Launched in 2008, Queensland’s Solar Bonus Scheme encourages the expansion of clean energy by guaranteeing that homes and small businesses are paid a premium rate for surplus electricity generated by small-scale solar energy systems. The program was reviewed in April 2010, with the Queensland Government announcing that 36 megawatts of solar capacity had been connected to the State’s electricity network thus far. The program is set to continue in its current form at the current rate of 44 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Update 3 November 2011: There has been speculation that the Queensland Solar Bonus Scheme will come to an end before or soon after the next Queensland parliamentary election (The future of the Queensland Solar Bonus Feed-in Tariff).
Solar Community bulk-buys are in the process of being organised by Solar Choice in the Townsville and Mackay areas. Please contact Solar Choice for more information on how to take advantage of discounted rates if you are a resident of one of these areas.
Read about the eligibility criteria for the Queensland Solar Bonus Feed-in Tariff scheme.
The Solar Bonus Scheme is a type of incentive known as a net feed-in tariff, which rewards customers by paying a premium rate for each unit of excess electricity their solar system feeds into the grid. The amount of electricity exported to the grid, and thus the amount of the Solar Bonus, depends upon how much energy the customer consumes during daylight hours (when the solar panels are generating energy). As discussed in previous articles How to Save Energy in Your Home and How Do I Use Electricity During the Day?, customers may maximize their Solar Bonus by reducing energy demand and implementing energy efficiency measures, particularly during peak sunlight hours. Larger systems may also help to maximize benefits.
Even without the Solar Bonus Scheme”or in cases where no excess electricity is exported to the grid”the Office of Clean Energy estimates that a 1.5 kilowatt system could save the average customer around $400 a year in avoided electricity costs. On top of this, the Solar Bonus Scheme may significantly increase savings by generating and exporting excess energy at the premium rate. For more on the economics of system sizing, and how to boost energy production over consumption, take a look at our article, Home Energy Consumption Versus Solar PV Generation.
Most homes and many small businesses are eligible for the Solar Bonus Scheme. As long as you are connected to the grid, can have appropriate metering installed, and hold an electricity account with an electricity retailer, you may be able to take advantage of the Scheme. The program is available for systems up to 10kW for single-phase power, and up to 30 kW for three-phase power.
The Solar Bonus Scheme will be reviewed periodically, and is set to expire in 2028.
Written by John Yurasek
Solar Energy Consultant
© 2010 Solar Choice Pty Ltd
Source: Queensland Government Office of Clean Energy 2010,