Feed-In Tariff For New Solar Slashed In Western Australia — Only 3 Cents Before 3 PM!

Western Australia solar feed in tariff

From yesterday (31 August 2020), new residential solar power systems installed in Western Australia will no longer receive the REBS or ‘Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme’ solar feed-in tariff of 7.135 cents per kilowatt-hour.  Instead, it will receive the DEBS or ‘Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme’ that will instead pay:

  • 3 cents for each kilowatt-hour of solar electricity fed into the grid for most of the day, and…
  • 10 cents for each kilowatt-hour exported from 3:00 pm in the afternoon until 9:00 in the evening.

Because rooftop solar produces most of its energy in the middle of the day, that works out to an average of 3.8 cents for north-facing solar panels and approximately 4.4 cents for west-facing solar on a roof with a typical pitch of 22.5 degrees. 

Systems currently on REBS that are upgraded will be shifted to DEBS.

While all new solar systems installed from yesterday will be required to receive the DEBS feed-in tariff, the new tariff won’t start until the 6th of November.  Until then new solar installations will receive the old feed-in tariff of 7.135 cents per kilowatt-hour. 

The new feed-in tariffs will also be paid for energy from home batteries or electric cars exported to the grid.  This explains why the 10 cent feed-in tariff period extends until 9:00pm when the latest the sun sets in Perth is 7.26pm.

At the moment no specific information is available on if or how DEBS will be implemented in remote and regional WA. 

While the cut to feed-in tariffs reduces the return from solar panels they remain a good investment for most households.  While it modestly improves the return from batteries, it’s not enough to make them pay for themselves.  As substantial payments may not be available from Virtual Power Plants any time soon in WA, the only way home batteries are likely to pay for themselves in the short term is if the state government provides a subsidy. 

The feed-in tariff cut means solar households in Western Australia will be exploited even more than in the past.  Given the high cost of providing electricity in WA, solar feed-in tariffs should be above the national average rather than the lowest in the country.

Solar Output Is Low After 3PM

Until now, north — or north-north-east — was often the best direction for WA homes to face solar panels, as it would maximize generation.    I’ve put graphs below showing the average daily output for a 6.6 kilowatt, north-facing, solar power system in Perth for three different months:

  • January is the month with the highest average generation and is on the left.  
  • March is in the middle and, along with September, is a month of average solar generation.
  • June is the month with the lowest average generation and is on the right.

I’ve put a red line through the graphs at 3:00pm.  As you can see, only around one-eighth of the system’s energy output occurs after that time:

Average daily generation for north facing 6.6kW solar system in Perth

The amount of energy generated after 3:00pm is higher for west-facing solar panels, but the difference is not large.  The graphs below show average output for 6.6 kilowatts of west-facing solar on a roof with a 22.5 degree pitch:

Average daily generation for west facing 6.6kW solar system in Perth

Because so little solar energy is produced after 3:00pm, if all the energy is exported the DEBS solar feed-in tariff would average around 3.8 cents for north-facing solar and approximately 4.4 cents for west-facing solar. 

It Makes Little Difference To Solar Panel Orientation

For people in Western Australia who are faced with a choice between facing solar panels north or west, my usual advice would be for them to consider their energy consumption and if it is not particularly high in either the morning or afternoon, face the panels north because they will generate more energy overall.  In Perth, north-facing panels will generate around 14% more energy than west-facing ones.  The average annual generation for the four cardinal compass directions for a new 6.6 kilowatt solar system in Perth are:1

  • North:  11,309 kilowatt-hours
  • West:  9,956 kilowatt-hours — 88% of north
  • East:  9,901 kilowatt-hours — 86% of north
  • South:  8,420 kilowatt-hours — 74% of north

The change in feed-in tariffs make west-facing panels more attractive than they were, but the difference between the average feed-in tariff received by north facing solar panels and west-facing ones only comes to around 0.6 cents per kilowatt-hour, which makes little difference.  If a household with DEBS sent all the energy from a 6.6 kilowatt system into the grid, the total amount of feed-in tariff received over a year in Perth would be:

  • North facing panels:  $430
  • West facing panels:  $438 

That’s only $8 more for west-facing panels.  Because households self-consume some solar energy, the difference will be even less. 

Most households use more energy in the afternoon than the morning, so my general advice on panel direction in WA would now be:

  • West is best, but not by much.
  • North is a close second.
  • East comes third but could be best for homes with high energy consumption in the morning. 
  • South will produce the least energy but is still acceptable if panels can’t be placed in other directions. 

North May Be Greener

Because north-facing panels will generate the most energy, they will offset more fossil fuel generation than west or east-facing ones.  In addition, because their output will peak around noon, they should make life harder for WA’s coal power stations, as they can’t easily shut down in the middle of the day when demand for their power is low on sunny days.  This may make north-facing panels greener than west-facing ones.

