EnergyAustralia Solar Feed-In Tariff Changes

EnergyAustralia feed in tariff

“Big 3” electricity retailer EnergyAustralia has very recently updated its solar feed-tariff rates – with three states losing out.

A feed in tariff is a payment made to owners of solar power systems for the surplus electricity they generate that is exported to the mains grid1. The level of payment varies across Australia depending on a variety of factors, including who the electricity retailer is. You can learn more about solar feed-in tariffs here.

EnergyAustralia Current Single Rate Feed-in Tariff

Here’s how the revised rates from Energy Australia look.

State FiT per kWh
Victoria 12.0 cents
New South Wales 10.5 cents
Australian Capital Territory 10.5 cents
South Australia 11.5 cents
Queensland 11.5 cents

Time Of Use (ToU) FiT – Victoria only

Peak
(3pm-9pm Weekdays)
Shoulder
(7am-3pm, 9pm-10pm Weekdays;
7am-10pm Weekends)
Off Peak
(10pm-7am everyday)
14.6 cents per kWh 11.6 cents per kWh 9.9 cents per kWh

A ToU feed-in tariff is based on the time of day the electricity is exported to the grid. Most solar owners would be on the single rate in the first table, which is a flat rate paid regardless of the time of day.

Previous Single Rate Feed-in Tariff

Just for comparison, here are the previous rates that were noted on the EnergyAustralia web site early this week.

State FiT per kWh
Victoria 12.0 cents
New South Wales 12.5 cents
South Australia 15 cents
Queensland 16.1 cents

Previous Time Of Use (ToU) FiT – Victoria Only

Peak
(3pm-9pm Weekdays)
Shoulder
(7am-3pm, 9pm-10pm Weekdays;
7am-10pm Weekends)
Off Peak
(10pm-7am everyday)
14.6 cents per kWh 11.6 cents per kWh 9.9 cents per kWh

South Australian EnergyAustralia solar customers will be losing 3.5c per kilowatt-hour, Queenslanders 4.6c and 2c in the case of New South Wales. In Victoria, EnergyAustralia’s rate is the current minimum set by the Essential Services Commission, which has proposed a reduction for the new financial year. As for the ACT, I’m not clear if there were any changes as the previous rate wasn’t noted.

There haven’t been any notes from EnergyAustralia that I’ve seen regarding the changes.

The reductions don’t mean solar power suddenly isn’t worth it – it most definitely still is. If you’re considering installing solar panels, use our new solar calculator to calculate estimated savings and payback based on various scenarios – and bear in mind EnergyAustralia isn’t the only electricity retailer.

Shopping Around For The Best Feed-In Tariff

The news will likely have some SA, NSW and QLD EnergyAustralia solar customers looking for greener pastures – and that’s where the SQ electricity retailer comparison tool can be helpful. Just note that at the time of writing, the EnergyAustralia rates noted on the tool were yet to be updated; which should happen soon.

Another very important point is the best solar feed in tariff doesn’t always represent the best overall deal.

The best electricity plan for solar power system owners offers a balance of high feed-in-tariffs, low usage tariffs and low daily charges. As well as FiTs, the SQ comparison tool will show you usage rates (after all discounts) and daily charges, along with a typical annual bill estimate based on a self-consumption percentage you can specify.

Footnotes

  1. Except in the NT, where all solar electricity generated receives the feed-in tariff
About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. mark Archos says

    Hi Michael, received my “Dear John” letter a day ago, love the new calculator. They don’t seem to understand that QLD had a great cloud free Spring Summer, and they had to pay up for it. What’s a bet it will be different this year, but I’m still leaving them.
    So many companies only offer offering a fair price up to a low daily limit, sad. That makes the calculations a bit harder.

  2. I can understand the change, for NSW at least. It’s now about the same as the annual average wholesale rate for electricity, so I don’t exactly consider it completely unfair.

    You can certainly still get much higher FITs elsewhere (e.g. AGL’s 21c/kWh), but along with that high FIT comes much higher import tariffs as well.

