In Queensland, one third of solar systems get little or no tariff

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Nearly one third of households in Queensland get paid little or nothing for exports to the grid. Despite this, 63,000 households added solar in last year.

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The portion of rooftop solar systems that get little or no tariff in the south-east corner of Queensland has jumped to nearly one third – with 258MW of solar getting just 6c/kWh – or in some cases nothing – for their exports to the grid.

That represents just less than 30 per cent of the 883MW of rooftop solar in the region. The total amount of rooftop solar in the state is now more than 1,220MW.

New data released by Energex, which operates the network in the south-east corner and Brisbane, shows that more than 74,000 households are now on this minimal tariff. (shown in red in this graph below – please click to enlarge).

energex tariffs

The payment for exports – if paid at all – reflects only the pricing regulator’s estimate of the “wholesale” value of the electricity plus a small credit for the lack of transmission losses. This contrasts with practice in the US, and recommendations from the solar industry here, that rooftop solar should also benefit from its network benefits, not to mention health and environmental gains.

Despite this, households in Queensland are still flocking to solar, with the uptake more of less steady in the past year, and since the 44c/kWh premium tariff ended in late 2012.

Another 2,680 systems were added in September in the Energex network, taking the total number to 270,335, and adding another 13MW to rooftop solar capacity. Over the past year, 46,000 systems totalling 158MW of rooftop solar capacity has been added. It shows now signs of slowing down, especially given concerns about the future of the renewable energy target, with 3,580 applications in the last month.

There are a further 96,000 systems and 339MW of solar in the rest of Queensland on the Ergon network, where another 17,000 households added solar in the last year.

energex systems 2

 

Most are households who have installed solar in the last two years, but around 10 per cent of these are households who moved from the premium tariff. (Shown in blue). This is mostly due to people who sold their homes, although the “tariff police” from the Revenue Protection team have pinged nearly 400 households for having larger systems than approved, so have lost the premium tariff. Some new rooftop solar systems do not export to the grid at all, under new rules introduced by the Queensland networks.

The average domestic rooftop solar system is now 3.65kW. Around 56 per cent of rooftop solar energy production is consumed on site, while the remained is exported to the grid. That totalled 50,700MWh in the last month.

The Energex network now has nearly 20MW of large embedded solar (systems of 15kW or more) with 1.4MW added in the lat month.

 

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11 Comments
  1. Terry J Wall 5 years ago

    Like buying property and relying on rising prices to produce a return, many people have the empathy and integrity plus the expectation of rising prices for energy, to go it alone. (Install PV without subsidy)

    This is fantastic and so unlike what we have come to expect from single minded corporations and their lobby targets (our elected leaders). A dying race, thank goodness.

    • Ronald Bruce Jones 5 years ago

      I put on a 3kw system 2nd August last year and the cost of grid energy has gone up so much that it won’t be long and I will be paying the same amount I was paying before I installed my 3kw system.
      Service providers keep raising the cost to compensate for the lost revenue by customers providing thier own energy. They will lose thier customers eventually because it will become more economical to install batteries

      • barrie harrop 5 years ago

        2-3 years time home storage will be viable in that the payback will be 4-5 years,lots stranded assets with pole/wires then.

      • Terry J Wall 5 years ago

        Damn right about that Ronald

  2. Glen S 5 years ago

    It is great to see that people are making the move to solar like this regardless of tariff incentives. We installed a 2.1kW system on our house in WA in 2012, we were only getting 8c/kWh at the time as the higher tariffs had ended. It still paid us big dividends with our bills staying fairly small while being able to run a 10.5kW ducted AC system.

    I will be getting solar installed on this place as soon as we can afford it, even though we will be only eligible for a 6c tariff. It simply means you need to size the system to provide for your own consumption instead of going as big as possible to export it all.

    I hope to see this trend accelerate.

  3. adam 5 years ago

    The article keeps dropping in “if they get anything at all”…

    Can you please clear up how often this occurs and why?

    • Ronald Brakels 5 years ago

      There is no feed-in tariff for new solar set by the government in Queensland outside of rural and remote areas. The only feed-in tariff most Queenslanders can get for new solar is what electricity distributers feel like paying. Sometimes they feel like paying nothing. It’s the free market in action except that it almost, but not quite, completely unlike a free market.

  4. Alen 5 years ago

    Solar leasing still seems slow and very quiet over here, I would like to see more advertisement and information about this given to the public, the PV market is definitely ripe and as cost is still the key barrier I’m guessing once solar leasing becomes more known it’ll really take off.

  5. Rob G 5 years ago

    As feed in tariffs drop away, so does utility loyalty. I dumped energy Australia for momentum energy and lost my feed in, which was tiny. As it worked out the loss of the tariff didn’t count for much once the sums were done. I figured one less energy Australia customer was one less household relying on coal power, worth in my book. And with battery storage just around the corner my power will remain my power.

  6. Jennifer Gow 5 years ago

    We now have just under 3 Kw of solar panels connected to a 2.5 Kw inverter. We installed the system in 2009 so we receive the original FIT of 44 cents supplemented by an additional 12 cents from our electricity supplier(Click Energy). When we move house the old tariff will disappear. At this point we intend to install a 5 Kw grid independent solar system with battery storage, and if necessary a backup generator. At current prices this would cost around $30K and the price is going down. Over a lifetime of 20 years such a system would produce power for 25 cents per KWh while the current retail cost of power is 31 cents plus network charges and going upward..
    Socially such an action is less than optimal because if a significant number of people do the same, those whose circumstances leave them on the grid will pay even higher network charges. This is the “death spiral” feared by electricity distributors.
    Ar a household level contributing to the death spiral makes perfect economic sense.

    For governments and electricity producers seeking to marginalize rooftop solar there are actions and logical consequences.

    • Vincent Selleck 5 years ago

      Hi Jennifer

      We have discovered a new inverter technology which allows you to store solar in batteries for use later that allows 80% of your solar energy to be used by you. It is a Hybrid system and has a payback period of about 5 years. This is ideal for anyone without high grid tariff rates now. It is designed in Australia and fully tested CEC approved and ready to go now. It is grid connected, but instead of exporting unused solar production it stores it for your own use, only using grid electricity for high peaks and when batteries are low.

      We are distributing to solar companies and arranging install through our partners across Australia. The future is here now!

      Contact me for more details. [email protected]

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