A comparison of solar feed-in tariffs

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With some solar bonus schemes and installation rebates drawing to a close in recent years, many Aussies have begun to consider whether solar is still a good investment.

The short answer is yes – solar is still a great way for Australian households to save on electricity – but only if you know how to find a good deal.

Most electricity retailers these days offer competitive feed-in tariffs as part of their standard product range. Some even have products specifically designed for customers with solar panels. Solar products are slightly different to standard electricity deals. While you are still charged for electricity usage and supply, you will also receive something called a feed-in tariff. In this article, Canstar Blue explains and compares feed-in tariffs across leading Australian retailers. We also look at what else customers should consider to find the best solar deal.

Feed-in Tariffs

feed-in-tariff-picture

A feed in tariff (FiT) is a small credit rebate that households receive for any excess electricity produced by a solar system or other small-scale generator. Simply put, unless you have a solar battery, any solar power produced by solar panels must be immediately used or it will feed into the shared electricity grid for other properties to use. For each kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity that a household’s solar system exports to the electricity grid, that property will receive a feed-in tariff of a few cents, usually between 7 and 16 cents per kWh. Feed-in tariffs are not paid out cash in hand, rather they apply as a deduction on your regular bill. A high feed-in tariff can help drastically reduce what you pay for electricity, that’s why it’s so important to shop around for solar deals.

Solar Plans with Feed-in Tariffs

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4600kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. This table may include products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. This table may include products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. This table may include products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on SA Power network in Adelaide but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. This table may include products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

List of feed-in tariffs in Australia

Feed-in tariffs vary markedly across states and retailers. Below is a state-by-state breakdown of the largest feed-in tariffs offered by retailers in QLD, VIC, NSW, SA, ACT, Tasmania and WA at the time of publication.

Queensland Solar Feed-in Tariffs

Retailer Minimum Feed-in Tariff (kWh) Maximum Feed-in Tariff (kWh)
AGL 8.6c 17c
Alinta Energy 11c 11c
Amaysim Energy 0c 14c
Click Energy 8c 12c
DC Power Co 15c 15c
Diamond Energy 12c 12c
Dodo Power & Gas 8.5c 8.5c
Elysian Energy 7.9c 7.9c
EnergyAustralia 11.5c 11.5c
Energy Locals 10c 16c
Ergon Energy 7.842c 7.842c
Future X Power 7c 7c
LPE 10c 10c
Mojo Power 0c 10c
Origin Energy 7c 19c
Powerclub 0c 8.5c
Powerdirect 8.6c 8.6c
Powershop 9.5c 9.5c
QEnergy 8c 8c
ReAmped Energy 8c 8c
Red Energy 6c 16.1c
Simply Energy 10c 10c
1st Energy 6c 6c

Source: Canstar Blue electricity database/respective retailer websites, January 2020.

Aside from Ergon Energy, all Queensland retailers have free reign to set their own feed-in tariffs. Those with solar specific deals tend to offer higher rates.

Victoria Solar Feed-in Tariffs

Retailer Minimum Feed-in Tariff (kWh) Maximum Feed-in Tariff (kWh)
AGL 12c 12c
Alinta Energy 12c 12c
Amaysim Energy 12c 13c
Click Energy 12c 13c
Commander 12c 12c
CovaU 12c 12c
DC Power Co 15c 15c
Diamond Energy 12c 12c
Dodo Power & Gas 12c 12c
Elysian Energy 12c 12c
Energy Locals 12c 12c
EnergyAustralia 12c 12c
GloBird Energy 12c 12c
Kogan Energy 12c 12c
Lumo Energy 12c 12c
Momentum Energy 12c 13.5c
Origin Energy 12c 15c
People Energy 12c 12c
Powerdirect 12c 12c
Powerclub 12c 12c
Powershop 12c 12c
QEnergy 12c 12c
Red Energy 12c 12c
Simply Energy 12c 12c
Sumo Power 12c 12c
Tango Energy 12c 12c
1st Energy 12c 12c

Source: Canstar Blue electricity database/respective retailer websites, January 2020.

Victoria is the only state to impose a legal minimum feed-in tariff on a competitive energy market. As of July 2019, the minimum FiT is 12c. As you can see, some retailers simply offer the bare minimum, but there are some solar specific products with much higher rates. The introduction of the minimum flat-rate FiT was accompanied by the introduction of time-varying FiTs. Under new laws, all retailers must offer either a single rate FiT, time-varying FiT, or both.

NSW Solar Feed-in Tariffs

Retailer Minimum Feed-in Tariff (kWh) Maximum Feed-in Tariff (kWh)
ActewAGL 11c 11c
AGL 10.2c 21c
Alinta Energy 7.5c 7.5c
Amaysim Energy 15c 15c
Amber Electric 8c 8c
Click Energy 10c 14c
Commander 11.6c 11.6c
CovaU 8.5c 8.5c
DC Power Co 15c 15c
Diamond Energy 12c 12c
Discover Energy 6c 11.5c
Dodo Power & Gas 11.6c 11.6c
Elysian Energy 8.4c 8.4c
EnergyAustralia 10.5c 10.5c
Energy Locals 11c 16c
Enova Energy 9c 16c
Future X Power 7c 7c
Globird Energy 8c 12c
Kogan Energy 6.7c 6.7c
Mojo Power 10c 10c
Momentum Energy 7c 7c
Origin Energy 8c 21c
Ovo Energy 0c 0c
Pooled Energy 8c 8c
Powerdirect 10.2c 10.2c
Powershop 10.2c 10.2c
Powerclub 10c 10c
QEnergy 8c 8c
ReAmped Energy 8c 8c
Red Energy 10.2c 10.2c
Simply Energy 8c 8c
Sumo Power 11.1c 11.1c
1st Energy 6c 6c

Source: Canstar Blue electricity database/respective retailer websites, January 2020.

