Millions of solar panels are installed on Australian rooftops every year, but where should you look if you’re after panels for your own place? Chances are that you have heard of AGL – one of Australia’s largest energy companies. AGL provides electricity and natural gas to nearly four million customers nationwide. It also helps customers get started with solar and offers special deals to help households make the most out of their investment.
So, if you’re in the market for solar, Canstar Blue has put together this guide on AGL. We’ll look at solar installation, feed-in tariffs, rebates and deals available for its solar customers to help you make an informed decision about whether AGL is the best solar retailer for your needs – both today, and in the future.
In addition to being one of Australia’s biggest electricity retailers, AGL is a major installer of solar systems. Previously, it provided a comprehensive service to both residential and business customers that included planning, installation and post-installation retail services. In 2018 however, AGL formally ended its residential solar installation business.
While AGL is no longer directly responsible for selling and installing solar panels, the company says it continues to help customers get started with solar through third-party partners, which AGL says are experts in PV solar. If AGL is unable to assist, then there is a plethora of other installers on the market that can help you out. If you’re new to solar, and not sure what to look out for, be sure to check out our solar panels buying guide.
After you’re all set up with solar, AGL can help you get the most out of your solar system through special solar deals and feed-in tariffs (FiT). Feed-in tariffs are a form of rebate whereby customers are compensated a few cents for every unused kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity exported to the energy grid.
AGL Business Solar
Although AGL no longer provides installation services for households, it continues to do so for businesses large and small. AGL provides tailored solar and battery solutions which it claims are hassle-free and minimise the interruption to your business. AGL provides an end-to-end service that covers everything from planning to post-installation support. Businesses can also receive access to live usage monitoring so they can see how they’re using power and where they can save.
AGL customers can pay for their solar upfront, through a finance plan, via their AGL electricity bill, or using the AGL Solar Smart Plan.
AGL Solar Smart Plan
Businesses that want solar with AGL but can’t afford the upfront installation cost can sign up to the AGL Solar Smart Plan. The Solar Smart Plan is a form of Power Purchase Arrangement whereby AGL will install solar panels at your business for no upfront cost. Instead, the business purchases the energy produced by the system for the life of the contract, which will usually be much cheaper than grid electricity. This has the added benefit of predictably low, long-term rates that help you plan ahead for your business.
AGL Solar Plans
AGL no longer provides installation services to residential customers, but the retailer still wants to attract households that have solar panels. Solar customers in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia can sign up to AGL’s special deal called ‘AGL Solar Savers’. This is a no lock-in contract deal that comes with a 20c/kWh solar feed-in tariff over a 24-month benefit period.
Customers that sign up online may also receive a bonus $50 credit on their first bill. To top it off, you also receive access to AGL Rewards and 24/7 customer support. The AGL Solar Saver is available to all solar customers regardless of who installed your panels.
Is AGL Solar Savers a good deal?
20c/kWh is a high feed-in tariff compared with many other retailers, however, be aware that the Solar Savers does not include a conditional discount on electricity usage charges like most other retailers offer. This means that the savings made from the FiT could be negated by the increased amount you’re paying for the power you need to draw from the grid. Broadly speaking, AGL’s Solar Saver could work out cheaper for customers with a large solar system (5kW or more), however this depends on a variety of factors including your location and energy usage habits.
What about solar batteries?
AGL does not sell solar storage batteries to residential customers, nor does it appear to offer residential deals specifically catered for solar customers with batteries. Of course, households can still use time of use tariffs to get the most out of their solar battery. For example, by storing electricity in your battery to use during peak hours when electricity is more expensive, you will save even more on your power bill.
You can also download the ‘AGL Energy App’ which provides daily insights into your energy usage. While it can’t be used to measure your solar output or battery capacity, you can use it to better understand how you can save power.
AGL Solar Feed-in Tariffs
AGL has a standard feed-in tariff for solar customers available across most of its residential electricity products. The tariff rates are displayed below:
Source: AGL Website, December 2018
Remember that the AGL Solar Savers deal offers a larger FiT of 20c/kWh. However, a higher FiT doesn’t necessarily equate to a better deal. In some cases, higher feed-in tariffs may be negated by increased usage rates and lower discounts, so be sure to compare prices carefully.
Is solar with AGL right for me?
While AGL was once one of Australia’s largest installers of rooftop solar, the service it offers today is less comprehensive if you’re looking for an energy retailer to walk you through the entire process. So, if you’re a residential customer looking for a start-to-finish solar solution, you may need to look to other providers, such as Origin Energy.
If you already have solar panels and you just need a retailer that can offer a great deal on your feed-in tariff, then AGL is worth some serious consideration. At face value, the AGL Solar Savers appears competitive and may offer some serious value for customers with large solar systems. Even the standard FiTs available on other AGL products tend to be above average for the respective jurisdictions.
What’s important is that you shop around and compare solar retailers across a range of factors including FiTs, usage rates, supply rates, discounts and fees. There are plenty of providers out there vying for your custom, so there’s no need to settle for anything but the best. To start comparing solar retailers, check out our customer satisfaction ratings and price comparison tool via the link below.