Liberal Hammers NSW Govt Over Solar Rebate Backflip

By Rich Bowden

The newly-installed NSW Liberal Government has received widespread criticism for its recent decision to retrospectively reduce the tariff paid to households under the solar bonus agreement.

[Read more…]

Which Electricity Company pays the most for your solar electricity?

Update: Feb 27 2015: Please note the date on this blog post is October 2010 – so the information is out of date.

The best way to find good electricity tariff deals for solar owners in 2015 is the surprisingly good government website:

Go to that website, click on the red ‘residential’ button, enter your postcode, check the ‘offers available to solar owners’ box and follow the prompts.

A company offering very good Feed In rates ($0.12 in some areas) is “Click Energy”.



Those nice folk at the Alternative Energy Association have just released a really useful survey.

They paid someone to go round every electricity company in Australia to find out which company will give you the best deal if you have a solar energy system on your home.

My advice: read the survey for each state and switch to the company that:

a) pays the most


b) has the most solar friendly terms.

For example some companies may offer a great rate per kWh, but only give you it as a credit on your bill. Others may make you fill out a zillion forms before you actually receive it.

The one thing that people can get stung on is if their electricity company forces you onto a higher “peak” rate for your electricity once your panels are installed. The survey asks about this – so read the answers carefully before deciding to switch!

The good news is that there are electricity companies out there that will give you a good rate but not force you onto a higher rate for the electricity that you do buy. You can have your cake and eat it Hooray!

The links to the survey for each state are here

Here are the questions they asked of each electricity company:

  • What is your Premium feed‐in tariff rate offered (c/kWh) ?
  • Is any excess credit paid out at the end of 12 months?
  • Is this an automatic process, or is the customer required to apply to have this paid out?
  • Is there a time limit within which the customer must apply?
  • Is the customer paid the entire value of any outstanding credit or is there a minimum credit balance a customer must exceed before being eligible to be paid?
  • Is there any fee levied for being paid out any excess credit?
  • What happens to any remaining credit not paid out?
  • Does the customer retain ownership of all outstanding Renewable Energy Certificates, GreenPower Rights and/or any other present or future environmental rights created by their system?
  • Is the premium feed‐in tariff linked to any specific retail offer(s), or is the customer free to choose from all of the retail offers and tariffs they would be eligible for if they weren’t receiving the premium feed‐in tariff?
  • By entering into a contract for your premium feed‐in tariff, are the retail service charges affected / adjusted in anyway?
  • Is the customer able to retain any existing dedicated off‐peak supply meters when converting to solar PV, small wind or any other form of micro‐ generation?
  • Is the customer eligible for dedicated off‐peak hot water / heating supply tariffs once accessing your premium feed‐in tariff?
  • Is the customer still eligible to purchase GreenPower for their electricity consumption?
  • Are all classes of customers (e.g. residential, business) eligible to receive your Premium Feed‐in Tariff offer, providing they are a qualifying customer under the relevant feed‐in tariff legislation?

Daily Telegraph gets on its high horse about Solar Power and Electricity prices

I’ve been in Sydney for a couple of days (including a really interesting tour of Silex Solar’s impressive Solar Panel factory at Olympic Park).

I picked up the Daily Telegraph in the hotel this morning to see the front page screaming about electricity prices.

According to the paper, the only person who can bring NSW electricity prices down is the Premier: Kristina Keneally – and the Telegraph is demanding that she does something about it – or else…

Now I’m no fan of  the mob of incompetent cronies and hollowmen that has made up the NSW government for the past few years, but electricity prices are high because of massive demand and limited supply. That demand is created by the NSW public building black roofed McMansion hotboxes with 10kW air-conditioning as standard and almost no insulation or window shading – never mind double glazing.

Let’s take some responsibility for our actions and accept that if we create massive demand for something (through being hopeless at implementing simple energy efficiency measures) we shouldn’t be surprised if the price goes up.

The Telegraph’s solution to all this is for the State Government to hand out hundreds of dollars a year to people with high bills and stop encouraging people to invest in solar power by scrapping NSW’s Solar Bonus (Gross Feed In Tariff).

So let me get this right: the journos at the Telegraph think that the solution to high electricity prices is to reward the people who use the most electricity, and stop rewarding those people who choose to generate their own?

I say: just leave the market to sort itself out. High electricity prices (combined with intelligent rebates for energy efficiency) will encourage more people to be more energy efficient, which will reduce the demand for electricity and increase the supply from solar power, which can only push electricity prices down.

And don’t forget that the majority of the increase in electricity prices is to fund the building of more wires and poles to cope with “peak demand” periods. These peak demand periods are basically when the sun is at its hottest in the afternoon and everyone’s air conditioners are running full throttle. Power output from residential solar panels peaks at exactly the same time, helping to reduce peak demand. And because the solar panels are on your roof and any power exported will be used locally, they don’t need pylons and hundreds of km of power cabling to get the power to the end user.

