State Solar Feed-In Tariffs
State and Territory governments across Australia have adopted different approaches to what is normally referred to as a solar feed-in tariff, sometimes known as a solar bonus scheme or solar buy-back scheme.
Solar feed-in tariffs are a payment for the clean energy that your solar panels feed back into the grid. There have been many changes to feed-in tariff legislation in all states and territories over the past few years. (For an overview of the current incentives offered see our summary table below.)
Although the premium tariffs are no longer in place, low solar PV system prices mean that they are no longer as important as they once were for solar to make financial sense. Increasing electricity costs are now the main reason to invest in a solar PV system, as it offers home owners a means of taking control of their energy bills (read more about ‘solar self-consumption‘).
Available Feed-In Tariff schemes
The solar feed-in tariff schemes that are currently available in Australia – with the exception of Darwin – are ‘net’ schemes. A net feed-in tariff rewards you for each unit of solar power that you have exported to the electrical grid, in excess of what you manage to use yourself. (Darwin’s ‘gross’ feed-in tariff may as well be a net tariff because the purchase rates are the same as the feed-in rates.)
In addition to varying rates, each network has its own rules for connecting solar systems, with limits on certain system sizes. You can see an overview of these limits in our article about system size limits by electricity network, which contains a state-by-state table.
The following table summarises the current status of solar feed-in tariffs across the states and territories of Australia – it is relevant for households thinking about going solar today. For information on historic rates, please see this article.
Current solar feed-in schemes by state
|State||Current scheme(s)||Max Size||Rate Paid||Further info|
Two types of government-mandated feed-in tariff from 1 July 2018:
Households may be able to find higher rates by searching the market
|Up to 100kW||Depends on retailer, but current minimum rates start at 7c/kWh (see ‘Current Schemes’ column)||Victoria Energy Compare (Government site for comparing electricity and solar rates) Solar power info: Melbourne & Victoria|
No mandatory minimum; customers can search around for competitive rates
|10kVA – approx 10kW – per phase (most households are single phase), or 30kVA total||Depends on retailer: Currently ~7-15c/kWh||Energy Made Easy (Government site for comparing electricity and solar rates) Solar power info: Adelaide & South Australia|
|ACT||No mandatory minimum; customers can search around for competitive rates||5kW for single phase connections, 30kW for 3-phase connections|
Depends on retailer: Currently ~8-17c/kWh
|Solar power info: Canberra & the ACT|
|TAS||No mandatory minimum; customers can search around for competitive rates (but currently little competition in the state)||10kW (single phase), 30kW (three phase)||~7¢/kWh||Energy Made Easy (Government site for comparing electricity and solar rates) Solar power info: Hobart & Tasmania|
|NT||Solar Buyback scheme through PowerWater||Systems up to 5kW (single phase) and 7kW (3-phase) can be connected without inspection, buyback for systems over 30kVA will be calculated upon application||Domestic buyback rate set by PowerWater – currently about ~26c/kWh (approximately equal to retail rate)||PowerWater: Photovoltaic (PV) solar systems Solar power info: Darwin & NT|
|WA||Different programs for each of the state’s two electricity network regions (Western Power & Horizon Power)||Southwestern region (Western Power network): 10kW (single phase), 30kW (three phase) Rest of state (Horizon Power network): Limits & benefits vary dramatically by locality||Varied rates for Horizon customers (Read more) Synergy residential customers: ~7.2c/kWh||Horizon Power: Renewable energy hosting capacity by town Solar power info: Perth & WA|
No minimum feed-in tariff rate for residential customers in southeastern QLD (rates depend on retailer competition)
Mandatory minimum for regional QLD customers (determined annually)
|Energex network (southeast QLD): 5kW for single phase, 15kW for 3-phase Ergon network (regional QLD): 10kW for single phase, 30kW for 3-phase||Energex network: Depends on retailer – currently about 10-16c/kWh Ergon network: ~10c/kWh mandatory minimum||Energy Made Easy (Government site for comparing electricity and solar rates – for SE QLD) Solar power info: Brisbane & QLD|
|NSW||No mandatory minimum; customers can search around for competitive rates||Depends on network, but generally 5kW for single phase and 30kW for 3-phase||Depends on retailer: Currently about 6-16c/kWh||Energy Made Easy (Government site for comparing electricity and solar buyback rates) articles about solar power in NSW|