What is a Solar Feed In Tariff (Video).

I’ve been busy making videos that answer some common solar questions. Here I talk about Feed In Tariffs and what to do if your nasty energy retailer wants to punish you for going solar…

Transcription below for those who prefer to read:

Hi, I’m Finn Peacock. Now, what is a feed-in tariff? A feed-in tariff is the amount of money that you will get paid when you export solar electricity to the grid.

Now let’s define what I mean by exporting solar electricity to the grid. When you get a new solar system, you’ll get an import/export meter. They way that meter works is, at any moment in time the meter will look at how much electricity you’re generating from the solar panels and how much electricity you’re using in the house.

Any excess power will, by the natural forces of physics, flow out through your meter into the grid and that is exported electricity and you will get paid for that electricity at the current feed-in-tariff rate.

The feed in-tariff is set by the state government. So you’re at the mercy of your state government.

If you’re lucky, you live in Queensland at the moment, you get 44 cents a kilowatt-hour – pretty good deal (note: since I made this video this has been slashed to 8c).

If you’re unlucky, in terms of feed-in tariffs in any way, you live in New South Wales where you are lucky to get 6 cents a kilowatt-hour.

The solar feed-in tariff that you’re eligible for will make a huge difference to the payback of your solar system if you export any of the solar electricity, which you will at some point, so you need to know what your feed-in tariff is.

Have a look on my website SolarQuotes.com.au. We’ve got a list of all the latest feed-in tariff information for every state. Now as well as checking the feed-in tariff, you also want to check what tariff your electricity retailer is going to change you to, if you get a solar system. Some electricity retailers are a bit… How do I put it? Anti-solar? So they take the opportunity when you get a solar system to put you on a more expensive tariff. So you actually pay more for electricity.  Or they might take you off an off peak tariff, which means you have to pay more for the off peak, you probably will have to pay a flat rate instead.

So ring them up before you get a solar system. Ask them what will happen to current rates that you pay for electricity when you get solar. If you’re going to be worse off, simple solution, defect. There’s loads of competition in the electricity retail market. You will almost certainly find an electricity retailer that will make sure that you’re not worse off by getting solar, so just defect to one of those guys.

So there’s two things you need to check about electricity tariffs when you get a solar system. Number one, the feed-in tariff. Understand what feed-in tariff your state offers and understand that that is what you get paid when you export your solar electricity. It would make a huge difference to payback your solar system. So you really need to understand it.

Number two: you need to check what electricity tariff you’ll be put on for buying electricity when you get the solar system. Some less-than-solar-friendly electricity retailers may put you on a more expensive tariff. They may remove your off peak entitlement and you shouldn’t stand for it. The simple solution is defect. Defect to a more generous electricity retailer if you’re getting solar.

About Finn Peacock

I'm a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and the founder and CEO of SolarQuotes.com.au. I started SolarQuotes in 2009 and the SolarQuotes blog in 2013 with the belief that it’s more important to be truthful and objective than popular. My last "real job" was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division. Since 2009, I’ve helped over 700,000 Aussies get quotes for solar from installers I trust. Read my full bio.


  1. robert gatti says

    i recently had a system installed on the 28/06 and installer submitted papers on the 20/07 to energy aust having rang 3 times a week and also had installer email papers again last week to provider and myself cannot get any satisfaction from cust service all they say is cannot find papers and or could take up to 7 weeks to process then another 7 weeks for smart meter to be installed am getting frustrated about this and dont know what to do i have been emailing papers every second day and will ring again this week any ideas what to do regards robert gatti

  2. ken paterson says

    I have had a 5kw system installed on the sunshine coast my question is , at the moment I am generating about 11 to 12 kWh per day

    Thanks Ken

    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Ken,

      Averaged over the year – a N facing 5kW system on the Sunshine Coast should deliver about 20kWh per day. So this seems low.

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