Feed-in tariffs in Australia: How they’ve changed

Solar feed-in tariffs are arrangements where a solar system owner is paid for the excess solar energy that they send back into the grid. At one point in time, feed-in tariffs were mandatory in every state in Australia, and the rates they offered were quite generous.

Much has changed, however, since we first published this article in 2009. Feed-in tariff incentives are no longer available to new solar customers in almost all of Australia’s states and territories. Instead, where feed-in tariffs are state-mandated at all, they are in the range of 6-8¢/kWh – about 1/3 the price of retail electricity purchased from the grid. (Those who signed up for these before the deadlines for the various feed-in tariffs will continue to receive the set rates for the duration of the term of their incentives.)

In many states, compensation for excess solar power by electricity retailers is entirely voluntary, meaning that solar system owners must shop around to find a retailer that offers them a favourable rate – generally in the range of 6-10¢/kWh.

Remember: Feed-in tariffs are not the only factor you should consider when selecting your electricity retailer

Check out our Solar-Friendly Electricity Retail Plan Comparison Tool

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Rooftop solar panelsUntil a couple of years ago, feed-in tariff incentives were virtually the main determinant in the economic viability of going solar in Australia. Since then, however, solar PV system prices have fallen considerably, meaning that an investment in a solar PV system is still worthwhile, but how to best use a system has changed.

When feed-in tariffs were higher than the cost of grid electricity, it made sense for homes & businesses to try to export as much power as possible, as this would maximise savings.

These days, the opposite is true: in order to maximise investment in a solar system, the system’s owner would see the most benefit from endeavouring to consume as much of the electricity that they generate as possible (‘solar self-consumption‘). This is because direct consumption of any solar power generated means less electricity that needs to be purchased from the grid (at rates between 20-30¢/kWh, depending on the retailer and region), whereas exporting the power will earn system owners credits on their power bill to the tune of only 6-10¢/kWh.

What is clear is that the bias for ‘self-consumption’ virtually defines the business case for going solar in Australia today. The aim of this article is to help solar shoppers to keep themselves informed about what their excess solar power is worth, so that they can ensure that they are getting the most out of their system.

*This article was originally published on 11 December 2009 and has been updated several times since.*

Read about solar feed-in tariffs in your state:

NSW – VIC – QLD – SA – WA – ACT – NT – TAS

Frequently asked questions about solar feed-in tariffs

Types of solar feed-in tariffs: Net and Gross

As you may have heard there are two types of feed in tariffs: Net and Gross.

Net feed in tariff – A net feed-in tariff pays you only for the surplus energy that you feed back into the grid. This type of scheme operates virtually everywhere in Australia now. The power that is not exported to the grid is used by the home, thereby reducing the electricity of the home or business in question through avoided purchase of power from the grid in the first place.

Gross feed in tariff – A gross feed in tariff pays you for every kilowatt hour of electricity your solar cells produce, regardless of how much energy you consume. Generally speaking, gross feed-in tariffs are not offered through electricity retailers these days. These days, the vast majority of feed-in arrangements are net feed-in arrangements.

Form of payment for solar feed-in tariff revenues

The feed in tariffs you earn are by default paid as a credit on your electricity bill, which is usually settled quarterly. So the energy you export to the grid works to decrease your electricity bill. In the case that you’ve exported so much energy that your account goes into surplus, most energy retailers allow you to claim the cash by cheque or EFT on request (check with yours to find out for sure).

All the information here has been collated from information provided EnergyMadeEasy.gov.au and other state government comparator engines. Some energy companies may charge you more for the regular power you consume from the grid when you install solar cells, or charge you an additional fee. Due to the complexity of the energy market these instances can not be fully documented here, but you should check with the retailers in your area if this is the case, and shop around for the best deal.

Is Feed in Tariff income taxable?

Generally speaking, income received to a household from a feed in tariff is not taxable as the system is installed for personal use and not for the sole intention of making a profit. If, however, you are installing the system on a commercial premises then the income from the feed in tariff may be assessed as being taxable.

Will I need to pay GST on Feed in Tariff income?

Households will not need to pay GST on their feed in tariff income as the income will be below $75,000 per year. Businesses, however, will need to do so.