    One of the factors to consider is the nature of the contract terms. In NSW where I am EA fixes the import tariff rates for 2 years but reserves the right to vary the FIT. While AGL will fix the FIT for 2 years but reserves the right to vary the grid import tariffs.

    While tariffs won’t change with great frequency, along with higher overall tariffs, these contract terms represent different risk profiles and are a factor in choice of retailer.

    For me a loss of 2c in FIT is less painful than would be a rise of 2c in import tariffs. So while I would be a bit better off with AGL after this FIT change by EA, AGL’s plan also represents a higher risk (for instance I know for certain our total consumption will increase this year and so higher overall tariffs become less attractive).

    As they say in the classics, YMMV.

  3. Peter Waller says

    Feedin tariff blah blah blah…. they have used this miserable pittance of a 1 cent increase as an excuse to hike the price of non feedin power a further 6 cents Kw – when is the government going to do something about these power gougers? Nothing has changed, yet the price increases 6cents kw? Bloody chinese are at it again.

  4. Des Scahill says

    Sigh….. here we go again…..

    Every time FIT’s get reduced, one thing that does is increase the propensity of existing solar system owners to look again at getting a battery, maybe even going off grid altogether.

    Those who were considering investing in a roof-top solar PV system for their home for the first time may well delay their decision too. When headlines such as ‘Retail Apocalypse’ and details of a spate of closures by large retail businesses in the post Christmas period are in the news, people tend to defer major outlays until things settle down.

    The net effects of the two factors on installers is unknown. The price of solar PV systems has declined significantly from what it was a few years ago, so at current prices, the economics may still be attractive for a new PV system without batteries.

    All in all, its a return to uncertainty.

    Heaven help us when next time around the AEMO will be asked to factor into the price increase, the added ‘network costs’ arising from the repair work because of the bush-fires. That info would most likely not have been available at the time the power companies prepared their case.
    I’m not saying they shouldn’t do that, the issues will be ‘how much’ and ‘how was it calculated’.

  5. A 2c/kWh drop in FIT means my solar PV returns drop from being spectacular to being really bloody excellent. Honestly, this isn’t going to make much of a difference to the viability of solar PV for domestic households. If you rely on FIT for returns, well there are still plenty of high FIT plans out there to switch to.

    Conversely, a 2c drop in FIT means the returns from a battery go up from being ridiculously poor to being just utterly miserable. This is not even close to making batteries a financially sensible purchase.

    The lowest maximal FIT available in the NEM states is in Victoria, the one state which regulates minimum FITs. In the other states which do not regulate minimum FITs, each has a higher FIT plan available.

  6. Clive anderson says

    People can winge all they like it all reverts back to governments who forced privatisation on to us. Having worked in the industry we never had these problems when power was under state’s control.
    It’s like buying a business your in it for the profits not to please others.
    You can’t sell the farm then expect to tell new owners what to do and what to charge for services.

    • Michael J Keaney says

      Clive, when power grids were under state control decades ago, very few people had solar, and local supply authorities like the SCC dictated the maximum size of your PV allowable installation. Feed in was not allowed for “safety” reasons.

      Do you really want a return to this?

  7. Leanbecarr says

    I don’t have any solar at this stage but am seriously thinking as my new place all electric is it really worth getting. live by myself cheers

    • Ronald Brakels says

      I don’t know your location, but the good news is, even if you use no electricity yourself during the day and all the solar output is sent into the grid for a feed-in tariff, solar will normally pay for itself in under 6 years. As you’ll be using some solar electricity yourself the result should be better than that. This article goes into some details:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/solar-power-payback-2019/

      • The last time I was connected to the grid (only did it for the money!~ 66 cents per kWh Fit ) my ‘service to property charge’ ended up being $1.76 per day. (This is a number the clever people often forget.) At, say, 20c per kwh FiT, that’s almost NINE kWh you need to produce before you make even a penny from your production.
        When you get rich from this lucrative arrangement, let me know; I have a coat-hanger-shaped bridge I’m sure you’d love in your backyard. (At the right price, of course!)

