Victoria Feed-in Tariffs: Apply and install by 30 September 2012, new rate will be 8c/kWh

The Victorian government has announced the impending closure of the state’s Transitional and Standard Feed-in Tariffs. According to the Department of Primary Industries (DPI), solar systems must be installed and inspected (and paperwork submitted) by 30 September 2012. A new rate of 8c per kilowatt-hour (kWh) will come into place from the beginning of 2013. Those who make it in before the deadline will enjoy the benefits of the Transitional Feed-in Tariff (25c/kWh for power exported to the grid, systems up to 5kW in capacity) or the Standard Feed-in tariff (receive same rate as you pay for electricity for solar power you export to the grid, systems 5kW+ to 100kW) until 31 December 2016.

What should you do to ensure access to one of Victoria’s Feed-in Tariffs?

Update 18 Sept 2012: Solar Choice’s installer network in Victoria has now reached capacity for those interested in making the deadline for the Feed-in Tariffs. Solar systems are still a good financial investment for Victorians looking to decrease their power bills. If you are interested in learning more, get in touch with Solar Choice today by filling out the Solar Quote Comparison form to the right of this page, or call us on 1300 78 72 73.

The Victorian government, in a repeat of its approach to announcing the end of the state’s now closed Premium Feed-in Tariff was announced, has taken some measures to prevent a rush of Feed-in Tariff applications from flooding in, and has warned customers not to succumb to pressure from installers who employ questionable, high-pressure sales tactics.

The government has left only a 4-week window (until the end of the month) for homes and businesses to have a solar system installed. In effect, this means that they will have only 1 or 2 weeks to decide on an installer and pay a deposit.

For those who are interested in taking advantage of either the Transitional or Standard Feed-in Tariffs, Solar Choice has a number of installers operating across Victoria who may be able to install before the deadline. Request a free, instant comparison of quotes by filling out the form to the right of this page,  or ring us on 1300 78 72 73 for more information. Solar Choice will not pressure customers to rush to meet the deadline.

Transitional Feed-in Tariff: For systems up to 5kW, a rate of 25c/kWh until 31 December 2016

According to the DPI website, the criteria for eligibility for the Transitional Feed-in Tariff are as follows:

To be considered, for the Transitional Feed-in Tariff you must have your solar PV system fully-installed, signed-off by a licensed electrical inspector and have submitted all paperwork to your electricity suppliers by 30 September 2012.

Paperwork includes:

Additionally, an electrical metre upgrade will also need to be undertaken before 31 December, 2012.

Standard Feed-in Tariff: For systems from 5kW – 100kW, a 1-to-1 rate (equivalent to retail price of electricity) until 31 December 2016

According to the DPI website, the criteria for eligibility for the Standard Feed-in Tariff are as follows:

To be considered, for the current ‘one for one’ Standard Feed-in Tariff you should have your renewable energy system fully-installed, signed-off by a licensed electrical inspector and have submitted all paperwork to your electricity suppliers by 30 September 2012.

Paperwork includes:

Additionally, an electrical metre upgrade will also need to be undertaken before 31 December, 2012.

In the industry, disappointment, but not much surprise

The announcement of the closure of will not come as a surprise to those watching or working in Victoria‘s solar industry–the volume of installations under the scheme was limited to a total installed capacity of 75 megawatts (MW). Although until the announcement there had been no specific deadline, there were rumours floating about from over a month ago that the announcement was imminent.

Even the extremeness of the reduction–down to 8c/kWh–was not entirely unexpected. Well in advance of the announcement of the rate reduction, an inquiry was launched by the Victoria Competition and Efficiency Commission (VCEC) to determine what the future rates should be. The 8c rate was foreshadowed in VCEC reports as early as February.

Although not generally considered the ‘fair and reasonable rate’ for solar that supporting governments purport it to be, this rate is in line with rates currently offered in QueenslandNSW, the greater Perth region of WA, and as the ‘retailer contribution’ component of South Australia’s Transitional Feed-in Tariff, which is meant to represent the ‘actual’ value of solar power to electricity network operators.

Clean Energy Council Policy Director Russell Marsh expressed his disapproval of the government’s move. “We’re obviously disappointed at this decision to reduce support for solar power, which will make it harder for everyday Victorians to reduce their power bills and put industry jobs under pressure,” he said in a media statement.

The announcement of the Feed-in Tariff reduction comes on the heels of the revelation that solar systems were not a ‘niche’ product for the wealthy, but that solar PV was a technology taken up homes with a range of incomes in Victoria, according to recent census data. Widespread uptake of solar PV is also attributed with the recent drop in electricity demand across the eastern seaboard of Australia.

