The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has today released a draft benchmark range for voluntary solar feed-in tariffs for 2017-18 of 11.6 to 14.6 cents per kilowatt hour (c/kWh).

Electricity retailers in NSW set their own feed-in tariffs, with IPART providing a benchmark range each year as a guide for retailers and solar customers on the likely value of electricity exported to the grid from solar PV units.

IPART Chair Dr Peter Boxall said the benchmark range for 2017-18 is considerably higher than last year due to higher expected wholesale electricity prices in 2017-18 as the market is predicting a tightening demand/supply balance. Last year’s benchmark range was 5.5 to 7.2 c/kWh.

Dr Boxall said customers should consider feed-in tariffs as part of an overall electricity contract package and shop around for the best deal that takes both their electricity consumption and solar exports into account.

“Feed-in tariffs are only one component of a retailer’s market offer and the retailer with the highest feed-in tariff may not provide the best deal overall,” Dr Boxall said.

“We encourage customers to look for the best deal for their own situation, which includes usage rates, how much of their own energy they consume and other terms and conditions as well as the feed-in tariff. The Australian Government’s Energy Made Easy website is a good place to start.

“With the closure of the NSW Solar Bonus Scheme on 31 December 2016, to obtain the most financial benefit from their solar unit, solar customers may wish to consider switching to a net meter, if they haven’t done so already.”

A Fact Sheet and further information on the draft recommendation for 2017-18 is available on IPART’s website.