Victorian Feed-In Tariff Commences

After much deliberation the details of the Victorian feed-in reward rate have been announced, with a commencement date on the 1st of November, 2009. Official specifications for the reward rate fall much in line with what was expected, with one major condition; the model will only be eligible for the first 100 megawatts  (100,000 kilowatts) that are established in the state. The standard rate for energy will be all that is offered to installations established once that figure has been reached. With thousands of residential and commercial installations taking place throughout the state under the $8,000 rebate scheme and strong interest in the Solar Credits Discount ensuring many more coming through, the clock is now ticking on all Victorian solar energy interests.

The Victorian model is based on a ‘net’ program, meaning that only surplus energy will be rewarded at the premium rate. The ACT thus remains the only state or territory in Australia to be sticking with its ‘gross’ program, whereby all energy generated from solar systems are given premium rewards. Despite this drawback, the Victorian rate will be set at 60c per kilowatt, which is on par with the proposed NSW model as being the most generous price in Australia . A quick round up of the Victorian feed-in rate would include the following points:

  • The scheme commenced on the 1st of November, 2009 and will run for 15 years.
  • It applies to all systems up to 5kW (roughly 30 panels) in size.
  • Only the first 100 megawatts of solar energy established in the state will be eligible for the premium reward tariff.
  • Eligible systems will receive a reward rate of 60c for every surplus kW/h fed onto the grid.
  • The property must have a usage of less than 100 megawatt hours a year (An average of less than 274kW/h a day, thus excluding only the higher spectrum of energy users).
  • All energy retailers with more then 5,000 customers must abide by the feed-in tariff’s terms.
  • Energy retails may credit customers accounts or directly pay them for their feed-in earnings.

Another important factor now stands out as the different policies that energy retailers will take on under this feed-in tariff. The two major considerations are what exactly they are paying for the surplus energy (as it can be more than the minimum 60c amount) and how they are crediting that amount. Customers should ask whether retailers are choosing to directly pay customers (likely through a cheque at the end of each quarterly period), credit their accounts with the money earned, or allow the customer to decide. In addition enquiring about what happens to credit should a customer wish to change retailers is another important matter. More information on Victorian retailers can be found here: www.yourchoice.vic.gov.au

So that about summarises the tariff. The two things I would urge to take from this announcement would be regarding the limited amount of installations that are eligible for the scheme (the first 100 megawatts, which could be at maximum 100,000 homes with 1kW systems) and the differences from retailer to retailer regarding what and how they pay customers for the surplus energy. Recommendations are to get in as early as possible, and make sure your retailer suits your needs.

The Victorian government’s official release can be found by clicking here.

Jarrah Harburn
Solar Broker
Solar Choice

© 2009 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Jarrah Harburn

Jarrah is the Director of Solar Choice’s UK subsidiary, Solar Selections. He has 3 years' experience in the UK solar industry following 2 years' experience with Solar Choice in Australia.
Jarrah Harburn