On the other hand, facing panels west or east will help integrate more renewable energy into the grid, make life easier for grid operators, and may limit future unfair moves against distributed solar power.  This may lead to faster growth of renewable energy. 

While I’d be tempted to stick it to coal immediately and face panels north on account of how my country recently caught on fire, that may not be the best long term decision so I’ll leave the choice in your capable hands.  Or better yet, capable brain lobes. 

Rooftop Solar — Still A Good Investment

The feed-in tariff reduction makes solar power a less attractive investment than it was, but it’s still a damn good deal for homes with unshaded roofs.  While the average feed-in tariff for new north-facing solar will be nearly cut in half, in absolute terms it’s only a reduction of around 3.3 cents.  As Perth is the sunniest capital and has the nation’s lowest rooftop solar prices, it’s not enough to stop solar power being a good deal.  

A $5,000, north facing, 6.6 kilowatt solar system in Perth receiving the REBS 7.135 cent feed-in tariff will — according to the SolarQuotes Solar & Battery Calculator — have a simple payback time2 of around 3 years and 9 months.  

If the same system was receiving the new DEBS feed-in tariff and its panels were facing north or west or split between those two directions, it would have a simple payback time of 4 years and 7 months. 

Solar payback - REBS vs. DEBS

If a simple payback period of around 4 years and 7 months doesn’t seem like a good deal to you, I’d say you must have some pretty good alternate uses for your money. 

Self Consumption Is More Important Than Ever

The lower feed-in tariffs get, the more important solar energy self-consumption becomes.  This is because using 1 kilowatt-hour of solar electricity in place of grid electricity will reduce electricity bills by 28.8 cents, while exporting 1 kilowatt-hour of solar electricity will only reduce electricity bills by 3 cents for most of the day. 

A Perth household with a 6.6 kilowatt solar power system will generally consume around 23% of its output themselves.  However, a household where people often aren’t at home in the middle of the day may only consume 10%, while a household with above-average electricity consumption where people are usually at home during the day may use 50%.  This has a large effect on simple payback times as the following graph shows: 

Simple solar payback under DEBS based on self-consumption

With DEBS a household will benefit considerably from shifting electricity consumption to the middle of the day when solar energy generation is high and the feed-in tariff is low. 

Get Rid Of Gas

If I was making a living selling gas or gas appliances in WA I’d be terribly upset by the cut to solar feed-in tariffs.  This is because it now makes even more sense for solar households to get off gas completely.3  I know some people prefer cooking with gas and while I can understand that, it’s not that big a deal.  If you want to cook fast buy an air fryer and if you want to maximise your solar self-consumption buy a slow cooker and use it through the day. 

An electric hot water system can act as a battery by switching on when the feed-in tariff is low, while having the advantage of being a hell of a lot cheaper than a battery.  This can be done simply by using a hot water system with a small element and putting it on a timer, or if you don’t mind spending more you can get a solar hot water diverter

Consider Big Solar For High Electricity Consumption

It’s only possible to get a solar feed-in tariff in WA if your solar inverter is 5 kilowatts or less and DEBS doesn’t change this.  You know, I’m starting to think the only good thing about DEBS is the fact it’s named after my favourite spy movie:

In Western Australia, it’s not permitted to get around this by installing a larger inverter and export limiting it to 5 kilowatts.  As solar panel capacity can be one third larger than inverter capacity the largest solar power system a home can have and receive a feed-in tariff is 6.66 kilowatts.  

But because the solar feed-in tariff for new installations is now so low, it is possible some homes with exceptionally high daytime electricity consumption may be financially better off getting a large solar system and receiving no feed-in tariff.  While this won’t financially help normal households, those with massive electricity consumption should consider it. 

Businesses aren’t eligible for REBS or DEBS and so can never receive a feed-in tariff.  As a result, they should base the size of solar systems on their expected self-consumption or, alternatively, on how environmentally gung-ho they are. 

It Won’t Make Batteries Pay

If an average WA household receiving the REBS 7.135 cent solar feed-in tariff has a 6.6 kilowatt solar system and installs a battery system such as a Tesla Powerwall 2 then, according to our Solar & Battery calculator, it would have a simple payback period of 22 years.  With DEBS this falls to only 20 years. 

As this is much longer than the battery can be expected to last, the cut in the solar feed-in tariff is not enough to make batteries pay.  The calculation doesn’t take into account time-of-use tariffs, but their benefits are not enough to make them worthwhile.  Unless a battery can be installed for a total cost that is much less than that of the Powerwall 2 per usable kilowatt-hour, they’re not likely to be financially worthwhile for any remotely normal household.4 

Why Are WA Feed-in Tariffs Being Cut?

There are two reasons why WA has introduced DEBS:

  1.  To improve grid management, and…
  2.  To help fill a giant money hole. 

Reducing the feed-in tariff to 3 cents for most of the day and increasing it to 10 cents after 3:00 pm under DEBS will reduce the amount of solar energy supplied to the grid when solar generation is high and increase it in the late afternoon when solar output drops and electricity demand increases.  One way it does this is by slightly reducing the amount of rooftop solar installed and increasing the number of west-facing panels.  But the main way is through encouraging solar households to consume more electricity before 3:00 pm and less after. 

