Solar Bonus Scheme closure
The Solar Bonus Scheme ended on 31 December 2016. Customers who have been receiving a feed-in tariff of 60 or 20 cents under the scheme (depending on when they signed up), will now receive a much lower tariff and may have to replace their meters.
What do I need to do if I'm a Solar Bonus Scheme customer?
You need to make sure you’re ready now. If you do nothing, you will be worse off.
If you're not sure if you're on the Scheme, follow the steps below to make sure you're ready to get the deal that's best for you.
How to get ready – 5 steps:
Check if you’re on the Solar Bonus Scheme by looking at your bill. If you’re receiving a 60 or 20 cent feed-in tariff you’re on the Scheme.
Call your energy retailer and ask if you need a new meter. Make sure you find out the following:
- if they will charge you for a new meter if you need one
- when they will install a new meter
- what feed-in tariff they’re offering
- what the contract terms will be – including additional charges or fees, or if you have to sign up to stay with a retailer to get a meter for free
If you’re not sure you’re getting the best deal, compare your retailer’s offer to others at energymadeeasy.gov.au or talk to electricity retailers directly.
Sign up to a new deal as soon as possible. If you don’t act you will be worse off from 1 January 2017.
Prepare for a higher electricity bill in the first quarter of 2017 – or in some cases your first bill in a long time. See our tips on keeping your electricity use in check on our saving energy and water around the home factsheet.
Why would my meter need to be changed?
The feed-in tariff under the Solar Bonus Scheme is paid at 60 or 20 cents for the electricity your panels feed into the network.
When the Scheme ends the feed-in tariff you'll receive will be significantly less than 60 or 20 cents and less than the amount you pay for the electricity you use from the network. To get the best value from your solar system you may need to make changes to your meter that will allow you to use the electricity your panels generate in your home and only feed into the network what you don’t use.
Ask your retailer if you are unsure about what type of meter you have and whether you need to make any changes.
If you currently have a net metering arrangement you don’t have to do anything.
If you currently have a gross metering arrangement, where all of the electricity generated by your solar panels is fed directly to the network, you will need to make some changes.
Why will my new feed-in tariff be so much lower?
The feed-in tariff paid under the Scheme is subsidised by the government and electricity retailers to encourage customers to invest in solar energy, therefore it's higher than the real value of the electricity you generate.
The amount you pay for electricity covers all of the costs associated with its supply, including:
the cost of generating the electricity
the cost of delivering the electricity (the poles and wires)
the retail costs (reading the meter and issuing the bills).
Once the Scheme ends the feed-in tariff will no longer be subsidised. The amount a retailer offers a customer is not set and can vary from retailer to retailer. Each year the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) NSW publishes a benchmark range of feed-in tariffs. This is a guide for customers about the value of the electricity generated by their solar system and fed into the network, but retailers are not required to offer a feed-in-tariff within the benchmark or to offer a feed-in tariff at all.
You can find more information about the Solar Bonus Scheme's closure and how to navigate through the change on the NSW Department of Resources and Energy's website.