ACT announces improved Feed In Tariff

The ACT government made a welcome announcement about their, already generous, Feed In Tariff, last week.

The main points were:

The FIT now applies to “community owned” solar systems. That means that if your roof is shaded and you want to club together with others in the same position and install a system on the local RSL (for example) there is nothing to stop you getting the FIT and sharing the rewards.

Or if you live in units, you can get a shared system on the roof of the unit block.

The Feed In Tariff will be applicable for systems up to a whopping 30kW, so it becomes quite an interesting investment proposition in today’s volatile market. ( This solar calculator will crunch the numbers if you’re interested).

They also announced FITs for large scale solar. here are the details:

  • An overall scheme cap of 240 MW of generating capacity;
  • Large scale generation category for generators larger than 200 KW (category cap of 210 MW);
  • Medium scale generation category for generators between 30KW and 200kw (category cap of 15 MW); and,
  • Existing micro generation category (household rooftop) up to 30KW (category cap of 15 MW).

Some of the funding has come from the axing of plans to fund a $30 “Solar Facility” in ACT (whatever that was meant to be – probably was gonna be a bunch of public servants running around and racking up platinum frquent flyer accounts writing reports and attending conferences on how to reduce CO2 emissions – if my experience at CSIRO was anything to go by…)

In summary – great news from the land of the public servants – now we just need Julia Gillard to make all their legislation redundant by announcing a national FIT … we can but hope.

NSW Solar Bonus Scheme

NSW gross feed in tariff

As the fireworks erupted from Sydney Harbour Bridge at 12:01am January 1 2010, the NSW Solar Bonus Scheme opened for business. It means that NSW solar panel owners will be able to collect 60c for every kWh produced for at least the next 7 years.

It will be available to panel buyers until all the installed generators under this Scheme  reach 50 MegaWatts.

Panel owners who are eligible are the small electricity consumers. They are those consuming up to 160 megawatt hours of electricity annually.

Generally, this includes typical households,schools, small businesses and most community organizations.

Under this scheme, people will be able to get Solar PV Systems and Wind Turbines up to 10 kiloWatts in size.

According to Energy Minister John Robertson, the industry is expecting to install around 33,000 new solar systems during the life of the program.

The government is banking on solar PV costs decreasing over the next few years. Many are expecting that within the next 3 to 7 years, solar energy’s unsubsidized cost to consumers will be near that of dirty fossil based generation.

But in the mean time, the NSW Gross Feed In Tariff is giving a head start to the NSW solar industry so they can tool up, scale up and bring costs down and ROI up for Solar PV buyers.

Let’s hope the Feds watch and learn!

NSW Feed In Tariff Surprise: It’s Gross (in a good way!)

Yesterday the NSW Government surprised renewable energy fans by switching the new feed in tariff from a net to a gross tariff.

This means that owners of solar systems in NSW will now get 60c per kwh for all the electricity they generate.

Previously you were only going to get paid for the power exported to the grid (i.e not the power you used in your house)

This makes a huge difference to the economics of buying a solar power system in NSW.

Plugging the numbers into my solar calculator shows that a good quality 1.5kW system will pay for itself in just over 4 years.

In fact you’ll be getting around $120 per month of income from the outset. And the benefits will only go up as electricity prices rise.

Even if you take out a $7000 loan at 7% interest the system would be cash flow positive from the outset. See for yourself here.

That’s a better return, and much lower risk than most other investments these days.

Have a play with our solar calculators to see if it makes financial sense for you. Just put ‘Feed In Tariff %’ as 100% and ‘Feed In Tariff Price’ as 60c and the calculator will work out the payback and monthly savings.

Do you trust your electricity supplier?

Before you invest in solar power, be sure that you know exactly what your local electricity company will pay you for any exported energy.  The good utilities will pay you the Feed In Tariff rate (if your state has one) PLUS the standard rate per kwh. The meanie ones will just pay you the FIT rate.

[Read more…]

Victorian Feed In Tariff is a Joke

The Victorian parliament is set to vote in the new feed-in tariff laws as early as Wednesday. The proposition of this legislation has angered a great deal of green campaigners and supporters of renewable energy.

[Read more…]

A message for Anna Bligh and Kevin Rudd: Start Stimulating Solar Energy!

Queensland local businesses in the solar energy industry have said that it is about time that the state of Queensland introduce the type of solar energy plan that is found in many places around Europe whereby households receive cash for the energy that their solar power system produces, that is distributed into the regular power supply, greatly encouraging the use of this greener, renewable energy source.

[Read more…]

Solar Feed in Tariffs

Solar energy doesn’t just reduce your electricity bills and help the planet; it can also make you money, up to 60c per kilowatt hour at present without you having to do anything.

The Australia Federal Government is introducing a Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme in 2009 which will no doubt contain many benefits for those who choose to use renewable energy sources.

Following in the footsteps of over 40 other countries around the world, the Australian Government will probably introduce a nationwide scheme to buy back your excess solar electricity and pay you for it.

[Read more…]

Get The SolarQuotes Weekly Newsletter