Solar feed-in tariffs 2018-19
In NSW, retailers can choose whether or not to offer solar feed-in tariffs to their customers, and decide the level of the solar feed-in tariff that they offer. However, to help guide retailers and customers, each year IPART recommends a benchmark for solar-feed in tariffs.
Our benchmark range for all-day solar feed-in tariffs for 2018-19 is 6.9 to 8.4 c/kWh.
We were also asked to set time-dependent feed-in tariffs to take into account the different values of solar exports at different times of the day.
Our time-dependent solar feed-in tariff benchmarks for 2018-19 are:
- 6.5 to 7.9 c/kWh between 6 am and 3 pm (when 86.2% of solar exports occur)
- 7.4 to 9.1 c/kWh between 3 pm and 4 pm (when 8% of solar exports occur)
- 11.2 to 13.7 c/kWh between 4 pm and 5 pm (when 4% of solar exports occur)
- 14.1 to 17.2 c/kWh between 5 pm and 6 pm (when 1.5% of solar exports occur)
- 10.7 to 13.0 c/kWh between 6 pm and 7 pm (when less than 1% of solar exports currently occur)
- 7.8 to 9.5 c/kWh between 7 pm and 8 pm (when less than 0.1% of solar exports currently occur).
We are required to set a benchmark range for feed-in tariffs that will not lead to increased electricity prices or require any additional funding from the NSW State Budget. Therefore we set the solar feed-in tariff at the level where a retailer would incur no additional cost from paying solar customers for their exports, compared to buying this electricity from the wholesale market.
Because the solar feed-in benchmarks represents what retailers would pay for solar exports if they had bought this electricity from the wholesale market, the benchmark will go up and down with changes in the wholesale electricity price. As a result, our benchmark range for 2018-19 is lower than last year because the forecast wholesale price is lower. Wholesale prices are forecast to fall in 2018-19 due to new generation capacity increasing supply.
Customers with solar panels can shop around for a feed-in tariff using the Australian Government's website Energy Made Easy. However, the savings customers make by generating electricity themselves are usually much bigger than the revenue they make from feed-in tariffs. Therefore, the offer with the highest feed-in tariff may not be the best overall deal. Solar customers should consider all aspects of an energy offer, including usage and fixed charges, feed-in tariffs and other terms and conditions.
IPART also has an Excel tool to help solar customers compare bills for offers with different feed-in tariffs and retail prices.
IPART will release its benchmark for 2019-20 in April 2019.