Because the solar feed-in tariff is trivial before 3:00 pm, solar households will have more of an incentive to shift electricity consumption to the middle of the day and get it over with before it increases.   

The second reason feed-in tariffs for new solar have been cut is so the state can underpay solar households for the clean energy they provide and use it to help pay off the massive amount of debt their electricity sector has acquired, mostly from subsidising fossil fuel generation.  

DEBS Is A Ripoff

Solar households in Western Australia are not being fairly compensated for the solar energy they provide to the grid under REBS.  DEBS just makes this worse. 

At the moment I don’t have the time, energy, or Kafka tolerance required to work out what a fair feed-in tariff for WA may be.  But if Victoria considers a minimum feed-in tariff of 10.2 cents to be fair value for this financial year, then I don’t see how an average of under 4 cents could be fair in a state where the cost of providing electricity to end-users is likely to be considerably higher. 

Solar penetration is not sufficient to explain the difference, as it’s higher in both Queensland and South Australia where feed-in tariffs average considerably more.  WA does have a standalone grid which increases the challenges of integrating renewables, but this also contributes to high costs which increase the value of renewable energy.

If solar feed-in tariffs were reduced by a modest amount to fund grid upgrades that would allow for greater penetration of distributed solar power, that wouldn’t be unreasonable — but that’s not what’s happening.  Instead, solar power is being used to subsidise the rest of the grid to help make up losses resulting from subsidising electricity in the past. Electricity that was mostly generated from fossil fuels.  We should be transitioning to clean energy as rapidly as possible and it is foolish to slow this process by making clean energy pay for the past mistakes of dirty energy.

Footnotes

  1. Update 1st September 1:00am:  PVWatts was down yesterday, or at least it was for Australia, so I couldn’t give you its figures for Perth which are notably different:  North 10,843 kilowatt-hours,  West 9,144 kilowatt-hours (84% of North),  East 9,972 kilowatt-hours (92% of North),  South 8,027 kilowatt-hours (74% of North).
  2. Simple payback time is how many years it takes for savings on electricity bills to equal its cost.  It’s called “simple” because it doesn’t attempt to take account of capital costs.
  3. Despite gas prices being around record lows, the price for WA households recently increased by around 16%.
  4. Of course, people can install batteries for non-economic reasons if they want.
About Ronald Brakels

Many years ago now, Ronald Brakels was born in Toowoomba. He first rose to international prominence when his township took up a collection to send him to Japan, which was the furthest they could manage with the money they raised. He became passionately interested in environmental matters upon his return to Australia when the local Mayor met him at the airport and explained it was far too dangerous for him to return to Toowoomba on account of climate change and mutant attack goats. Ronald then moved to a property in the Adelaide Hills where he now lives with his horse, Tonto 23.

Comments

  1. Perhaps also quoting the effective rate of return (%) on the investment will really hit home how great an investment solar panels are.

    Depending on each person’s circumstances (own use, location, generation expected) the typical effective rate of return JUST over the payback period (not the rest of the lifetime of the PV system) typically ranges from 16% to 24% per annum.

    If you were to assume the system generates zero benefits after the payback period then this would be called the Internal Rate of Return.

    No matter how you call it – earning 4 to 6x the return from paying extra on a mortgage (generally one of the most recommended ‘risk free’ investments for paying down extra amounts) – makes massive financial sense even if the FIT is a little over 3 cents per kWh.

  2. “The feed-in tariff cut means solar households in Western Australia will be exploited even more than in the past.”

    Having appealed unsuccessfully on behalf of six tenants cheated of their FiT rebates, it’s no great surprise to learn that many more of our fellow West Australian will soon be _sold_ power for over seven times as much income as panels generate.

    While Labor inherited a large deficit from the LNP (partially through under-estimation of the massive take-up of solar in this state) our ‘leader’ has ensured that citizens will pay through-the-nose for our(?) state-owned, poorly-maintained poles-and-wires.

    Environmental concerns? The lack of consultation beggars belief… .

  3. One of the articles above suggests putting the hot water system on a timer, presumably so that it heats during middle of the day when there is abundant solar power rather than at night. That’s a reversal of the usual off-peak hot water arrangement when the water heats during the night when the tariff is lower but sounds to be a better deal.

    However, my attempts to put the hot water system on solar via a timer were unsuccessful – Origin wouldn’t touch it, the smart meter installer put the hot water system onto the main meter without a timer and the electrician I had contacted separately to fit the timer bailed out on me. Do these folk know something we don’t? I’d be interested to hear from anyone who is using timer-switched solar power for hot water.

    Interestingly, Finn’s book on solar power finishes by urging anyone putting in a solar system to hook the hot water into it as well, but there’s no mention of a timer.