Solar feed-in tariff rates by state

New South Wales

At the moment, there is no mandatory minimum feed-in tariff rate in NSW. Instead, individual electricity retailers assign a value to exported solar power as they see fit. Some retailers offer more than others, and some retailers offer nothing.

All of the offers listed below can be found using the EnergyMadeEasy.gov.au comparator, which allows electricity & gas customers to easily compare offers from the retailers who operate in their region. Make sure to tick the box for ‘Offers available to solar customers’.

(N.b. The benchmark feed-in tariff range for NSW is set to increase from July 2017.)

Retailer Tariff payable to new solar customers (¢/kWh)*
AGL 6.1¢
Alinta 6.5¢
Click Energy 6¢, 10¢
Commander Power & Gas 6.5¢
CovaU ?
Diamond Energy
Dodo Power & Gas 6.5¢
Energy Australia 6.1¢
Energy Locals 10¢
Enova Energy (Northern Rivers region) 6¢, 12¢
Lumo Energy
Mojo Power 7.3¢
Momentum Energy
Origin Energy 6¢, 10¢
Pooled Energy
Powerdirect 6.1¢
Powershop 8.2¢
Red Energy
Simply Energy 6.5¢

*This table was last updated on 16 Feb 2017

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Victoria

The Victorian government has recently announced that it will be an introducing a new minimum feed-in tariff from 1 July 2017. The rate will initially be a (relatively) generous 11.3c/kWh, but will be subject to regular reviews and will fluctuate (presumably annually). The rates in the table below reflect the current feed-in tariffs on offer in the state, where the minimum is 5c/kWh until the new rate kicks in.

All of the offers listed below can be found using Victoria’s SwitchOn.vic.gov.au comparator, which allows electricity & gas customers to easily compare offers from the retailers who operate in their region.

(N.b. The feed-in tariff rate for Victoria is set to increase significantly from July 2017.)

Retailer Tariff payable to new solar customers (¢/kWh)*
1stenergy 5.1¢
AGL
Alinta energy 6.2¢
Click energy 8¢, 10¢
Commander Power & Gas 6.5¢
Diamond Energy Pty Ltd
Dodo Power & Gas 6.5¢
Energy Australia 5.5¢
GloBird Energy 6.8¢
Lumo Energy 5.5¢, 6.5¢
Momentum Energy
Next Business Energy Pty Ltd 10¢
Origin Energy
People Energy ?
Powerdirect
Powershop 8.2¢
Red Energy 6.5¢
Simply Energy
Sumo Power

*This table was last updated on 16 February 2017

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Queensland

At the moment, there is no mandatory minimum feed-in tariff rate for southeastern Queensland (Brisbane area). Instead, individual electricity retailers assign a value to exported solar power as they see fit. Some retailers offer more than others, and some retailers offer nothing.

If you are a resident of regional Queensland (Ergon network), however, there is a mandatory minimum that you will receive for exported solar power (check the QCA’s website for current rates).

All of the rates listed below were found using at EnergyMadeEasy.gov.au, which allows electricity & gas customers to easily compare offers from the retailers who operate in their region.

Retailer Tariff payable to new solar customers (¢/kWh)*
AGL
Click Energy 6¢, 10¢, 11¢
Diamond Energy
Dodo Power & Gas 4¢, 6.5¢
EnergyAustralia
Energy Locals 10¢
Lumo Energy (QLD)
Mojo Power Pty Ltd 7.3¢
Momentum Energy ?
Origin Energy 6c, 12¢
Powerdirect 6¢, 8¢
Powershop 8.2¢
Red Energy
Sanctuary Energy ?
Simply Energy 6.2¢

*This table was last updated on 16 February 2017

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South Australia


At the moment, the mandatory minimum feed-in tariff rate in South Australia is 68¢/kWh (‘retailer contribution‘). Some retailers nevertheless offer more than others.

All of the offers listed below can be found using the EnergyMadeEasy.gov.au comparator, which allows electricity & gas customers to easily compare offers from the retailers who operate in their region. Make sure to tick the box for ‘Offers available to solar customers’.

