Grid-connected solar power systems

Want to be green and have a solar system but still have the security of the grid? Here’s your guide.

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If you’ve thought about getting solar panels installed on your home or business, but have been put off by the cost or complexity, then don’t worry. is here to bust through the complexity and tell you how to reduce the cost by selling your surplus energy back to the gird.

Selling to the grid?

That’s right, though it’s hard to believe. Most of us have spent our entire lives buying energy off the grid — but once you set up solar and start generating electricity yourself, anything you don’t use can be sold back to the grid. So it could actually be possible to earn a little money from your solar panels. Solar buy back schemes vary from provider to provider, and from state to state, so you will have to do a little more research. Why not contact a specialist energy broker on the form above to discuss your options?

Feed-in tariff

A feed-in tariff is the tariff that allows you to sell your energy back to the grid, and they come in two main types:

  • Net feed-in tariff - This tariff will pay you only for the surplus energy that you feed back to the grid, and deducts any energy that you use to power your own home. This tariff is by far the most common and is available around Australia.
  • Gross feed-in tariff - This tariff will pay you for every kilowatt hour of energy that your panels produce, regardless of how much energy you consume. These tariff are becoming increasingly rare as the popularity of solar panels make them financially difficult for providers.

Best retailers for feed-in solar

Several retailers that we have reviewed offer solar feed-in tariffs. Click on the links on the left hand side for full reviews.

  • Origin Energy
  • EnergyAustralia
  • AGL
  • Click Energy
  • Ergon Energy
  • Sanctuary Energy
  • Lumo Energy
  • Alinta Energy
  • Diamond Energy
  • Aurora Energy
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How much will this system cost?

This will depend on your package and the type of solar system that you wish to install, but the good news is that solar costs are dropping all the time. In fact, many sources quote that the cost of installing solar has dropped by as much as 50% in the last 10 years. To give you a very rough idea though, here are the estimated average costs for current solar systems.

System sizeAverage cost

For a guideline on this, most standard size homes with multiple occupants will require a system between 3kW and 5kW, though you should talk to an energy supplier for a more detailed quote based on your home.

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Is feed-in tariff income taxable?

Any income or credits received from your feed-in tariff are generally not taxable, as the system is deemed as for personal use and has not been installed with the purpose of making a profit. However, this may change if your panels are on commercial premises. Check with your provider or tax specialist who will provide you with accurate information depending on your circumstance.

Do I pay GST on feed-in income?

Again, generally speaking, you do not need to pay GST on your feed-in tariff income, provided your income is less than $75,000 per year. This will be different for businesses though, who may need to pay GST.

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Home battery storage

Another solar feature you might have heard of recently is the solar battery. This became highly publicised when the charismatic CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk, announced a Tesla home battery in May of this year. Since then the topic has picked up speed and has been hailed as the future of home energy generation. They’re early days yet though, and there are still very few providers who offer this kind of technology. If you’re interested in knowing more, though, click the link below to see the battle of the batteries.

Click here for our preview of Tesla Powerwall vs AGL Power Advantage.

Planning ahead

Sadly, in the future it seems that traditional energy prices will continue to rise, and this will impact business in many ways. No one can guarantee that having solar panels installed will insulate your business from expense, but it is important to know that there are other ways of doing things. If you’re tired of being at the mercy of national energy companies and want to take matters into your own hands and make a little extra along the way, then maybe you should think about solar.

It’s worth talking to a specialist energy consultant about your situation, seeing what you might stand to gain from making the switch.

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