    • Dominic Wild says

      Hi Bronis,

      The article about the drop in WA for new solar does have a link to “hot water diverters”, which use electrickery to send small parcels of energy now and then to the H/W system. Problem is, they are also quite expensive.

      I do not know what can happen if you use a timer and assuming your element is 1.8kW and the panels only produce 1.0 kW and the timer is on. The web tells me a cheaper way is to hook a voltage sensor onto the DIN rail and once the voltage is over a certain value to switch the H/W on. Plus if the grid voltage is getting too close to switching-off your feed-in at max. of 256VAC, to definitely switching the H/W on.

      • I read an article (more like tech piece) discussing both the efficiency & cost-effectiveness of HW diverters.

        Short answer – incredibly inefficient as the heating element is designed to operate at full power only, operating it at a lower kW sees a massive energy wastage.

        EG: supplying 2kW to a 2.5kw heating element does not provide 80% of the heat but something closer to 45% (I think one example was).

        Do some serious research into it before putting your cash into action.

        Your energy generation profile across a day (even more relevant your to grid profile) is what matters. If your PV system is large enough to provide 100% of your WH’s rated requirement for a long enough period then it could be worthwhile.

        So spreadsheet time!

        • Please link to the research. Anecdotes and vague generalisations like ‘massive energy wastage’ are not useful.

          I’m sceptical, the Second Law of Thermodynamics tells me that the energy in the electricity has to go somewhere else if it is not going into the water. A good PV diverter should have an electrical efficiency over 95%, so where is the energy going in your scenario? The only other place I can think of would be standby losses as the water heats more slowly- easily reduced with cheap insulation.

          The way the world is going is PV produced electricity is becoming so cheap that efficiency of any time agnostic appliances is becoming less important, hence cheap, relibale, easy to maintain and install element hot water systems that are a quarter the efficiency of a heat-pump start to make more and more sense.

          • You should find them if you do a search.

            Sadly I did not bookmark any of the articles, I gave up doing that after my bookmarks swelled to > 3,000 over a decade ago.

            Physics is commonsense, assumptions are not.

            For example: A pump with half the hp rating uses 8 times the energy to pump the same volume of water when operating at its max rating. Whereas the higher powered pump (2x the power) uses 1/8th the energy.

            That I do know for certain. The inverse efficiency for an electric water heater element running below rated power may well be related.

  4. If you get new solar in WAdo everything you can to shift your load to the middle of the day.

    Use timers if needs be.

    * run your swimming pool chlorinator and filter during the day (and if needs be to make chlorine persist, put a shadecloth cover over the pool),
    * do all your washing and clothes drying in the middle of the day,
    run the dishwasher in the middle of the day,
    * heat your hotwater during the day to say 60 degs if you are not on a super concessional off peak,
    * charge your PHEV over the middle of the day,
    *run your aircon earlier in the afternoon on a timer so the bulk of cooling the house is done before you come home from work while solar is strong
    * consider whether it is worthwhile heating your electric oven.earlier if you are intending to cook a roast
    *use a slow cooker that comes on during the middle of the day

  5. We just received an email from a tenant who has just been advised her 10-year contract is expiring in November. She’ll be put onto the 3 – 10c DEBs.

    Call centre staff member blamed THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT for this.
    Honest mistake… or is the blame for this change being flick-passed to the Feds?!

    • Correction to my comment: “She’ll be put onto the 3 – 10c DEBs…”

      That advice, provided by Synergy staff, is incorrect. Unless the tenant switches from REBS to DEBS, she will be paid 7.135c / kWh.
      A big thank you to our local member for clarifying this.

      It’s likely that the same Synergy call centre advisor was simply uninformed… and her blaming the federal government for proposed changes indicates that some Synergy call centre staff were inadequately briefed on FiT rebates.

      We’ve counselled tenants to stay with REBS (7.135c / kWh) rather than be fleeced and shorn by the DEBS rip-off (3c when the sun is most intense.)

  6. Looking at the comment by Dominic Wild, it now seems to me that it would be safer and smarter to have my hot water plugged into the offpeak meter. And using offpeak power makes even more sense while Origin is giving me the 20C/kWh feed-in tariff for the next two years. Because the offpeak rate is 15 c/kWh, I make 5c for every solar kWh that goes to the grid rather than to heating water.

  7. Here in the USA where I live, they’ve gone from $0.12/kWh to $0.05. The more converts to solar power, the less valuable the electricity becomes that is exported to the grid. Storage is the only way to protect your investment, but it definitely increases the ROI. Enphase Energy has finally released their Ensemble grid-agnostic, microgrid-forming system, an Enphase Energy system. Their Encharge storage has 4- and 12-integrated IQ™8 microinverters giving their 3.4- and 10.1-kWh products some serious fault tolerance, plus they use passive cooling, so no fan failure potential like the mighty Powerwall. Their IQ™ micros were late to the game but are now the preferred resi system here in the US; maybe their Encharge will evolve like that, too. Of course, I am Enphase-biased with 85 microinverters on my home, and luckily, I am grandfathered into an NEM agreement, so I will wait for storage to mature further, but I definitely agree that self-consumption is more important than ever for first-time solar converts.

    b.t.w., Enphase just released their IQ™7A 366-Watt AC output micro internationally, so that should help you mates in the Land Down Under! Cheers from the Sunshine State of Florida!

