Installing a renewable energy system or a solar system is a big investment and it can be a complex process.

It's essential that you do your research up front so you can make a considered decision on whether solar or sustainable power is right for you.

Read the Clean Energy Council Consumer Guide to Solar PV.

We recommend that you proactively manage the process from start to finish. It can take several months, and there are often several parties involved including electricity retailers, solar installers and your local power distributor.

1. Network application 
  • Check with your electricity distributor to determine if a renewable energy system connection pre-approval is required.  
  • Your electricity distributor will confirm the amount of excess solar generation you can export which will help you correctly size your system.
  • For more information, including any associated fees, please contact your electricity distributor.
2. System installation 
  • Shop around for different quotes from solar providers. 
  • Visit the Solar Victoria website to see if you are eligible for a solar PV or solar battery rebate. 
  • Ask if you will receive any Renewable Energy Certificates as part of your solar installation or whether they will be transferred to the solar installer. 
  • Check if your meter needs to be upgraded to receive the feed-in-tariff as additional costs may be applied. 
  • Take time to compare quotes from solar PV installers. 
  • An accredited installer is required to install all systems, your installer will then lodge a Certificate of Electrical Safety (CES) to Energy Safe Victoria and arrange for an inspection within 10 days of installation.  
  • Find out about the paperwork involved and work with your installer to make sure it's submitted to your electricity suppliers promptly.
3. Choosing your electricity retailer 
  • Once you have installed a renewable energy system, or a solar system, your electricity metering and supply rates may change. 
  • You should contact your electricity retailer and ask about the potential changes to your electricity rates. Shop around for the best electricity retail offer that best suits your needs. You can use the independent Victorian Government energy price comparison site.
  • To take up a feed-in tariff, you will need to create a new contract with an electricity retail company of your choice.
  • Shop around for the deal that best suits you as different electricity retailers may offer different prices and different terms and conditions.
  • When you change to a feed-in tariff plan, you will most likely be transferred to peak and off-peak electricity pricing. Compare offers carefully. Many people will benefit from peak and off-peak rates. Learn more.
  • Be sure to also check with your electricity retailer about:
    • whether your dedicated off-peak rates might change, if you have off-peak hot water, space heating or air-conditioning
    • whether you can keep your existing electricity purchase discounts administration fees (if any)
    • how Renewable Energy Certificates are handled
    • what happens to excess feed-in tariff credits

To access the feed-in tariff, your electricity meter may need to be reconfigured to be compatible with a solar system in order to measure both the power you use (imports) and the power you send to the grid (exports). This meter will record your power imports and exports every half hour. Check with your retailer for the likely cost of this reconfiguration.

  • If you already have a solar system installed and think that you may be eligible to receive a feed-in tariff, contact your electricity retailer and ask about their best offer. Take the time to compare this offer with a few other retail offers as you may be able to save by shopping around.
  • You can visit the Victorian Energy Compare website to shop around for a retailer who offers you the type of tariff that best suits your circumstances as well as a better rate.
  • If you are already receiving the Premium Feed-in Tariff, you can still switch between retailers in order to find the best offer for your circumstances.

The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) creates a financial incentive for owners to install eligible small-scale installations, including solar panel systems. It does this by legislating demand for Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs). STCs are created for eligible installations according to the amount of electricity they produce or displace. STCs can provide an upfront discount to the cost of installing a solar system. For more information visit the Clean Energy Regulator website.

Page last updated: 31/03/20