Retailer Tariff payable to new solar customers (¢/kWh)*
AGL 6.8¢
Alinta Energy 6.8¢
Click Energy 8, 12¢
Commander Power & Gas 7¢, 8¢
Diamond Energy
Dodo Power & Gas
EnergyAustralia 8.2¢
Lumo Energy (SA) 6.8¢, 7¢
Momentum Energy 6.8¢
Origin Energy 6.8¢, 10¢, 12¢
Powerdirect 6.8¢, 8¢
Sanctuary Energy 6.8¢
Simply Energy 6.8¢

*This table was last updated on 16 February 2017

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Western Australia

At the moment, the mandatory minimum feed-in tariff rate for the Perth region of Western Australia is set by local network company Synergy. There is no retail electricity competition in the state, so all rates are set by the relevant regional utilities in conjunction with their government regulators.

If you are a resident of the regional Horizon Power network, the mandatory minimum that you will receive for exported solar power will depend on where you are. Horizon offers between 10¢/kWh and 50¢/kWh for exported solar power depending on the town and whether local solar capacity quotas have been reached already. A full list of the rates can be found here. Also note that in some areas export control devices may be required for solar system owners.

Retailer Tariff payable to new solar customers 
(¢/kWh)
Horizon Power Depends on suburb
Synergy Energy Check with Synergy

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ACT

At the moment, there is no mandatory minimum feed-in tariff rate in the ACT. Instead, individual electricity retailers assign a value to exported solar power as they see fit.

Below is a list of the electricity retailers who do offer some compensation for exported solar power. Retailers not listed below do not offer a payment for exported solar. Keep in mind that there may be some additional fees associated with changing electricity meters–check with your retailer/network company.

All of the offers listed below can be found using the EnergyMadeEasy.gov.au comparator, which allows electricity & gas customers to easily compare offers from the retailers who operate in their region. Make sure to tick the box for ‘Offers available to solar customers’.

Retailer Tariff payable to new solar customers (¢/kWh)*
ActewAGL 6¢, 7.5¢
Energy Australia ?
Origin Energy
Simply Energy 5.5¢

*This table was last updated on 16 February 2017

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Northern Territory

Rates depend on your electricity retailer, but are not clearly listed in a comparator site. A list of retailers operating in the region can be found here.

Retailer Tariff payable to new solar customers
(¢/kWh)*
NT Power and Water Authority Refer to Power and Water FAQ page

*This table was last updated on 11 October 2016

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Tasmania

Tasmania’s only electricity utility, Aurora Energy, offers a set feed-in tariff rate which is updated annually. The current rate can be found on the Tasmanian Energy Regulator’s website.

Retailer Tariff payable to new solar customers
(cents per kWh)
Aurora Energy 6.671¢

*This table was last updated on 16 February 2017

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© 2017 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Ray Casey June 20, 2017 at 1:32 pm

The feed in tariff available today is not enough to pay for the servicing of panels, damage or breakage by hail etc that should accumulate over time. The only ones making money out of it are the retailers getting your power for 6 cents and reselling to others at 24 cents or more. I suggest everyone with solar turn them off on a defined day and let the retailers of electricity have to buy the spot price from the grid maybe up to 40 cents a Kw and then a realistic price will be offered!!

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Jason June 8, 2017 at 8:16 am

I too generate more than I use and am being slugged. Usage for the quarter 495 kwh, Solar fed in 666 KWh, the bill $200. That is a lot cheaper than the last rental, but those numbers are a joke!

Tonight the panels get turned off and will only be active on weekends, when it is my power for ME.

Qld, beautiful one day, covered in coal dust the next.

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Solar Choice Staff June 8, 2017 at 3:02 pm

Hi Jason,

Like you, we would love to see higher solar feed-in rates across the country – they would certainly help system owners as well as the industry as a whole! But unfortunately that’s not currently the case – although NSW and VIC governments are recommending and implementing higher rates, respectively. Hopefully QLD will follow suit…

You’re welcome to turn off your system when you’re not at home, but you’ll end up saving even less than you are now. At 8c/kWh, you’re still getting over $50 in credits for 666kWh exported – definitely not a lot but better than nothing. Also keep in mind that if you install a home energy management system you might be able to put more of the solar energy to good use even if you’re not home during the day – thus saving you more on your bill than if you were feed-in the solar into the grid.

