New South Wales solar feed-in tariff to drop by 44%

The New South Wales solar feed-in tariff is set to drop by 44% after IPART, the state pricing regulator, confirmed previously drafted cuts to the state’s feed-in tariff benchmark for 2018/19.

New South Wales solar feed-in tariff

New South Wales solar feed-in tariff IPART
Click to view New South Wales solar feed-in tariff changes via IPART (source: IPART.NSW.GOV.AU)

The regulator, IPART (Independent Pricing and Regulator Tribunal for NSW) advised in May that they will be recommending heavy drops in the tariff with the release of a draft publication entitled ‘Solar feed-in tariffs: the value of electricity from small-scale solar panels in 2018-19. 

It looks like the solar feed-in tariff drops will be going ahead – so let’s take a look at what this means for people with solar, and people without:

As per Renew Economy, IPART justified their slashing of the prices in advising that all customers would be affected if they didn’t act.

“We set the benchmark range based on our forecast of the average price that retailers would pay for solar exports across the day (weighted by solar output) if they were buying this electricity on the wholesale spot market,” the report, released yesterday, said.

“We consider that this is reasonable, and that a higher benchmark would lead to unacceptable outcomes.

“Specifically, if retailers were required to pay more than this for solar exports, they would be paying more than they pay for wholesale electricity on the NEM.

“As a result, retail prices for all customers would need to be higher to recover the difference,” the report continued.

Those who have already invested in solar are a little less magnanimous about the changes – with Shani Tager from Solar Citizens conveying her opinon via email to RenewEconomy: 

“The decision to cut the feed-in tariff punishes solar owners, it’s like getting a pay cut for working overtime,”

That particular analogy might be a bit of a stretch but it’s interesting IPART aaren’t considering the ‘social price’ of carbon like Victoria are currently doing. This has raised the ire of the Greens as well:

“If the NSW government are serious about supporting renewable energy then they should be change the criteria to assess solar feed-in tariffs to recognise the multitude of benefits solar energy brings,” Greens MP Tamara Smith said.

To sign off, IPART gave us a hint of things to come and how they plan to deal with the situation in the future:

“We consider that solar customers should be treated like any other generator in the competitive electricity market, which means that they take or pay the market price – and are not otherwise compensated or penalised for their impact on these prices,” the report said.

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NSW solar feed-in tariff halved for 18/19.

The NSW solar feed-in tariff is set to halve in 2018/19 as the New South Wales regulator (IPART) has flagged changes to its price guide, citing lower wholesale prices as the main catalyst.

NSW solar feed-in tariff

NSW Solar feed-in tariff 2018
NSW Solar feed-in tariff 2018 (source: ipart.nsw.gov.au)

IPART (Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal for NSW) released a draft publication entitled ‘Solar feed-in tariffs: the value of electricity from small-scale solar panels in 2018-19‘ on Tuesday. It sets the benchmark for exported solar back into the grid for 7.5c/kW rather than the 11.9-15c/kWh range we saw in 2016/17.

It’s important to note that this is merely a benchmark and supply/demand will continue to define how much solar export it worth. With the wholesale prices currently falling and tipped to continue in 2018/19, it makes sense to see the FiTs adjusted accordingly.

IPART justified their decisions by explaining retail prices would rise if they didn’t slow down the FiT given the rapidly sinking wholesale prices (the most recent forward contract wholesale price from the ASX is 7.4c/kWh):

“We set the draft benchmark for the all-day solar feed-in tariffs based on our forecast of the average price that retailers would pay for solar exports across the day (weighted by solar output) if they were buying them on the wholesale market,” the report advises.

“For 2018-19, our draft all-day benchmark is 7.5c/kWh. We consider this benchmark is reasonable, and that setting a higher benchmark would lead to unacceptable outcomes.

“In particular, if retailers were required to pay more for these solar exports than they would pay for wholesale electricity on the NEM, retail prices for all customers would need to be higher to recover the difference,” the IPART report continues.

We’ve written previously about the NSW solar tariffs with regards to retail purchase or electricity – there’s a large disparity between offers and we expect that to continue. Whether you are feeding back into the grid or not, it’s important to be across the solar deals so you’re getting maximum return from your investment / paying as little as possible for your electricity.

Any questions? Please ask below!