  8. TJR: “Storage is the only way to protect your investment…”

    Thanks for your comments re battery storage, TJ. At present in WA, there’s no financial protection in battery storage (yet); unless you’re remote from power, and connection to the grid is much more expensive.

    Many of us hope that Tesla’s Battery Day (22nd September) will include announcements heralding the Million Mile Battery… which, if / when incorporated in new Powerwalls, should double or treble battery life and extend (double? treble?) existing warranties.

    At that point, Musk’s prediction that 50% of Tesla’s future income will be derived from solar / storage may well be steadily achieved. In our case, we wouldn’t even bother with V2G. We’d leave the grid. Communities which value the environment would leave the vampire grid* in droves… .

    * Any inference that our state-owned utility is a blood-sucking parasitic cash cow is regretted. This is not the intention at all.

  9. Dominic Wild says

    The article mentions using the EVs battery to not only store surplus electricity through charging it, but also to sell electricity from the battery. Question: Is that already possible?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      It’s technically possible and it’s done overseas — especially by things like bus companies since electric buses are becoming popular, but it’s not done here yet, as far as I am aware. If you read the small print of some DNSP terms and conditions they prohibit connecting an electric vehicle to the grid if it’s capable of sending electricity into the grid.

  10. The above article misses the most significant point of the malicious government action.

    At
    https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/McGowan/2020/08/WA-Government-launches-Distributed-Energy-Buyback-Scheme.aspx
    is, as at the time of posting this; 2152 on 2020-092;

    “DEBS will apply to eligible households, schools and not-for-profits installing new solar panels or batteries, or upgrading their existing solar panel system (up to a five kilowatt maximum).”

    The significant point, that the above article missed, whilst Solar Quotes has an aversion to, and, regards as dirty and disgusting, batteries,

    “DEBS will apply to eligible households, schools and not-for-profits installing new solar panels or batteries”

    so, any household that currently has a domestic rooftop photovoltaic system that, on a single phase grid connection, has an inverter with output no greater than 5kW, and, is eligible for the 7 cents per kWh Feed In Tariff, and has installed, a new Battery Storage System, which, properly configured, will help protect the fragile, senescent, decomposing, SWIS grid, will get fined for acting to protect the grid; the household gets punished, by losing the eligibility for the 7 cents per kWh Feed In Tarriff, and, instead, gets put on the lesbian schoolgirl spy agency scheme, of less than 4 cents per kWh.

    So, this lesbian schoolgirl spy agency scheme, has nothing to do with protecting the grid; it is merely Yet Another Government Instituted Fraud (YAGIF).

    And, it appears, the state government has a thing for lesbian schoolgirl spies.

    In these times of increasing desperation, and, decreasing household incomes, if the state government was genuine, in reducing what people get paid for what they provide, the percentage reduction (and, it apparently, from the wording from the government, also applies when photovoltaic panels fail and need to be replaced),

    from
    https://www.synergy.net.au/-/media/Documents/Terms-and-conditions/REBS_Pricing_Schedule.pdf
    the “REBS” rate is 7.1350 cents per kWh
    and, from
    https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/McGowan/2020/08/WA-Government-launches-Distributed-Energy-Buyback-Scheme.aspx
    the “DEBS” rate is effectively 3.0 cents per kWh, the difference being 4.135 cents per kWh, or, a 58% reduction.

    But, where are the 58% reductions, in the prices charged to users of grid electricity?

    Where are the 58% reductions in the managers’, CEO’s, and, directors and board members’, pay packets, of Synergy, Western Power, and, the filthy coal and gas fired power stations?

    And, where are the 58% cuts in the pay packets and perks/rorts, of the members of the state legislature?

    “Ah, there’s the rub.”

    It is a fraud – nothing more, nothing less.

    But, then again, this IS the state government that eliminated consumer protection in Western Australia. Buried it. Deep down a coal mine…

    And, increased coal mining and increased uranium mining, are what the WA state government political party faction of the LNP, are all about.

  11. BB: “…where are the 58% reductions, in the prices charged to users of grid electricity?”

    Yes, it’s outright fraud. And, as you’ve stated, Consumer Protection in WA has become an utter joke. Its sole mission is now to protect a state government which has systemically defrauded power consumers.
    Ideology at its worst… .

    Accountability? Zero. Daylight robbery… masks unnecessary.

  12. Peter Wilshaw says

    Is there likely to be a market for second hand repurposed Electric Vehicle batteries that can be used for home energy storage?