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Ken Toseland May 22, 2017 at 8:09 pm

Hi,
I found your descriptions of feed in tarrifs most interesting particularly the part about Net and Gross methods of payment plans . You also state that most companies now offer the nett system of reward for any power generated. This rang alarm bells for me after our last bill indicated that we generated more power than we used yet we’re still slugged a hefty bill far beyond a daily service fee.I have been in touch with the I select team who compare many companies to find the best plan for me and it is border line weather it is worth changing providers. How can this be possible, I am on a Gross scheme and obviously every other scheme the I select offer were also yet you state that Net schemes are common now. Please explain
Regards Ken

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Solar Choice Staff May 23, 2017 at 9:12 am

Hi Ken,

It would be helpful to know what state you’re in, but I’m going to guess that you’re in NSW and that you still have a gross metering setup. Some background: The NSW Solar Bonus Scheme paid out 20c/kWh or 60c/kWh (depending on when you signed up), but payments for that scheme ended on 31 December 2016. Those higher rates were replaced with the current market rates detailed in this article.

If you were receiving 60c/kWh for your solar energy, it made sense to export all of it on a gross meter – doing so would save you more money by far than on a net meter. Now, however, with the lower rates, it make more sense to switch to a net meter. (Read more about gross vs net solar metering here.)

Give us a ring on 1300 78 72 73 if you have any further questions – happy to help out.

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Ken Toseland May 23, 2017 at 9:27 am

Thank you for your response, I am sorry to have troubled you with my dilemma , i live in Vic and have since contacted my provider and they have set me straight that they do use a nett system of billing. The confusion I have had is on their bill reporting method where I was under the impression that my generated figure was higher than the usage figure however I have had it explained to me that figures shown are the smart meters difference of usage against power generated. So it does appear they use a nett system as you have previously stated, thank you for your time and sorry to have bothered you with this . I do appreciate this Webb site and think it’s great to have a medium like this to turn to.
Regards Ken

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Solar Choice Staff May 24, 2017 at 8:59 am

Not a problem, Ken! Glad you managed to get it sorted and that it’s a happy ending!

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Sunil Vijaya May 3, 2017 at 5:59 pm

Who gave you a figure of 12cents for solar feed to grid in Qld? Its 6cents !

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Solar Choice Staff May 15, 2017 at 10:15 am

Hi Sunil,

Only one retailer (Origin) offers a 12c/kWh rate in QLD. They also offer a 6c/kWh rate on a different plan – we’ve just updated our list to make sure both rates are included.

In any case, as we’ve mentioned here, we recommend that anyone shopping around for electricity retailers look at more than just the feed-in tariff rate when making their decision.

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Merv April 3, 2017 at 3:15 pm

I was getting 31 cents per KWH until 31st December 2016 and now only getting 6 cents per KWH until the 11.3 cents comes in on 1st July 2017. The 31 cents was paying my entire bill. For anyone thinking of putting solar on their roof even at the 11.3 cents per KWH forget it and invest you money in a fixed deposit or put it in your super you will be far better off. Solar is no longer a viable proposition. For me to now cover my costs I would have to put about 40 odd panels on the roof. Who has that type of money and if they did they would not recoup their costs. Solar now had its day.

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Solar Choice Staff April 4, 2017 at 10:31 am

Hi Merv,

Thanks for the comment. The folks who received the premium feed-in tariffs like the one you were on paid a lot more for their systems – so they needed the high returns for going solar to make sense. These days solar is significantly more affordable than it was back then, which means that the returns don’t need to be as handsome for it to make sense. As of 2017, in most cities payback periods are still well under 5 years, and internal rate of return (IRR) is easily 20-25%, making it a very competitive investment option (check out our Solar Payback & ROI Estimator Tool.)

We should also ask if you’ve had your electricity meter switched over to a ‘net’ setup as opposed to ‘gross’. If you had your system installed under the older, generous NSW feed-in rate (I’m assuming you’re in NSW), then you were likely put on a gross meter, which sends all of your solar energy into the grid. These days, with a lower feed-in rate you’ll want to focus on self-consuming the solar energy instead (which requires a net meter). Check with your retailer for confirmation.

We hope this helps!

