So you’ve made the decision to install solar panels on you roof and would like to take full advantage of the Feed in Tariff’s available. How big can you make your system, and what are the limits for the Feed in Tariff?
Feed in Tariff capacity limits
New South Wales “ 10kW for single and 3-phase
“Only customers with solar photovoltaic (PV) systems or wind turbines up to 10 kilowatts capacity are eligible to participate in the Solar Bonus Scheme. This capacity limit applies regardless of how many phases of power supply a customer has. For instance, even if a customer has three phase power supply their renewable energy generator is only eligible under the Solar Bonus Scheme if it has a capacity of no greater than 10 kilowatts.
Customers with solar PV systems or wind turbines with a capacity above 10 kilowatts are not entitled to receive Solar Bonus Scheme benefits for part of the generation of these renewable energy generators.
The capacity limit applies to the entire generator, not just individual components of the generator. The entire generator must fall within the 10 kilowatt capacity limit.”
Victoria “ 5kW for single and 3-phase
The Victorian Government premium feed-in tariff for solar webpage states:
“To be eligible you must…have a solar PV system no greater than five kilowatts in size”
However, in Victoria if your system exceeds 5kw you will still be eligible for the standard feed-in tariff (as stated on the FAQ page):
“Solar PV systems that exceed the 5 kilowatt threshold will remain eligible for the standard feed-in tariff, which offers a payment equivalent to the retail rate charged to consumers.”
As there is no express stipulation of single or 3-phase systems, it can be implied that the limit applies to both.
Queensland “ 10kW for single phase, 30kW for 3-phase
The Queensland Government Solar Bonus Scheme webpage states:
“To be eligible to receive the solar bonus, customers must… have solar PV systems with a capacity of up to 10kVA for single phase power and 30kVA for three-phase power”
South Australia “ 10kW for single phase, 30kW for 3-phase
The South Australian Government Solar Feed in FAQ page states:
“To be eligible to benefit from the feed-in scheme, a PV system must… fit the definition of a small PV generator meaning a PV system with capacity up to 10kVA for a single phase connection and up to 30kVA for a three phase connection”
Australian Capital Territory “ 30kW for single and 3-phase
The ACT Government Electricity Feed-In Tariff Scheme fact sheet states:
œFrom 1 March 2009 until 30 June 2010 the Premium Price will be 50.05 cents per kWh generated for systems up to 10kW. For systems between 10kW and 30kW a rate of 40.04 cents per kWh will be paid. The Scheme is available to all ACT electricity customers (except non-educational Government agencies) with generation facilities of no greater capacity than 30kW.”
What if I’m just a little bit over?
Unfortunately all of the stipulated limits are hard limits, and if you are a single kW over, you become ineligible for the entire Feed in Tariff. Even the portion of generation under the limit (for instance the first 10kW of a 15kW system in NSW) will not be eligible. This is explicitly stated in the NSW and Victorian reference pages, and in the other states we have confirmed the limit directly with the relevant departments.
This, however, does not mean that if you own a large system you can not feed electricity back into the grid at all. You still can, but you will most likely be paid only the market rate for electricity. In Victoria this is explicitly stated (see the Victoria subheading above), and in other states you will need to communicate with your network service provider (the owner of the poles and wires in your area) to negotiate arrangements.
Where is the power output measured from?
We’re still collecting definitive information on this from all of the relevant network service operators.
In NSW the government Solar Bonus Scheme website makes it clear that the 10kW limit is measured as peak capacity of the inverter. This applies for customers in the Energy Australia, Country Energy and Integral Energy network.
Hence, if your inverter has a peak power output at or below the capacity limit you’re OK. This means technically you could have PV cells that are slightly over the capacity limit, as long as the peak power output of your inverter is at or below 10kW. However, such an operating configuration could damange your inverter and be unsafe.
In Victoria the different network service providers have different policies on measuring complying generation. They information we have gathered so far from them is as follows:
Jemena – output is measured from the inverter
SPAusnet – output is measured from the solar cells
Powercor – output is measured from the solar cells
CitiPower – output is measured from the solar cells
In Queensland the different network service providers have different policies on measuring complying generation. They information we have gathered so far from them is as follows:
Energex – output is measured from the inverter
Ergon – no response yet
ETSA Utilities have informed us that the output is measured as the peak output of the solar panels.
We have not received a response from ActewAGL yet.
Solar Energy Consultant
Solar Choice Pty Ltd
© 2010 Solar Choice Pty Ltd