South Australia’s feed in tariff: updates, cut off dates and rates

The South Australian feed in tariff is proving to be a source of some confusion for households looking to go solar, and for those with existing residential solar PV systems. With multiple participation cut-off dates and additional end dates, customers are struggling to make sense of what they’re qualified for and how long they will receive those payments.

The Government of South Australia has a comprehensive website about energy rebates, concessions and incentives in South Australia. In order to help customers in South Australia we’ve summarised the key information you need to know when going solar.

South Australia’s feed in tariff

There have been multiple changes to the solar feed in tariff in South Australia. The Government has divided customers into five groups each with different feed-in entitlements, the key to working out what ‘customer group’ you fall into is the date your solar PV system was installed.

Group Connection Date Payment and end date Extra Information
One Approved permission to connect received by 31 August 2010, and solar PV system fully installed by 29 January 2012. Customers receive 44 cents per kWh exported to the grid, until 30 June 2028. Customers may also receive a minimum retailer payment. Customers wishing to upgrade above the size approved by SA Power Networks after 30 September 2011 will be permanently excluded from the solar feed-in scheme and unable to receive any feed-in tariff.Upgrades completed between 1 September 2010 and 30 September 2011 moved customers to Group 2.
Two Approved permission to connect received between 1 September 2010 and 30 September 2011, and solar PV system fully installed and connected by 30 September 2011. Customers receive 44 cents per kWh exported to the grid, until 30 June 2028. Customers may also receive a minimum retailer payment. 1. Feed-in tariff payment is limited to the first 45kWh exported to the grid each day2. A solar customer is only eligible to received the feed-in tariff in respect of one solar system3. The solar PV system must not be installed for the dominant purpose of feeding-in to the grid, so systems should be installed at locations where you normally use the most electricity.
Three Approved permission to connect received between 1 September 2010 and 30 September 2011, and booking made with SA Power Networks for the installation of an import/export meter within 120 days of 1 October 2011. Customers receive 44 cents per kWh exported to the grid, until 30 June 2028. Customers may also receive a minimum retailer payment. 1. Feed-in tariff payment is limited to the first 45kWh exported to the grid each day2. A solar customer is only eligible to received the feed-in tariff in respect of one solar system3. The solar PV system must not be installed for the dominant purpose of feeding-in to the grid, so systems should be installed at locations where you normally use the most electricity.
Four Approved permission to connect received between 1 October 2011 and 30 September 2013. Customers receive 16 cents per kWh exported to the grid until 30 September 2016, they may also receive a minimum retailer payment. 1. Feed-in tariff payment is limited to the first 45kWh exported to the grid each day2. A solar customer is only eligible to received the feed-in tariff in respect of one solar system3. The solar PV system must not be installed for the dominant purpose of feeding-in to the grid, so systems should be installed at locations where you normally use the most electricity.
Five Approved permission to connect received after 30 September 2013. No feed-in tariff offered but customers will be eligible to receive a minimum retailer payment from their electricity retailer

Minimum retailer payment

Solar PV System owners in South Australia who consume less than 160MWh per year, will be eligible for a minimum payment from their electricity retailer. This minimum payment is for any excess electricity exported to the grid, regardless of what feed-in tariff group they fall into.

The minimum retailer payment, which is credited on solar customers’ electricity bills, is determined by the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) and reflects the fair and reasonable value of fed-in electricity to electricity retailers. Although the ‘fair and reasonable’ value may not seem so to customers, it takes into account the network costs and additional risk that energy retailers face. The minimum payments to solar PV owners are outlined below.

 Minimum Retailer Payment (GST exclusive)
2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014 onwards
27 Jan 2012 to 30 June 2012 1 July 2012 to 30 June  2013 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014 From 1 July 2014
7.1c/kwh 9.8c/kwh 11.2c/kwh To be determined by ESCOSA

How do I calculate what I’m entitle to?

In order to work out what solar rebate you should be receiving you need to work out what group you fall into using the first table, you will either be receiving 44¢ or 16¢ per kWh fed back to the grid. This figure will not change until 30 June 2028 for customers in Groups 1-3 who receive the 44¢ feed in tariff. Customers in Group 4 who receive  16¢ per kWh will be guaranteed this payment up until 30 September 2016. The minimum retailer payment until 30 June 2013 is 9.8¢ per kWh fed back to the grid. Some energy retailers may offer more than the minimum payment to encourage customers to choose them over a competitor, details of the payment will be available online and in your contract.

At the end of June 2013 the minimum payment for retailers will increase to 11.2¢ per kWh, all customers feeding into the grid will receive this higher amount regardless of when they installed.

What else am I entitled to?

Those considering solar power in South Australia will be eligible to receive Federal solar incentives towards the up front cost of investing in a system. More details can be found in the solar rebates section of our website.

© 2013 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Rebecca Boyle

Rebecca is a sustainable development and marketing graduate, with a background in community engagement and research. She has a particular interest in sustainable resource use.
Rebecca Boyle