    Seems like we have 3 main moves in WA: 1. Switch our energy use pattern towards more self consumption during the day. 2. Substitute gas useage for our own solar generated energy. 3. Heat our water with self generated energy.

    If I install a solar PV water heater to mop my excess daytime solar, will this count as an upgrade and result in me getting moved onto the new DEBS tariff structure?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Peter, if your PV water heater is not connected to the grid, then it’s none of the grid’s business.

  13. This is the third attempt to post the content below – the blog software keeps eliminating the attempted postings.

    Another aspect to this government imposed fraud, that has occurred to
    me a short while ago, and, is, I believe, not mentioned in the above
    article, or, otherwise in the associated government publications about
    the fraud, relates to the quantifying of the energy exported to the
    grid, within the defined periods each day.

    As an example, when we got out first rooftop PV system installed, the
    state government required that our previous electricity meter be
    replaced with the current electricity meter, which is neither a smart
    meter (it’s pretty stupid actually, other than that it does not talk
    back), nor a “bi-directional” meter (it does not go backward when we
    export to the grid – the numbers that it displays, only increase – the
    amount of electricity imported from the grid is not reduced by the
    energy exported to the grid, and, nu numbers go backward, but, only
    forward, in the meter, so it is only mono-directional).

    The meter does not, insofar as I am aware, transmit its data,
    electronically, but, only displays its data, requiring the data to be
    physically read, by a meter reader being physically present.

    So, if we get new panels, or, more panel generating capacity, and/or,
    a battery storage system, either the crooks will have to send a meter
    reader out to read our meter, twice daily, every day – at exactly 3pm,
    and, exactly at 9pm, and would have to do this, each day, for each
    household affected by the state government imposed fraud; or, the
    crooks would have to require reach household, upon which they are
    imposing this fraud, the additional fraud, of having to have their
    electricity meter replaced by a meter that transmits the data, at
    least twice daily, to the headquarters of their criminal organisation,
    for their daily assessment of how much they will be defrauding us.

    And, they will probably be charging us, thousands of dollars, for the
    new meter to replace the meter, for which we had to pay, when we got
    our first rooftop PV system.

    And, if the crooks impose upon us, the same meter type, that is being
    imposed in Victoria, then, it’s pretty much the same as putting spy
    cameras in our houses, to spy on us, thence to sell the information.

    See
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-07/amazon-will-soon-see-inside-millions-of-aussie-homes/12582776

    Who says this is not part of communist china, or, the soviet union?

  14. Bret: “Who says this is not part of communist china, or, the soviet union?”

    Utterly agree with most of what you’ve stated, Bret.

    In our Tenancy Agreements, we require all renters to stay with the A1 system. Renters all sign these agreements… and sign that they will apply for the full REBS specified in our 10-year contracts.

    Friends who went with Smart Meters suddenly found their bills were higher than before installing solar electricity panels(!)

    If there is ‘a plot’ we believe it’s a home-grown, dinky-die-WA cultivar.
    We simply need to compare and contrast all other states’ and territories’ commitment to renewable power sources. As I’ve stated elsewhere, State Labor’s punishment of its citizens isn’t confined to those it considers ‘too well off’… . This state will happily steal from families on the minimum wage… . In our case(s) this includes _female_ students, _female_ shop assistants, _female_ education aides, _female_ childcare workers, single mums with up to four kids, etc. Male applicants for FiT rebates have _all_ been fully paid, as per 10-year contracts. Why has Synergy targeted regional female renters?

    I’m about to start pricing the cost of sandwich boards, to dedicate a day or two at a politically knife-edge polling location or two, in March 2021. Consumer ‘Protection’ no longer responds to our emails re. this blatant theft… . They don’t even bother to collect Registered Mail. It appears we’re forced to up-the-ante… .

    • Lessor – regarding the sandwich boards, and the 2021 WA state parliamentary election…

      In 2015, in WA, in the then Canning feral electorate (it has since changed a bit, due to redistribution, to create my current lower house feral electorate of Burt, which is expected to be deleted, in the current electoral redistribution), we had a by-election, due to the death of Don Randall.

      When the early voting was occurring, outside a special “pre-polling booth”, in Armadale, I encountered some representatives from Solar Citizens, who where handing out pro-solar electioneering material, and I managed to get from them, a corflute sign, which I fastened to one of our property fences (we are on a corner block, and, get pedestrian traffic going along both streets, to and from a primary school that is a couple of hundred yards from here, so, the sign would be visible to parents in the neighbourhood, and, to other people.

      The next full feral election, happened about a year or so after that, and I believe that the sign was still standing and sufficiently legible, for that election.

      Unfortunately, since then, Solar Citizens appears to have given up on WA, and, become only an east cost organisation, not ever having had a formal branch in WA.

