On December 31 2016, recipients of NSW Solar Bonus Scheme will cease to receive bill credits for their exported solar energy. The Solar Bonus Scheme (which closed to new applications in 2011) offered 60c per kilowatt-hour or 20c/kWh, depending on the signup date. Once the scheme ends, these rates will drop significantly, to as low as low as zero, depending on your electricity retailer and the plan.

Now, as these relatively generous state-sponsored rates come to a close, the 150,000-odd NSW solar homes receiving them are looking to make the transition as painless as possible. If you live in one of these homes, what are your options? In this article, we break them down for you.

Your goal: Keep your solar energy in your home

The 60c/kWh rate – and to a lesser degree the 20c/kWh rate – both essentially incentivise solar homes to send their solar energy into the grid. These days, with feed-in tariff rates only a fraction of what they once were, the opposite is true: in order to maximise the value of your solar system, you should focus on ‘self-consuming’ as much of your solar energy as possible. By using your solar energy yourself, you’ll reduce your electricity bill directly – and you’ll also have the pleasure of knowing that you’re at least partially energy self-reliant. Read the full article →

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How interest in home battery storage has grown in Australia (proof in charts)

July 28, 2016
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There are only so many ways to start writing an article with some variation of ‘interest in battery storage in Australia is growing rapidly’ without repeating yourself, but that’s exactly what I have valiantly attempted to do over the past 1.5 years. Here, I’ve put together some charts that attempt to explain why I’ve felt compelled […]

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Commercial Solar PV Price Index: July 2016

July 28, 2016
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The average price for a commercial solar PV system dropped noticeably between June and July 2016, according to figures from Solar Choice’s installer network database. While prices for each month in the first half of 2016 saw an average of about $1.33, the average price for this month was $1.29 – on par with Dec […]

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What is a “Tier 1” solar panel? Tier 2 or 3?

July 27, 2016
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When purchasing a solar system, the quality of the components to be used is frequently a key consideration. However, differentiating one brand from another may not be so simple, especially in the case of solar panels, of which there are hundreds of brands on the Australian market. The terms ‘Tier 1’, ‘Tier 2’, and ‘Tier […]

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Investment in large-scale renewables on the rise, but Aus still unlikely to meet 2020 target

July 26, 2016

Large-scale renewable energy investment in Australia has hit its highest levels since 2013, although it remains well short of the level needed to meet the reduced renewable energy target in 2020. Bloomberg New Energy Finance data for the second quarter in 2016 shows investment in large scale wind at its highest levels since 2013, just […]

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RedFlow’s ZCell: An Aussie-designed flow battery for homes

July 25, 2016
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RedFlow’s ZCell is currently one of the most talked-about battery storage products on the Australian market. Slated to be available in Australia in the very near future, the battery has significant advantages over most of the other products on the market – and it sure to appeal to the tech-happy ‘early adopter’ market despite its price […]

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‘Genie is out of the bottle’ for large-scale solar & storage projects

July 25, 2016
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Australia could host some of the world’s biggest solar and battery storage projects, after local infrastructure investor Lyon Group revealed plans to develop a pipeline of more than 300MW of solar and up to 60MW of battery storage. The first new project is planned for South Australia, with a 100MW solar PV plant to be combined […]

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LG Chem introduces stackable, modular lithium battery

July 22, 2016
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South Korean battery maker LG Chem has released its new generation systems in Australia, promising they will offer more choice, and be cheaper, smaller, lighter, and with improved aesthetics. LG Chem, which claims nearly half of the nascent but rapidly growing Australian grid-connected market, is offering low voltage and high voltage options to Australian households, […]

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Gas – not renewables – to blame for SA electricity price spikes

July 22, 2016
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Conservative politicians have increased their calls for a review of renewable energy policies and the construction of new wind farms, while the conservative media continued to screech its opposition to wind and solar, blaming them for electricity price spikes in South Australia and across the country, despite the principal cause being the surge of gas prices […]

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Can you go off-grid with solar and energy storage?