        • Des Scahill says

          Jackson,

          To get 66c FIT, you must have only had a 1.5 kw system. Is that so?

          These days you can get a 4.5 Kw system with around 6.66 kw of panels for about half of what you would have paid for a 1.5 Kw.

          I’m in QLD, and it was well worth it for me to replace my 1.5 kw system with a 4.5 kw. The max production I ever got out of my 1.5 kw system on a single day was 12 kw, and over the years I owned it was very much less on average.

          With my existing system, I can run 2 air-conditioners (1 large and 1 small) most of the day, – which puts my self-consumption ratio up to over 70% – as my system can produce 38-39 kwh on a clear hot day.

          • 4.5kw system can produce 38-39 kwh on a clear hot day.?

          • Ronald Brakels says

            Hi Daniel, Ronald here.

            On the best of days a 4.5 kilowatt solar system might produce over 30 kilowatt-hours but the average will be much less. In most Australian cities I would expect to see a maximum of about 25 kilowatt-hours from a 4.5 kilowatt system over a long summer day and slightly less if it’s exceptionally hot.

  8. Thought I was being paranoid because the tariff change email came just hours after I claimed the $380 credit that had built up in my Energy Australia electricity account. Relieved to realise the price adjustment was not my fault🙂

    • WOW!!!!… and here I thought I was doing well when my STAND-ALONE-SYSTEM took 28 months to pay for itself.

      • You are doing well, Jackson. Rough guess it would have taken us 6 years to break even on system installation cost. The tariff change will push that out to about 7 years by decreasing the benefit from solar feed-in by $310 per year.

  9. Justin King says

    I was very upset about this too as I had just installed a 10KW system 4 months ago and for them to change an existing customer for 4 years with 2 weeks notice. Thankfully I switched to AGL Solar Boost got 18 c kwh feed in and all done in 10 minutes online

  10. Hi Finn,

    Shopping around for plans just now and it’s worth noting that as of today (20/1/20), AGL have quietly moved to a 12mth locked-in period rather than the previous 24mths. A bit disappointing.

  11. We’re in NSW and we entered into a contract for 12 months with Energy Australia. The change in rates for exported energy were a part of this but they are breaking the contract with a supposed out where they refer to another document removed from the contract.
    I’ve given them the ultimatum and if they do not honour their contract then we’ll leave and never be back.
    Beware signing up with this company lest they do the same to you. They have lost my trust.

  12. Robert Parkinson says

    I think it is high time our beloved Government stepped up to the mark and set ALL tariff rates or create their own energy company.
    (whether that would work without collusion is something else)
    It seems to me energy retailers continually increase daily supply charges, usage charges and decrease FIT,s to the point maybe where we will be paying as much as we were before we had solar.
    Retail and greed, to me, have the same meaning.

  13. Hi This maybe a question for Finn?

    Call me cynical or ignorant, however there has been a huge commercial solar farm built and functioning for some years now, and I recently noticed there was an even larger one nearing completion I think near Nevertire NSW?

    Who owns these solar farms and along with all the wind generators are these installations gradually or quickly going to rub out FIT’s that numerous people who have made the investment in solar power on the roof of their homes?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Russ, Ronald here.

      As I mentioned towards the end of this article that went up yesterday:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/aemc-report-electricity-prices/

      Increasing solar farm and rooftop solar capacity will push down wholesale electricity prices during the day and, all else equal, lower solar feed-in tariffs. So most of us may see a fall in solar feed-in tariffs of perhaps 2 cents over the next few years. But note that each time a large coal power station shuts down for good wholesale prices will firm up and help boost solar feed-in tariffs. Increasing energy storage, including electric vehicles, will also help support daytime wholesale electricity prices.

      • Prices will firm up? You may want to go into Woolworths and Coles when farmers have a bumper year. Prices never go down and I’ll believe electricity prices will fall when the fat lady sings. This is not how the industry works as its not a free market.

