Queensland solar feed-in tariffs on the decline

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The bill credits Queenslanders receive for exporting solar power to the grid are on the decline, Canstar Blue research shows.

Over the last 12 months, average feed-in tariff rates in the south-east of the Sunshine State have dropped by 0.4%, while the government-mandated feed-in tariff in regional areas of the state has also been reduced.

Meanwhile average feed-in tariffs have increased marginally in other parts of the country.

A feed-in tariff or (FiT) is a rate payable to customers who help relieve pressure on the electricity grid by exporting leftover energy through their solar PV system.

Canstar Blue’s data shows the average solar feed-in tariff in south-east Queensland has slipped from 10.68 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) in August 2018 to 10.23c/kWh in August 2019.

“While the drop may not seem like much, any decrease has a direct impact on customers who rely on solar rebates to save on increasing energy costs,” said Canstar Blue Editor-in-Chief Simon Downes.

“Queenslanders have had it good with solar rates in the past, but it looks like these days are over,” Mr Downes said. “While households that installed solar under the Solar Bonus Scheme continue to benefit from hugely generous rates, the incentive for new customers to get on board with solar are far less appealing when the feed-in rates being offered are modest in comparison.

“Installing solar is still a sound financial investment and of course a positive step in contributing to the country’s renewable energy generation, but attractive rebates through exported solar are not the main drawcard anymore.”

Out of 48 retail offers analysed, south-east Queenslanders have experienced an average 0.46 cent decrease in feed-in rates, while those in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia have seen slight increases.

The highest feed-in tariff currently available to new solar customers in south-east Queensland is 20 cents per kWh. This compares to the 44c per kilowatt hour provided under the state’s Solar Bonus Scheme which was recently extended until July 2028. The scheme is now closed to new customers installing solar.

For customers in regional Queensland, the news isn’t any better as the regulated feed-in tariff has dropped more than 15 per cent, from 9.369c/kWh to 7.842c/kWh.

According to Ergon Energy, the FiT decrease reflects a reduction in wholesale energy costs, which for a typical household on Tariff 11 will result in an annual saving of around $62.

What are the best solar deals in QLD?

Here is a list of the highest solar tariffs currently available in south-east Queensland.

Energy Provider Product Feed-in Tariff Usage Rate Supply Charge
AGL Solar Savers 15c/kWh 25.66c/kWh 106.7c/day
Amaysim Energy Solar As You Go 14c/kWh 25.84c/kWh 110.92c/day
DC Power Co Market Offer 15c/kWh 30.53c/kWh 101.06c/day
Energy Locals Local Saver 16c/kWh 24c/kWh 73c/day
EnergyAustralia Total Plan Home 16.1c/kWh 26.27c/kWh 99c/day
Mojo Power Mojo Energy Pass 20c/kWh 24.85c/kWh 193.92c/day
Origin Energy Solar Boost Plus 20c/kWh 24.92c/kWh 116.06c/day
Red Energy Easy Saver 11.5-17c/kWh 25.04c/kWh 114.40c/day

The above solar products are single rate tariff plans. Terms and conditions apply to these products. Information accurate as of August 2019. Use our comparison tool for a specific quote in your area.

Be extra careful when choosing a solar-specific energy plan as some retailers hide inflated usage and supply rates behind an attractive feed-in tariff, Mr Downes explained.

“Regardless of how high solar feed-in tariffs can be, the rebates will be virtually pointless if the base rates of an energy plan are exorbitant,” said Mr Downes. “Solar customers need to have a good idea of their energy usage requirements and how much energy they are likely to export to the grid to find the right deal for them. It could be that opting for a lower feed-in tariff leaves households better off overall if they pay less for the energy they buy.”

Image credits: Federico Rostagno/Shutterstock.com

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