July 20, 2016

These days, almost everyone considering solar and battery storage is wondering if it’s possible to disconnect from the grid altogether; ‘going off-grid’ seems to be all the rage. Just how feasible is it for the average household to go off grid – and is it really worth it? How easy is it to go off-grid with […]

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Electricity price inflation: What it means for going solar

July 19, 2016

Grid electricity prices fluctuate over time – and usually they increase. This has important implications for anyone considering going solar. This article covers the basics of what you need to know about electricity price inflation to help you make a more well-informed decision about going solar. Why do grid electricity prices increase? The retail electricity prices […]

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Which retailer is offering the best electricity plan for solar customers in Sydney (July 2016)

July 18, 2016

Getting a higher feed-in tariff from your electricity retailer looks great on paper, but it does not necessarily mean that you will save more money on your electricity bills. We’ve taken a look at a spread of retail electricity plans for solar customers in the Sydney area in order to determine who is actually offering the […]

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Melbourne ‘mini-suburb’ has a Tesla Powerwall in every home (units now on sale!)

July 18, 2016
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Plans for what could be the world’s first “Tesla town” – a mini-suburb on the outskirts of the Melbourne CBD whose new-build homes will include rooftop solar and Tesla battery storage – are being unveiled by local property group Glenvill, as the green development’s first 60 homes went on sale last week. The new 16.46 […]

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WA pilot projects to investigate solar & batteries as solution for remote & rural customers

July 15, 2016
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A $4 million Western Australian pilot project by utility Western Power has installed six stand-alone solar and battery storage power systems to test different ways that electricity can be delivered to rural and remote customers. WA energy minister Mike Nahan said on Monday that six properties located around Ravensthorpe, Lake King and Ongerup, were trialling […]

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Aussie rooftop solar to reach 5GW by end of month

July 14, 2016
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Australia’s total rooftop solar capacity is expected to break through the 5GW mark in July, reaching a remarkable milestone in a sector that was virtually non-existent in 2009. New data released by Sunwiz shows that 64MW of rooftop solar was added across the country in the month of June, taking the national cumulative total to […]

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ACT’s move to renewables brings price to stability amid turbulent electricity market

July 13, 2016
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If current wholesale electricity prices continue as they are across Australia, the ACT will not just have zero emissions electricity by 2020 – it may also be getting most of it for free. This extraordinary situation arises out of the nature of the contracts that the ACT government has written with the project developers who […]

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Residential Solar PV Price Index – July 2016

July 13, 2016
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Average residential solar system prices dipped down to $1.63/W this month – on par with the low seen in April this year and close to the all-time low of $1.59/W seen in December of 2015. The price drop occurred across all system sizes. Interestingly, system price ‘highs’ have not come down much, low-end prices of […]

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ACT government receives 17 ‘extremely competitive’ bids in battery storage program

July 12, 2016
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Round two of the ACT government’s battery storage tender has attracted a total of 17 bids from local and national businesses proposing to install more than 8MW of energy storage. The funding round, which will see up to $2 million allocated across five companies for the installation of 2MW of solar storage in Canberra, is […]

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SunMate: Save more money by using the sun when you’re not home

July 12, 2016
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The AWS SunMate is a device that takes your excess solar energy and pumps it into your hot water tank, potentially saving you more money than solar panels alone. The SunMate’s developers, Australian Wind and Solar, say that it is one of the most cost-effective ways to maximise a solar PV system’s value – and […]

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Could the Renewable Energy Target once again be under threat with new government?

July 11, 2016
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Australia’s biggest utilities and coal generators could push for another review of the federal renewable energy target, if the newly re-elected Coalition government is presented with a “workable” majority of supporters in the Senate. The Australian Solar Council tweeted last Thursday that it was “hearing rumours” of a push for another review of the RET […]

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Compare solar power systems in Adelaide, SA

July 11, 2016
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Adelaide, SA is a great place for solar power – and did you know that 30-40% of homes in the Adelaide area have solar panels installed on their roofs? With the cost of solar power at historic lows and electricity rates higher than ever, more and more Adelaide homes and businesses are making the move […]

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