LGCs and STCs for an installation that you own
  • transfer LGCs and STCs in the REC Registry
  • voluntarily surrender LGCs and STCs in the REC Registry, and
  • proceed to register as an agent or power station if desired/required.

Note: Small-scale solar panel, wind or hydro systems are referred to Small Generation Units (SGUs) in the REC Registry.

This account requires you to:

  • fit the criteria of being a legal person.
  • apply online via the REC Registry and within that application complete a Proof of Identity verification and fit and proper person questionnaire.
  • read and understand the eligibility requirements for creating STCs for Solar Water Heaters prior to registration.
  • read about and understand the penalties involved in breaching the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000. See the Compliance page for further information.
  • be aware of your right to be able to assign STCs to an Agent if you wish.
  • pay a non-refundable registration fee of $20. This fee is GST exempt.

If you need to register, please apply online via the REC Registry.

Calculating STCs

  • The quickest and easiest way to find out how many STCs you are eligible to create is to use the Small Generation Unit Calculator.
  • You can also use the detailed calculations in the STC calculations publication to precisely calculate the number of STCs for your system. It contains separate calculations for solar panel, wind, and hydro systems.

Please note:

  • Regulation 20 (1)(b) of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 (the Act) requires the rated kilowatts-peak (kWp) of the system to be used to determine the number of certificates a solar PV system is entitled to.
  • In the case where the rated output of PV array is equal to or less than the peak rated output of the inverter, then the rated output of the panels is to be used.
  • In the case where the rated output of the PV array is greater than the peak rated output of the inverter, then to be eligible for certificates the system must comply with the recommendations stated in the Clean Energy Council’s Grid-connect Design Guidelines.
  • As per Regulation 20AC (5)(a)(iv) of the Act, any non-compliance with the CEC Code of Conduct (which includes all CEC guidelines) will be seen as an improper creation of certificates and may be failed.
  • The Clean Energy Regulator regularly monitors and enforces the above guidelines.

STC value

  1. To determine the approximate value of your STCs, conduct an internet search for STC traders to find the going price of an STC (this fluctuates daily).
  2. If you choose to sell your STCs through the STC Clearing House there is a fixed price of $40/STC, however there are no guarantees on when STCs will be purchased through the Clearing House.
  3. Multiply the number of STCs a system is worth by the going price following the result of your search. Remember this price is an approximate only, and will depend on where, how and when you sell your STCs.

Completing STC validation in the REC Registry

  1. STCs must be validated before they are available for sale/transfer. While they are waiting, they are listed as ‘Pending registration’ in the REC Registry.
    • The first 250 certificates you create are free. These will automatically appear in your account summary.
    • Any certificates created after the first 250 require the payment of an 47c fee before the validation is complete.
    • Fees are not applied until the threshold is met.
    • When the threshold is met, fees apply to all created certificates, including the original batch created under the threshold.
  2. Where there are fees to be paid, they will be listed under ’Outstanding fee items’ in your account summary.
  3. Go to ‘Fees and Invoices’ and select ‘Fees’ to view outstanding fee items.
  4. Select the appropriate outstanding fee items by clicking in its checkbox.
  5. Click ’Create payment advice’, the page will automatically redirect to the ‘Invoice’ page
  6. View or print out the invoice to be paid.
  7. Select ’Pay by credit card’.
  8. Complete the credit card payment information and select ‘Submit’, a success message will appear at the top of the page.
  9. Settled invoices can be found on the ‘Invoices’ page.
  10. The STCs will then be registered and appear in your account summary under ‘Certificate holdings’.

Information on REC Registry invoice payment methods and processes are available through the REC Registry help pages or by contacting the Clean Energy Regulator Contact Centre on 1300 553 542.

Date last updated: 15 Sep 2014