Good news for those looking for a higher NSW solar tariff. Yesterday the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal released a draft proposal which includes a higher tariff range of 11.6c/kWh to 14.6c/kWh for the 350,000 households in New South Wales with rooftop PV solar arrays.
NSW Solar Tariff Changes
The feed-in tariff is not compulsory in New South Wales and this has led to prices varying quite considerably, from 5c/kWh to 12c/kWh. The premium solar tariffs of 60c/kWh for early adopters ended on January 1 2017 so this comes at an opportune time, even if the prices being offered are considerably lower than the unsustainable loss-leading strategy of the premium tariffs. It is important to note that NSW energy retailers already offer tariffs above the current suggested range – AGL and Energy Australia offer 6.1c/kWh, and Origin Energy offers 6/10c/kWh depending on your plan. No word yet on how these higher ranges may affect those prices.
Don Harwin, NSW Energy minister, noted that the current lack of an feed-in tariff (FiT) means that it’s extra important to shop around: “It’s not mandatory for retailers to offer a feed-in tariff but I strongly urge retailers to offer one, and for consumers to shop around to get the best deal,” Mr Harwin said. Harwin had previously made a statement about asking IPART to update the benchmark tariff so it is good to see him following through on his word to help those exporting power back to the grid earn a fair amount per kWh. He also noted that “The tariff is not subsidised by other energy users so it won’t increase power prices” – rather, power prices have already been increasing due to more extraneous factors.
These tariff rises are as a direct result of the wholesale price of electricity rising (due in no small part to the recent closing of the Hazelwood dirty coal generator) – so it’s more incentive to take a look at the value of a solar strategy. The final tariff determination will be issued in June following consultation. Click here to view IPART’s draft report.