The New South Wales pricing regulator, IPART, has flagged another “likely” reduction to the state’s recommended – and entirely voluntary for retailers – feed-in tariff for rooftop solar power exported to the grid, as it prepares to set new benchmarks for the next three financial years.
IPART said on Tuesday it was seeking feedback on its approach to calculating solar feed-in tariff benchmarks for NSW customers – as well as customer views on their experiences as small solar generators – ahead of publishing a 2021-22 determination in June.
“Over the next four months, IPART will consult with stakeholders and conduct analysis to set the solar feed-in benchmarks,” the regulator says in a 37-page Issues Paper.
“We will consider whether our existing approach remains fit for purpose, and whether any changes are required to our methodology.”
From consumers, the regulator wants to hear such things as whether retailers are offering new and different ways to optimise solar self-consumption, storage, or targeted exports; whether consumers are having trouble getting paid for their solar exports; and whether they are able to export the amount of solar they wish to.
Further, and perhaps most relevantly to the regulator’s mission, IPART also asks for feedback on how it should estimate the inputs to the forecast value of solar electricity.
“How should we form a range around our values of solar electricity?” the Issues paper asks. “Have there been any changes to the market design that affect the value of solar exports, and the inputs that should be included in our calculation?”
All of that said, IPART notes that it currently intends to set the new benchmark ranges in its usual way, “around a forecast of the average value of wholesale electricity, multiplied by a ‘solar multiplier’ and a network loss factor, plus national electricity market (‘NEM’) fees and charges.”