From 1 January 2017, solar feed-in tariffs for customers with small solar or wind generators are set by electricity retailers, based on a benchmark range from the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART.)
Ausgrid has about 48,000 customers who participated in the NSW Solar Bonus Scheme, mostly gross metered customers, who should 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 now the Scheme has closed and the cost of consuming energy from the grid is greater than solar feed-in tariffs. It should be noted that changing from gross to net metering may involve some costs to the customer. IPART's 2016/17 feed-in tariff benchmark is 5.5 - 7.2 c/kWh.
What to do next
- With the Solar Bonus Scheme now closed, customers are encouraged to talk to their electricity retailer about their options. 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
- Consider rewiring your meter from gross to net metering, if you are eligible. Find out more.
- 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.