The NSW regulator recommends a feed-in tariff of at least 6.9c/kWh, however as you can see, most retailers exceed this suggestion. Most of the better-known retailers in the state do not have any specialised solar products, while the few companies that do often have much higher feed-in rates than their competitors.

South Australia Solar Feed-in Tariffs

Retailer Minimum Feed-in Tariff (kWh) Maximum Feed-in Tariff (kWh)
AGL 14.2c 18c
Alinta Energy 9.5c 9.5c
Amaysim Energy 0c 22c
Click Energy 10c 17c
Commander 11.6c 11.6c
Diamond Energy 0c 12c
Dodo Power & Gas 11.6c 11.6c
EnergyAustralia 11.5c 11.5c
Energy Locals 15.5c 16c
GloBird Energy 8c 8c
Kogan Energy 7.03c 7.03c
Lumo Energy 15c 16c
Momentum Energy 6.8c 6.8c
Origin Energy 10c 23c
Powerclub 0c 11.5c
Powerdirect 14.2c 14.2c
Powershop 0c 10.2c
QEnergy 8c 8c
Red Energy 14.2c 16c
Simply Energy 15c 15c

Source: Canstar Blue electricity database/respective retailer websites, January 2020.

South Australia has had quite a surge in feed-in tariff rates recently. Most retailers now offer FiTs upward of 15c/kWh, although it seems some didn’t get the memo.

ACT Solar Feed-in Tariffs

Retailer Minimum Feed-in Tariff (kWh) Maximum Feed-in Tariff (kWh)
ActewAGL 8c 11c
EnergyAustralia 10.5c 10.5c
Energy Locals 10c 16c
Origin Energy 8c 8c
Powerclub 0c 10c
Red Energy 0c 0c

Source: Canstar Blue electricity database/respective retailer websites, Jan 2020.

Tasmania Solar Feed-in Tariffs

Retailer Minimum Feed-in Tariff (kWh) Maximum Feed-in Tariff (kWh)
Aurora Energy 9.35c 9.35c
1st Energy 9.35c 14.35c

Source: Canstar Blue electricity database/respective retailer websites, January 2020.

The newly-competitive Tasmanian energy market now gives households a second retailer to consider in the form of 1st Energy, and it’s come to the table with a compelling offer for solar customers.

WA Solar Feed-in Tariffs

Retailer Minimum Feed-in Tariff (kWh) Maximum Feed-in Tariff (kWh)
Synergy 7.1c 7.1c
Horizon Power 7.1c 7.1c

Source: Canstar Blue electricity database/respective retailer websites, January 2020.

If you live in Western Australia you unfortunately have no choice of electricity retailer, with Synergy and Horizon Power covering metro and regional areas respectively.

Can I receive a premium solar feed in tariff?

You may have heard about feed-in tariffs as high as 60c/kWh. Sounds nice right? Unfortunately, these premium solar feed-in tariffs are only available to homeowners who installed and registered their solar systems many years ago – generally before 2011, depending on the state. This means you are not eligible for a premium tariff if you’ve only installed solar in the past few years, or plan to do so shortly. Unfortunately, there’s no sign of any new solar bonus schemes in the near future.

Queenslanders and South Australians who signed up to a solar bonus scheme before they closed will continue to receive a premium tariff until 2028. Victorian bonus scheme customers will also receive their premium FiT until 2024. Unfortunately for New South Wales solar bonus customers, the scheme came to its scheduled conclusion at the end of 2016 and all customers were reverted to a standard rate.

Should I choose a larger discount or higher FiT?

Some retailers, most notably Click Energy, have multiple offers for customers with solar panels. Its range of products might include a deal with a high feed-in tariff and low discount, a deal with a low feed-in tariff and high discount, and sometimes, an offer somewhere in between.

So which should you choose, the better FiT or larger discount? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t clear and it will depend on your personal circumstance. Consider the following points.

Consider choosing the higher FiT if…

  • You have a large solar system (5kW or more)
  • A lot of solar is exported to the grid from your house because no one is home during the day to use it
  • There are conditions attached to receiving the discount which you’re not sure you can meet

Consider choosing the higher discount if…

  • You have a small solar system (less than 5kW)
  • You use most of your solar power through the day and export very little to the grid
  • You own a solar storage battery

Solar monitoring technology can give you insights into your electricity usage habits and help you make a better informed decision about which plan is best suited for your home.

Further reading:

How to find a good deal on solar

money and solar panel puzzle pieces

A large feed-in tariff is definitely nice, but you shouldn’t just assume a bigger feed-in tariff means it’s a better deal. You should always look at the energy price fact sheets when comparing electricity products. Keep an eye out for ‘solar metering charges’. These are daily supply charges that certain retailers apply to solar customers. It’s also not uncommon to find solar products with large feed-in tariffs charging higher electricity usage or supply rates, so you need to consider if the trade-off is worth it.

If you have a large solar system, say 5kW or over, then you will most likely be better off on a deal that provides a high feed-in tariff, even if it means slightly higher electricity usage rates. A bigger feed-in tariff may also be attractive for households that are hardly home during the working day to use their solar power and consequently have most of it exported to the energy grid. Conversely, customers with small solar systems or a storage battery probably won’t export much solar to the grid and should focus on cheap electricity rates over feed in tariffs. The same applies if you’re home during the day and tend to use up all your solar power.

Now, while rates are important, so is customer service. If you truly want to make the most from your investment in solar, you need an energy retailer that will help you at every step of the process. To see which solar energy companies are meeting customer expectations, check out Canstar Blue’s solar provider customer satisfaction ratings via the link below.

Compare Solar Providers

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