Simply receiving a higher feed-in tariff from your electricity retailer does not necessarily mean that you will save more money on your electricity bills. Although a high feed-in rate certainly helps, these days all rates on offer are well under the rates that homes pay for electricity from the grid – so generally speaking it is in the best interest of solar homes to use their solar energy directly as opposed to sending it into the grid.
High FiT rates can occasionally be used the bait to get solar homes to sign up for an electricity plan this isn’t actually in their best interest. For example, an electricity plan that offers a high FiT rate but also has higher daily supply charge rates could translate into higher overall bills. But how do you know which retail electricity plan offers the best value overall?
We’ve put together the below calculator tool to allow solar system owners to get a more accurate idea of which retail electricity plan actually offers the best value. In addition to taking into account feed-in tariff rates, daily supply charges and per kilowatt-hour (kWh) usage charges, this tool also let’s owners see how different plans would fare under a range of solar self-consumption scenarios – e.g. in situations where a home manages to make good use of 70% of all the solar energy it produces, or (for homes with generous feed-in tariffs) situations where a large proportion of the solar electricity is exported to the grid.
Our hope is that this tool bring some transparency to an endeavour that can be shrouded in mystery – the act of choosing a new retail electricity plan!
Compare retail electricity plans with WATTever
While we have put together the calculator below for anyone to use, we also encourage you to check out WattEver.com.au – a site that allows you to compare all electricity plans in your area in detail. Like ours, WattEver’s services are free & instant.
A few caveats:
- Please keep in mind that while we’ve done everything possible to ensure the accuracy of the calculations, results should be taken as indicative only.
- As you shop around, be wary of ‘contract break’ or ‘exit’ fees from contracts – these can impact the overall savings that a plan could otherwise deliver if you choose to switch at some point before the contract term is up.
- Also make sure that you approach retailers with a specific plan in mind – not just the name of the retailer. Some retailers have multiple plans on offer, and not all of them offer the same terms or value.
How to use this tool:
- Make sure you know your annual (or daily) household electricity consumption and total solar PV system energy production (not just what you export to the grid). If you don’t know how much energy your solar system produces, we will estimate it for you using your solar system size and location (capital cities only at this point in time). Keep in mind that our model assumes that your system faces due north and is 85% efficient.
- Enter the details from one or more retail electricity plans, including applicable discounts (such as ‘pay on time’ and ‘pay online’ discounts). Make sure that the usage and supply charges that you enter exclude GST (which is calculated in afterwards). We recommend the EnergyMadeEasy.gov.au comparator website as the best place to get a range of plan details for solar customers. At this point in time, the tool works only for flat-rate (or single-rate) tariffs and not time-of-use tariffs.
- Check out the results at the bottom of the calculator. You’ll be able to see how the plans stack up against one another by the colour-coded results (dark red for highest price, bright green for lowest). You can also see which plans are better for high solar-self consumption households vs for lower solar self-consumption households.