  14. Energy Australia sent through a “change of FIT” notice as of 7th Jan and effective 27th Jan, in QLD, this means they will reduce to 11.5C KW/Hr.

    The good news is that hey state “Any existing arrangements such as concessions, rebates, discounts and payment arrangements will stay the same.”
    So no change.

    That being said, I am also in dispute with them as I signed a 2 year agreeement (ending in DEC 2020) with some amazing rates:Peak @ 48c KW/Hr, Shoulder @ 16c KW/Hr & Off-Peak @ 11c KW/Hr [all ex-gst].

    With an 18.5 KW System (and Tesla PW2) I expect to have ROI within 4 years (and so far in the last 12 months not a single $ spent on power, other than cost of system).

    • John, I don’t know what the terms of your EA agreement are but mine clearly states it fixes all fees, tariffs and charges for the benefit period (2 years) *except for the FIT*, which they always had the right to amend from time to time (with notice).

      Others retailers such as AGL offer a fixed FIT for an agreed period but reserve the right to amend all other fees, tariffs and charges.

      Choose your poison wisely.

      • Hi Alex,

        Couldnt agree more, my contract only states that they can change the unit cost for power they supply, and then only downwards not up.

        IE, the rates across the board are fixed for the 2 years. Worst case I will end up taking it to the Ombudsman if they want to be silly.

  15. Michael Copp says

    Hi There

    Just wondering with the FIT rate cut with Energy Australia. Does this cut affect people who have recently signed up (6 months ago) with them that are still under the Benefit Period?

  16. Brett Courtenay says

    I was wondering if anybody could help /educate me on the following:

    Looking at the Ausgrid wholesale rates for TOU as well as their recent introduction of seasonal TOU where Peak is not charged for 4 months in a year (only shoulder and offpeak) and the peak charge in Winter is only for 4 hours a weekday versus 6 hours a weekday during the Summer period…Public Holidays and weekends do not attract a Peak rate at all.

    With Ausgrid charging Peak @ 23.5 c per kWh, [email protected] 5.44c per kWh and Off Peak @ 3.5c per kWh HOW CAN Retailers not only charge such huge markups on these rates (of around 100-to 400 % MORE) but also unbalance their relativity to each other so much…making it almost impossible for TOU pricing to actually work as it was supposed to as the reward for a customer using outside Peak Times is almost negligible and almost impossible to create savings equal to let alone better than those people choosing to remain on a fixed priced tariff??

    Also…some retailers do not allow customers to use Ausgrid’s seasonal tariff and charge a TOU Tariff regime that runs from July 1 to June 30 despite Ausgrid no longer using tariffs reflective of the above having changed to their seasonal tariff from July 1st 2018…How can some retailers basically set charges to unbalance TOU relativities as well s change charging periods to further unbalance TOU strategies and potentials and by doing so, negating the entire reason why Ausgrid and other Network providers have been instructed by the Energy regulator to provide such an offering.

    Also whilst Ausgrid does not charge a peak rate on any Public Holiday…some retailers will do so…meaning whilst they[ are charged by Ausgrid a shoulder rate …they will charge consumers a Peak rate …isn’t that stealing?

    How can retailers do what seems whatever they want, charge and change prices by huge margins and change the strategy and requirements set by the regulator to the Network and in doing so destroy any intent behind why the Network even had to undertake them as Retailers can thwart them by their own actions.

    I just don’t understand…the Network has a system, times and prices …yet the Retailer can manipulate them to such an extent…retailers are offering a pricing and tariff structure to consumers that doesn’t even reflect what their Network provider is offering!

    What does even being in the Ausgrid area man when retailers are changing the goal posts by themselves irrespective of what the Network provider offers?

    Why should I even be locked into a specific Network based by where I live when the product I am being forced to use by various retailers is not even indicative of what that network provider is offering!!

    Can anyone explain this far reaching power retailers have despite the fact that most of them are just middlemen who add nothing to consumers or network providers other than high prices and huge powers to thwart the interests of both.

    Thank you…I would greatly appreciate somebodies wisdom and/or knowledge regarding these things.

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