The NSW Solar Bonus Scheme ends on 31 December 2016.
From 1 January 2017, solar feed-in tariffs for customers with small solar or wind generators will be set by electricity retailers.
Ausgrid has about 48,000 customers participating in the Scheme, mostly gross metered customers, who can now consider whether to shift to a net metering arrangement.
Gross metering customers have separate meters for their solar system and their household load. Electricity generated by the solar system is fed into the grid, earning a feed-in tariff.
Net metering systems allow electricity generated by solar panels to be used within the home first. This can reduce the amount and cost of electricity consumed from the grid. Customers can then export any excess solar generation to earn a feed-in tariff.
Customers should consider whether they may be better off under net metering arrangements once the Solar Bonus Scheme ends, when the cost of consuming energy from the grid becomes greater than solar feed-in tariffs. It should be noted that changing from gross to net metering may involve some costs to the customer.
The NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) publishes a benchmark range for non-Solar Bonus Scheme feed-in tariffs each year. The 2016/17 benchmark is between 5.5 and 7.2 c/kWh.
What to do next
- Customers are encouraged to talk to their electricity retailer about their options once the Solar Bonus Scheme ends. You can find more information on the Solar Bonus Scheme website.
- It is also worth comparing different retailers’ offers, as some may offer smart meter installation as part of a package. Customers can compare retailer offers at www.energymadeeasy.com.au
Other metering options
Ausgrid is committed to supporting customers and electricity retailers during this transition.
Customers can also choose to pay an Accredited Service Provider (ASP) to install a new meter or change from a gross to net metering configuration without installing a smart meter. Search a list of of ASPs or call Service NSW on 13 77 88.
Renewable Energy Target
The Renewable Energy Target is an Australian Government scheme that allows customers to create Small scale Technology Certificates (STCs) for an installed small-scale solar power system (<100kWp). The financial value of the STCs is generally offered by solar suppliers as an upfront discount on the installed solar system price. For more information visit the Clean Energy Regulator website.