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!

Large scale solar in NSW to explode in 2018.

Large scale solar in NSW under the Berejiklian government is about to kick up a notch, as 11 large-scale solar energy plants have been approved in the last 12 months. 2018 is also off to a great start with the 500,000 PV solar panel, 170MW Finley Solar Project in the Riverina being approved. 

Large scale solar in NSW

Large Scale Solar in NSW
Large Scale Solar in NSW (source: smh.com.au via NSW Government)

NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin contends that NSW is helping lead the charge (for our money South Australia and Queensland are well ahead right not, but in any case) for solar power in Australia: 

“These projects will ensure our energy security and with many more in the pipeline, NSW is in a stronger position than other states,” he said.

Although NSW only has half the amount of rooftop solar PV as Queensland and South Australia (15% as opposed to 30%) – these figures are definitely a step in the right direction.

 According to Planning Minister Anthony Roberts quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald, 1800 jobs have been created and the ten solar plant approvals in 2017 were double the 2016 number: 
 
The solar plants “collectively reduce carbon emissions by over 2.5 million tonnes, which is equivalent to taking around 800,000 cars off the road”, Roberts said. 
 
Estimates from the Smart Energy Council (an amalgam of the Australian Solar Council and the Energy Storage Council which occured late last year) project that 1.4GW of rooftop solar and 2.5-3.5GW of solar farms will be added to Australia’s solar arsenal in 2018, a massive increase from the record 1.3GW for both rooftop and solar farms that we saw in 2017. 

“With some of the best sunshine anywhere in the world and lots of good locations available, it is not surprising that NSW is up there with Queensland as one of the national frontrunners for new large-scale solar power projects,” Kane Thornton, chief executive of the Clean Energy Council, said.

RES Australia propose two new solar farms in New South Wales.

RES Australia are seeking government approval for two solar farms around Mayrung, near the border of NSW and Victoria. They’ll both connect to the TransGrid 132kV – the grid for Mayrung area. The first farm, ‘Currawarra’, will be the biggest solar farm in NSW.

About the Projects

RES currently have two projects they are working on and will submit to the cancel later this year for developmental approval of the following:

Project 1: ‘Currawarra’ is a solar PV plant with 175MW of renewable energy. There will be 500,000 solar panels involved in the project and it will significantly dwarf the current largest operational solar farm in New South Wales – AGL Energy‘s 102MW Nyngan solar plant.

Project 2: ‘Tarleigh Park’ will be a smaller version of Currawarra – the plan is to generate up to 90MW with 250,000 solar panels. Tarleigh Park is approximately 20km south east of Denilquin.

Both plants will feed directly to the TransGrid.

About RES Australia

RES Australia
RES Australia

According to the project manager of Currawarra and Tarleigh Park for RES, Mike Whitbread, they are hoping to have the applications completed and submitted by September. If the applications are accepted then they plan to start creation of the projects in 2018. Currawarra will take approximately 1.5 years and the construction of Tarleigh Park is expected to be 9-12 months.

Whitbread was quoted in ShepNews.com.au about discussing the impact the projects will have on the region, especially during the construction phase:

“We recently completed the Ararat Wind Farm in Victoria and basically our workers filled the town’s accommodation during the construction phase. The workers stayed in town, ate in town and used the local facilities,” Mr Whitbread said.

RES Australia, as a subsidiary of the RES group in the UK, are already seasoned veterans in the renewable energy field, managing over 2GW in renewable energy projects over the world. They have recently completed wind farm projects in Taralga in NSW, and Ararat / Murra Warra in Victoria.