A beginners guide to solar feed-in tariffs
What are solar feed-in tariffs and what is the average in your state?
Deciding whether to install a solar panel set-up involves a lot of cost balancing. Fortunately, when you generate your own renewable power, you'll likely be eligible for something known as a feed-in tariff (FiT) or a power buyback. We explain what this is and how it can help alleviate your woes when it comes time to pay your power bills.
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What is a feed-in tariff?
A feed-in tariff is a rebate offered to people who produce their own renewable energy at home and feed it back into the power grid.
You could be eligible for this rebate if your house or business has any small renewable energy generators like wind turbines or solar panels.
When do you get paid?
The rebates apply when you feed excess power into the grid measured in kilowatt hours (kWh) — not the total power you produce. For example, if you produce 20 kWh and use 15, you will only receive the FiT for the 5 kWh left over.
Best feed-in tariffs in Australia?
Feed-in tariff rebates are measured in the number of cents you receive back per kWh, with typical values ranging between 6-30c/kWh. The rate you receive depends on what state you're in, which electricity retailer you're buying power from and the size of your solar set-up.
Keep in mind that FiT schemes are limited in a couple of ways. All states have an upper limit on the size of the system they can easily accommodate on their distribution network, typically around 10kW for single-phase or 30 kW for three-phase power.
|Victoria||Dodo Power & Gas||12.0c|
|New South Wales||AGL||10.2c|
|New South Wales||Click Energy||10.0c|
|New South Wales||Covau||8.5c|
|New South Wales||Dodo Power & Gas||11.6c|
|New South Wales||Energy Australia||12.5c|
|New South Wales||Lumo Energy||11.1c|
|New South Wales||Momentum Energy||7.0c|
|New South Wales||Origin Energy||8.0c|
|New South Wales||Power Direct||10.2c|
|New South Wales||Powershop||10.2c|
|New South Wales||Qenergy||8.0c|
|New South Wales||Red Energy||10.2c|
|Queensland||Dodo Power & Gas||8.5c|
|South Australia||Commander Energy||11.6c|
|South Australia||Energy Australia||15.0c|
|South Australia||Lumo Energy||15.0c|
|South Australia||Momentum Energy||6.8c|
|South Australia||Origin Energy||10.0c|
|South Australia||Pacific Hydro||12.8c|
|South Australia||Power Direct||14.2c|
|South Australia||Red Energy||14.2c|
|South Australia||Simply Energy||15.0c|
|Western Australia||Horizon Power||7.1c (Varies with location)|
|Tasmania||ERM Business Energy||8.9c|
|Australian Capital Territory||Actew AGL||8.0c|
|Australian Capital Territory||Energy Australia||8.0c|
|Australian Capital Territory||Origin Energy||8.0c|
|Australian Capital Territory||Power Direct||6.0c|
|Australian Capital Territory||Red Energy||8.0c|
|Northern Territory||Jacana Energy||23.8c|
Source: Solar Calculator. Solar Feed-in Tariffs may vary based on your location and are subject to change over time. Make sure you check with your retailer.
Must read: Higher feed-in tariffs? Check the usage rates.
Retailers with higher FiT rates may have increased electricity usage rates to match, meaning your overall power bill may hardly shift if your solar set-up isn't large enough.
State by state tariff rules
The following table outlines the FiT schemes in place in Australia, which are mostly comparable between states. The only exception to the "net" power schemes available everywhere else is the city of Darwin in the NT, which uses a "gross" power tariff scheme instead.
|State||Tariff schemes available||Rate paid||Max size of set-up|
Can renters benefit from feed-in tariffs?
The answer to this is yes — unless their lease states otherwise. When you are renting a property with its own solar panels, your power bills will benefit from the FiT in the same way as if you owned the property.
If you're living in a townhouse or other property that's part of a complex, you'll need to have your own power meter installed so that your usage and power fed back into the grid can be separated from the other residents. Some landlords will offer leases that specify tenants can't benefit from feed-in tariffs, so read your rental agreement carefully to see if this is the case.
What is a premium solar feed-in tariff?
Premium feed-in tariffs were offered to some people installing solar energy between the years of 2007 and 2011. Premium rates are much higher than current FiT rates, often up around 40c/kWh, but they can no longer be obtained.
The only people with access to these higher rates are those who signed up with these rates when they were offered, still use the house they installed the panels in as their primary residence and have not upgraded their solar array since. You may also be able to access premium rates if you move into a residence where premium rates have been preserved.
Time varying feed-in tariffs
Some states allow for time-varying FiT, which will change depending on whether you're feeding power in at peak or off-peak periods. Check if you have access to one of these and can benefit from feeding power into the grid at times of peak usage (usually weekdays between 7am and 7pm).
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