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Solar Citizens call for 10-18c/kWh for rooftop solar

Solar Citizens, a “people-powered movement bringing together millions of solar owners and supporters to grow and protect solar in Australia”, has penned an article calling for a fair price for solar, advising that a reasonable cost is between 10-18c/kWh for PV rooftop solar feeding back into the grid via an FiT (feed-in tariff). Today we’ll take a look at what Solar Citizens think is a fair range for those helping shore up the grid and which states are coming to the table with regards to this range.

About Solar Citizens

Solar Citizens
Solar Citizens (source: solarcitizens.org.au)

The report, entitled “A fair price for rooftop solar“, is part of the “fair value for distributed generation project” created by Solar Citizens. Solar Citizens are, as per their website, an ‘independent, community-based organisation bringing together millions of solar owners and supporters to grow and protect solar in Australia’.

The report delves into detail about the current FiT situation in Australia (it’s currently set state to state) and notes that the total ‘value’ per kWh should be anywhere from 10.6-18.2c. This is as a direct result of the wholesale price of electricity skyrocketing over the past 18 months and, although FiTs have increased as a result, many states aren’t reaching the 10.6c/kWh mark or are only just there.

Solar Feed-In Tariff State Comparison

On January 1, 2017, many Solar Bonus Schemes ended and feed-in tariffs were substantially affected for those not on a grandfathered plan. What does this mean for the future of solar power in Australia? You can read an article on the Solar Citizens website entitled ‘Life After Feed-In Tariffs‘ which is very helpful.

Additionally, there have been myriad changes in July 2017 as the retailers update their pricing – while we’ll try to keep this list updated please double check with the retailers to get their most recent pricing options.

Regional Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania have regulated minimum tariffs – see those prices below and then we’ll compare them with the ‘market-set’ tariffs to see if the system is working. All prices are ex GST unless noted.

Regional Queensland

  • For the 2016-17 year, the regional feed-in tariff was 7.448 cents per kilowatt hour.
  • For the 2017-18 year, the regional feed-in tariff is 10.102 cents per kilowatt hour.

Victoria

  • For the 2016-17 year, the Victorian feed-in tariff was 5.0 cents per kilowatt hour.
  • For the 2017-18 year, the Victorian feed-in tariff is 11.3 cents per kilowatt hour.

Tasmania

  • For the 2016-17 year, the regional feed-in tariff was 6.671 cents per kilowatt hour.
  • For the 2017-18 year, the regional feed-in tariff is 8.929 cents per kilowatt hour.

South Australia, New South Wales, The Australian Capital Territory and South-East Queensland don’t currently have a regulated FiT; the government and regulators argue that the market will dictate these terms. Let’s have a look at how well it’s working:

South Australia

New South Wales

IPART (Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal) advised in June 2017 that a ‘fair and reasonable’ value is between 11.9 – 15c / kWh. 

  • AGL offer 11.1c cents per kilowatt hour.
  • Lumo Energy offer 11.1 cents per kilowatt hour (effective July 25, 2017).
  • Energy Australia offer 12.5 cents per kilowatt hour.

ACT

  • Origin Energy offer between 9.0 and 17.0 cents per kilowatt hour.
  • Energy Australia offer 15.0 cents per kilowatt hour.
  • ActewAGL offer 11.0 cents per kilowatt hour.
  • Powerdirect offer 6.1 cents per kilowatt hour.

South-East Queensland

How to compare Feed-In Tariffs

The Australian Government have created a website, Energy Made Easy, where you’re able to compare energy offers from gas and electricity retailers. Click here to visit.

Do you have any information or questions about FiTs or do any of our prices need updating? Please leave a comment below and we’ll fix it up.

Want to shop around and don’t want to use the Energy Made Easy website? Here’s a list of the Energy retailers in Australia and their phone numbers:

Energy Retailer Phone Numbers

ActewAGL 131 293
AGL 131 245
Alinta Energy 133 702
Aurora Energy 1300 132 003
BlueNRG 1300 599 888
Click Energy 1800 775 929
CovaU 1300 026 828
Diamond Energy 1300 838 009
Dodo Power and Gas 133 636
EnergyAustralia 133 466
Energy Locals 1300 693 637
Ergon Energy 131 046
ERM Business Energy 134 376
Lumo Energy 1300 115 866
Momentum Energy 1300 662 778
Next Business Energy 1300 466 398
Origin Energy 132 461
Pacfic Hydro Retail 1800 010 648
Pooled Energy 1300 364 703
PowerDirect 1300 307 996
Powershop 1800 462 668
QEnergy 1300 448 535
Red Energy 131 806
Sanctuary Energy 1800 109 099
Simply Energy 138 808
WINenergy 1300 791 970

 

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