Energy Australia has changed the rates it offers to customers with a grid-connected solar PV system. On an up-note, the change means that newly installed solar systems will receive a rate of 7.7c per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for solar power exported to the grid–up 1.7c from 6c. However, another change introduced simultaneously means that Solar Bonus Scheme customers who had been receiving 66c rate through Energy Australia will now receive only 60c.
The change came after the NSW government’s decision to have electricity retailers in the state contribute to the cost of the over-budget Solar Bonus Scheme, which originally mandated that electricity retailers pay customers with grid-connected solar systems 60c (and 20c at a later stage) for every kilowatt-hour that their systems produced. Some electricity retailers such as Energy Australia offered a voluntary contribution on top of this 60c to attract customers–e.g. 66c/kWh.
According to the Energy Australia website:
The solar credit rate for unused electricity customers feed back into the grid is made up of a credit from your local network and a credit from your retailer. All energy retailers are now required to contribute 7.7 cents per kilowatt hour towards the 60 cent and 20 cent NSW Solar Bonus Schemes from 1 July 2012.
The 60c/kWh rate is certainly the most generous rate ever offered for any Australian state, but Energy Australia customers who have hitherto been receiving the 66c/kWh rate may be disappointed, but will doubtless recognise that their lot is not a bad one.
As for NSW residents and businesses considering going solar at the moment, the price of solar PV systems has come down significantly since the Solar Bonus Scheme was introduced, meaning that returns on investment for solar systems in NSW are still attractive under the lower Solar Feed-in Tariff rates that are currently offered, provided the household or business uses their solar power as it is being produced. Using solar power as it is being produced reduces the need to purchase expensive electricity from the power grid.
Top image via Energy Australia
© 2012 Solar Choice Pty Ltd
He is now the communications manager for energy technology startup SwitchDin, but remains an occasional contributor to the Solar Choice blog.
James lives in Newcastle in a house with a weird solar system.
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