© 2012 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

James Martin II

Contributor at Solar Choice
James was Solar Choice's primary writer & researcher between 2010 and 2018.

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.
James Martin II

Comments

  1. All this is about what could have been expected . but it is not right that I have to go online and search for the information . I SHOULD be freely available to all in newspapers / tv etc. the power companies themselves have been silent on this , when they would have been expected to be jumping up and down .
    I have had my panels since June 2112 and it only now that we are finding out that the cut off date is so close and no idea what the new buy back would be so low .

    1. Hi John,

      Which feed-in tariff are you on? Premium, Transitional, or Standard? We’ve written about the end dates for each scheme here. If you have the Premium tariff, payments will continue until 2024. If Transitional or Standard, they’ll go until 2016, as you’ve indicated. Hopefully your solar system will have already paid itself off by then.

  2. Simple calculation.
    If I produce 1kwh and sell for 8c then my neighbour buy it for 28c (electricity flows shortest way) electricity loss in two transformers and 11kv line are less than 5% for 200m distance. Clear profit to supplier of 19.6c + saving of 6-7% on transmission of the 1 kwh from power plant to my neighbour.
    Simple conclusion.
    A: now the power supply companies will make higher profit on you than buying from power stations.
    B: Our government is in bed with electricity cartel.

    1. Hi Mark,

      Although we’d like to see a fair buy-back scheme Australia wide, energy retailers have provided their justification for paying customers rates below what they sell for. The cost associated with maintaining the network and the ‘risk’ involved in power supply are their main reason for not offering, for example, the 28¢ per kWh you pay to buy energy from the grid.

      We have ben advising customers for some time that investing in solar power is no longer about making money from exporting to the grid. At Solar Choice we work with customers to match energy usage to a solar PV system that will almost cover their usage, allowing for a percentage of energy use during the night when the panels are not producing. In this way the value of the energy produced is what is saved by not purchasing from the grid, as the cost of energy rises the value of the energy you produce rises.

      Although Government incentives are being removed at a pace that is slightly faster than the industry is ready for, the original incentives have driven the cost of solar PV system down to less than half price in the past 18 months. Solar is still a great investment that allows people to take control of their energy bills, you can check out our Return on Investment calculators if you have a system size in mind.

      Thanks for your comment.

  3. i have my solar system fitted in June 2011 and suppose to be 60 a kw
    grid feed back and now they are given me 31 cent what can i do now will i accepted yes or no

    1. Hi Oscar,

      Without knowing the details of your circumstances it is difficult to understand why the feedback rate has changed, there has been a partial reduction in tariffs in some area with retailer contributions. I would have a look at the original paperwork for the 60¢.kWh tariff and see if there is something about the figure changing at the digression of the energy retailer.

      Sorry we can’t be of more help.

  4. I think they should invent some sort of power grid that u only use your own electricity that you produce, why would you want to put it back to the grid for 8cents and buy it back for 30cents, makes no sense if you ask me. Power companies are already increasing the amount, not to mention te daily admin crap fee which they don’t need to do. Much cause it’s called a smart meter not a stupid old age meter. It’s becoming a joke.

  5. Your article contradicts itself, on one hand you say “means that they will have only 1 or 2 weeks to decide on an installer and pay a deposit.”, then you go on to say the system has to be installed and inspected. Well speaking from experience the whole process takes a least a few months so not only are you now immediately excluded from the standard feed in tariff, people who committed to solar probably up to one to two months ago will also miss out due to all the red-tape and no doubt long wait times for installation.

    1. Hi Duncan,

      Thanks for your comment.

      The Victorian Government has announced the deadline in such a way that it will be fairly difficult for anyone who has not already paid a deposit to make a decision and have their system installed before the deadline. This is a wise decision on their part, I think, and we are not seeing the same sort of rush to install panels as we saw in Queensland, for example.

      It is not impossible to make the deadline for those who move quickly, however. We do have installers in our network with lead times short enough to make it, but the number who can will of course shrink quickly, and there will be virtually none left who can do this by middle of the month.

      1. Duncan’s point is valid – putting aside the installation process there is no way anyone can get an inspection carried out in the time frame needed. There are systems installed all over Victoria that wait 1 month or more to be inspected.

        1. Hi Denise.

          It’s true that the lead times of various installers vary significantly–some are over a month, while others can be as short as 2 weeks.

          Duncan’s comment came right after the announcement of the FiT deadline–nearly 2 weeks before your own. It is clear now that it will be not be possible for installers in our network to meet the deadline, and I have updated the article accordingly.

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