      Unfortunately, when we got the next feral election, it was the one when this new and temporary feral electorate of Burt was created, for which, the elected member, Matt Keogh, turned out to be (this was not discovered until earlier this year) one of three WA members of the feral parliament, who are members of the extremist right wing faction of the ALP, known as the Otis Group – an extreme, pro-coal lobby group; and extremist sub-faction of the “Labor Right” faction. I guess that I should have taken more notice when Matt Keogh’s chief of staff stated that no person who has dual citizenship (about 38%of Australia’s eligible voters) should be allowed to vote in any feral election or referendum, a policy that is apparently, an ALP policy.

      The other two WA members of the Otis group, are feral Brand MP Madeleine King, and WA senator Glen Sterle.

      See
      https://www.watoday.com.au/politics/western-australia/wa-labor-mps-named-as-part-of-pro-coal-right-wing-otis-group-20200213-p540h9.html
      and
      https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/labor-mps-say-albanese-was-furious-with-them-over-pro-coal-dinner-20200213-p540nv.html

      All three WA members of the Otis group extremist right wing faction of the ALP, are up for election, at the next feral election (Matt Keogh is expected to stand against the notorious head of the feral government (lack of) intelligence part (who made clear that, in keeping with LNP policy, women should be kept barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, as they are unfit for anything else, especially military service, where the only skill apparently needed in the Australian military, especially, the SAS, is being able to urinate sufficiently high on the barracks walls), in the event that the feral electorate of Burt is eliminated)…

      And, it is possible that we could have a feral general (if not double dissolution) election next year, around the time that the WA state general parliamentary election is due, or, possibly, later next year.

      Anyway, perhaps, depending on where you are located, and, the degree of interest in WA, perhaps, someone should act to start up a WA lobby group, to promote the use of the (so far) freely available solar energy, which is in abundance in this state, but, is regarded as not being an available resource in this state, by either the ALP, or, its parent organisation, the LNP.

      Matt Keogh is the ALP feral spokesman (“shadow minister”) for WA resources, which, to him, are limited to being coal mining and uranium mining, and, definitely do not include such imaginary things as sunshine.

      I suggest that corflute signs on fences, as a kind of permanent (to be replaced when they age) fixture on fences, would be good, with slogans something like the ones used by Solar Citizens, on their material for the 2015 Canning by-election.

      I believe that I can not post an appended image file, otherwise, I would post an image of the sign that was on our fence for the 2015 by-election and the subsequent feral general election.

      • Thanks for your enlightening contribution, Bret.
        We really value your suggestions!~

        I’ll discuss the implications with a local community group, whose primary motivation is transition to renewable energy.

        I’ve probably been unrealistic and even remiss in believing that DMIRS would support our pleas on behalf of regional female tenants… and that our state government might actually _value_ the incredible potential of sunshine, wind and tidal resources in WA.

        Faced with such sheer obstinacy and a total lack of empathy for WA residents, I’ll have to encourage more political action to effect positive change.

        Thanks again, Bret.

  15. No need to do anything special with your electric water heater and it won’t push you from REBS into DEBS. Just get one installed, wired normally to the meter with either a timer or (if you can find one), a unit fitted with a remote control.

    The simple version is have it on a timer that uses power during your peak solar. As long as your solar is outputting more than the heater draws it won’t pull anything from the grid.

    Even better if you can get one that you can turn on or off remotely. We put a new, more efficient air con in for heating after upgrading our solar in December. A $20 web connected Mirabella IR remote blaster means I can turn it on to heat or cool the house remotely when my solar system is cranking but I’m not there to flick the switch.

  16. Something needs to be done about this. WA was already getting the worst feed in tariff rates and now instead of this improving, it is getting worse.

    The only fast solutions would be a huge mass campaign to change this decision and increase solar feed in to a min of 10c ALL day (it really should be a 1 to 1 though to be fair)

    Or remove the government from equation like most states so we have multiple competition fighting for our business instead of the government owned electricity rorting everyone left right and centre.

  17. Okay, all you Western Australian residents who object to the change to the Feed In Tariffs in WA, and the replacement with the “DEBS” Energy Buyback Scam, take a look at this, and, if you agree with it, sign and share it, to see what we can achieve.

    https://www.change.org/p/the-premier-and-members-of-the-western-australian-state-parliament-encourage-instead-of-punishing-use-of-domestic-rooftop-photovoltaic-systems

    • AEMO price hit -$212/MWH today in WA. Cool day with plenty of sunshine meant that the visible grid generation grid nearly dropped below 1000MW.

      Basically the energy market operator was briefly charging power generators over $200 for every MWh they pushed into the grid.

      Why? Because it’s a weekend, demand is low and solar is cranking. The problem is unless you build gas generation that can kick in fast as the sun goes down we won’t have any power overnight, or when it’s cloudy, or winter, or peak summer.

      The other risk is that this is with 1 in 3 households with solar power, take that to 2 in 3 and total solar generation will exceed demand and there’s nothing left to hold the grid up.