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Michelle March 27, 2017 at 9:36 pm

Hi, we are currently with actewagl in NSW and they only offer us $0.055kWh on our solar panels. We just received our latest bill of $389.50 and was given $13.48cr. Seriously what’s the point of having solar panels, and surely you are suppose to get better rebates then this? Think it might be time to change our electricity provider.

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Solar Choice Staff March 28, 2017 at 3:24 pm

Hi Michelle,

Thanks for the comment. We try to be very clear with people that these days solar is about self-consumption – you get the best value from a solar system by using the energy directly yourself. We hope that your installer told you the same, as promises of ‘no more energy bills’ are misleading at best and an outright lie at worst.

What solar can help you to do is reduce your energy bill significantly – especially if you’re using a good portion of the energy yourself (home energy management systems are often a cost-effective way to improve your self-consumption ratio).

If your electricity bill hasn’t come down much since you had solar installed, you might want to have it checked and ensure it’s working properly. The second thing you’ll want to investigate is how much of the solar energy you’re managing you use when it’s available.

You can have a play around with our Solar PV System Payback Estimator Tool.

Hope this helps a bit!

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IanG February 20, 2017 at 3:11 pm

Any word on what FIT Enova Energy form the Northern Rivers of NSW is offering?

Also, have you any information on home based ‘energy management systems’ to maximise self consumption in an automated way?
thanks

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Solar Choice Staff February 20, 2017 at 3:17 pm

Hi Ian,

Thanks for pointing out that Enova was missing from NSW – we’ve added them in. (We used post codes from Sydney on EnergyMadeEasy, which is why they were left out.)

We have a comparison table of energy management systems here – is that what you’re after?

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kim February 4, 2017 at 8:58 am

I live in NSW and do not see a need to fit a solar system in a hurry when energy providers are having difficulty installing smart meters especially to households with 3-phase. For the cost involved in installation, we would only end up generating energy for them, selling it to them cheaply, and buying back at a premium. I hear a lot of complaints about this at the moment. What are the authorities doing about this scam that is filling up the pockets of the energy companies?

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Solar Choice Staff February 6, 2017 at 11:20 am

Hi Kim,

Unfortunately retailers put very little value on exported solar energy, and although there are pushes for this to be changed, it’s highly unlikely that solar feed-in rates will ever end up matching or higher than retail electricity rates. In a nutshell, this means that solar system owners get the most value out of their solar by self-consuming it – using it themselves. A side bonus of home solar self-consumption is that there is no solar energy going to electricity retailers in the end.

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mortimer October 18, 2016 at 9:06 pm

just want to ask is it right that sum energy companies give your solar energy a money value first and then subtract it in money from your consumption instead of energy from energy because with the change in the solar buy back they gain quite a bit more eg,100kwh at .22cents which is what we pay is $22.00 but we get .05cents for what we produce which is $5.00 to be fair i have changed companies but am still a bit pissed off with this

Reply

Solar Choice Staff October 19, 2016 at 1:17 pm

Hi Mortimer. The way to save the most money with solar on a low solar feed-in tariff is to focus on solar self-consumption – basically, using your solar energy as it is produced. Your electricity retailer will not ‘count’ the units of energy that you self-consume – depending on your metering setup, all they see is what you end up drawing from the grid to meet your needs and how much solar you put into the grid. Using more of your solar energy means less energy that you need to purchase from the grid/your electricity retailer.

If you’re in NSW and your Solar Bonus Scheme benefits are about to run out, you can read about your options here.

Hope this helps. Let us know if you have any other questions on the topic.

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Jimfox October 15, 2016 at 2:49 pm

G’day,
Here’s a basic scenario. My holiday house, Sth of Ulladulla, has a 4.0kw system with net meters. & 6c FIT.
The house was not used for the whole quarter, with only 2 ‘fridges turned down to low using power.
Usage, 92 days:- 159kw @ 23.43c/kw = $37.25
Feed in:- 1161 @ 6c/kw = $69.66
The Killer, System Access Charge:- 92 days @ 78.50c/per day = $72.22
Total bill with GST = $51.48, ( less pay on time disc.)
Yes, not much, but i won’t be installing batteries any time soon.
The killer is the Supply charge … Which will continue to rise.
Cheers.

Reply

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