Are you lucky enough to be getting 40c or more for every kilowatt hour (kWh) of solar power you send to the grid? If so, you’re one of the remaining recipients of your state government’s ‘premium’ or ‘bonus’ feed-in scheme used to incentivise people to get solar around a decade ago.
But none of the premium feed-in tariff (PFiT) schemes are available for new applicants, many have finished already and the remainder have confirmed payment cease dates. In fact, as more and more Aussies invest in solar, even the standard feed-in tariffs (FiTs) are on a downward trend – making many solar owners nervous.
It’s not all bad news though. If your premium FiT has come to end, is due to finish or you’ve never had one, there are many things you can do to take back control – from moving power companies in search of a better standard feed-in tariff, to getting battery storage as part of your renewable energy mix.
Am I affected by the changes?
If you’ve got a FiT over 40c, it’s highly likely you’re on a government scheme. There were several incentive schemes available across the states – and each had a different name. The payments for many schemes have now ceased and, if you were affected, you should have received a letter advising you of this.
There are only a few premium FiT schemes remaining, including:
- West Australian Solar Feed-in Tariff (20-40c), ends around 2021 (or 10 years after installation)
- Victorian Premium Feed-in Tariff (60c), ends in 2024
- Queensland Solar Bonus Scheme (44c), ends in 2028
- South Australian Solar Feed-in Scheme (44c), ends in 2028
- ACT Feed-in Tariff (from 30.16c), ends around 2031 (or 20 years after installation)
What are my options? Should I act now?
The answer depends both on whether you still have a premium FiT and how well your solar energy system is serving you now.
SCENARIO 1: Don’t have a premium FiT, not exporting much solar power
Your solar system might not be generating enough electricity to meet your energy needs, that is, it might be too small. So, think about your solar setup and assess whether adding more panels would make sense for you (if you have available roof space). If you do get more panels, you could also consider adding a battery to harness that extra solar power and use it at home. A battery lets you store your solar power to use in the evening, rather than exporting it during the day for a relatively low price and having to buy it from the grid later at twice the cost. If you’re interested in adding solar panels or batteries to your solar system, get in touch with our solar experts.
SCENARIO 2: Don’t have a premium FiT, exporting a lot
Exporting solar doesn’t make as much sense now that your overall feed-in rate is much lower than it once was, and often less than half of what you pay for electricity from the grid.
It’s in your interest to use as much of your solar at home as you possibly can. This means setting timers for your appliances to run during the day or even storing the solar you produce during the day and using it at night when your electricity usage and, typically, grid energy rates are at their highest.
A battery may be something to look into. Find out more about our battery package.
SCENARIO 3: Still have a premium FiT, not exporting much
Oddly enough, the best financial option for you is to maximise your solar exports to the grid in order to earn more from your high premium FiT. So, if you’re able to use less electricity during the day when your solar system is generating electricity and therefore boost your exports, you should.
But like scenario 1 above, your solar system might not be big enough for you and therefore moving your energy habits around may not make much of a difference. Have a look at your energy usage and your solar generation, and assess whether your solar is covering your daytime energy needs.
If not, you can add solar panels and even get a battery, just remember that you may lose your premium FiT. It’s up to you to decide whether you’d be better off expanding or upgrading your solar system, or sticking with your premium FiT for now. If you’re unsure, let us know. We can talk you through the options.
SCENARIO 4: Still have a premium FiT, export a lot
There is no urgency for you to make big changes. Expanding your system to include more panels or a battery could mean the end of your premium FiT. But if you’re motivated by other things, such as protecting yourself from power outages or using more renewable energy in the form of your solar power, it could be worth investigating a battery. Another thing you could do is shop around for the right power company to make sure you’re getting a great standard FiT to add to your premium FiT, competitive rates and services to help you make the most of your solar.