      So not only do you need gas fired power for winter/summer/night but you need to be able to cut back or store the solar being generated to control the grid- but no one is going to want to pay for that- either in lost solar production or battery costs.

      The reality for most of peak solar today the grid generators will be paying to keep running and keep the grid stable so we can’t really complain about getting paid to generate it.

      The best mid term option is gas fired power for fast recovery and the ability for centralised control of sole power output. The irony is that the gas fired power will be twice the cost of current coal fired power but hey, at least we can turn those coal fired plants back in over winter.

      • Daniel –

        “or store the solar being generated to control the grid- but no one is going to want to pay for that- either in lost solar production or battery costs.”

        Speak for yourself.

        If the no-deposit, no fees (including no fees to the suppliers/installers), interest-free loans over ten years that I have proposed, to install domestic rooftop photovoltaic systems with battery storage, or, to retrofit battery storage systems, would be available, it would be worth householders installing batteries, and, I would be happy to thence pay for behind the meter battery storage, that would be owned and controlled by this household, as it would have a number of benefits to the household.

        1. The battery storage system would help ameliorate the peaks and troughs of electrical energy passing between the household and the electricity grid, through energy arbitrage, providing the battery management system is properly configured.

        2. Thus, such a system would help protect the fragile and decomposing SWIS electricity grid.

        3. Thus, the interfering with household domestic rooftop photovoltaic system electricity generation, by malicious and perverted electricity grid operator, could not be justified, so, preventing the malicious and perverted interference with household domestic rooftop photovoltaic system electricity generation.

        4. The implementation of household domestic rooftop photovoltaic systems including battery storage systems, with an appropriate hybrid inverter, such as the Goodwe GW5048-ES, should provide transparent battery powered UPS to households, to both overcome the electricity grid supply failures due to the fragile and decomposing nature of both the grid and the coal fired power stations, and, to provide a constant and reliable electricity supply, to otherwise provide for the instances when people would be working at home, but, otherwise can not, due to electricity grid scheduled outages for maintenance of the fragile and decomposing grid (and, yes, that has affected this household).

        So, Daniel, YOU might not want to have and pay for behind the meter, battery storage, that would provide these benefits and more, but, YOU speak only for your self, in that regard, and, certainly not for this household, where the benefits of battery storage being incorporated in a household domestic rooftop photovoltaic system, are regarded as being worth the cost, if only the proposed financial support would be available.

        And, whilst a 6.6kW domestic rooftop photovoltaic system, with maximum optimal battery storage (such as, for example, two LG Chem 13.5 batteries, together, giving a total of about 25kWh of usable storage capacity), might not be enough to avoid electricity grid electricity supply altogether, especially in the times of less available sunlight, such as in the winter months, the benefits would, for some of us, be sufficiently economically feasible, to justify the cost, providing the financial assistance that I have proposed, is available.

        Especially, if it would prevent the malicious and perverted electricity grid operators and state government, from maliciously punishing, households that have domestic rooftop photovoltaic systems, and maliciously interfering with the electricity generation from domestic rooftop photovoltaic systems, which can be beneficial to everyone.

      • State Labor isn’t interested in renewables. Balancing the grid isn’t the reason for slashing FiT rebates. It’s all about royalties from fossil fuel… warped ideology… and leadership conceit.

        Balancing the grid is achievable:

        https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2064378610815/tesla-megapack-batteries-help-balance-the-uks-energy-grid-for-the-first-time

  18. Thank you for demonstrating my point by showing your support for battery installations as long as someone else picks up the bill by subsidisIng your installation and paying the interest bill for the next 10 years.

    Also worth noting that the system you mention will never pay for itself for the average household as the battery the battery capacity is oversized unless you are trying to go off grid.

    If you have already put your money where your mouth is and installed a battery system then I apologise for misinterpreting your reply. However I doubt it as while you do maintain that storage is worth the cost for your household, that’s only if someone else helps pay for it.

  19. Is there any future plans to allow export limiters in WA?
    I find the restriction 6.6KW on residential properties is very limiting if the premises is using all of this during the daytime. How is one supposed to charge batteries for night time use?
    Why are they against households becoming self sufficient while still being connected to the grid? Household consumption is only going to increase, what with electric cars.
    As a large power consumer, I don’t really care for the solar feed-in tariff. I would prefer to be allowed to install a system that meets my need. If my bill was reduced near to zero it is very feasible to have batteries but with out export limiters there is no point.
    I get it that we cant feed too much back too the grid, but with export limiters surely we should be allowed to generate as much as required/feasible possible on site.

  20. And, while the WA state government is trying to discourage the installation and use of domestic rooftop photovoltaic systems, after we who had them installed, stopped the rolling electricity grid supply blackouts in summers, that were caused by the inadequate (apart from being filthy and harmful) grid generators, we now have this

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-21/why-working-from-home-could-spark-power-disaster-down-under/12667814

    So, the state government policy of causing harm, while pillaging the people, seems likely to succeed.

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