NSW Solar Bonus Scheme

NSW Solar Bonus Scheme

In January 2010 the NSW Government has gross feed-in tariff scheme for small scale, grid-connected, solar photovoltaic panels commenced.

In October 2010 feed-in rate tariff was cut to 20 cents. As capacity for installed systems reaches 300MW under the scheme, the program will cease.

A gross feed-in tariff provides payments for all the electricity produced by an eligible renewable energy system and are deigned to;

• encourage and support people who want to act on climate change by generating renewable energy locally
• build the State’s green collar jobs sector, by helping solar technology compete with non-renewable energy sources
• expand the visibility of renewable energy technologies to help motivate the whole community respond to climate change

Contact us now and we can design your solar system and provide you with a no obligation proposal and quotation. Complete an enquiry form or call us on 1300 660 704 to arrange an inspection.

Features of the Scheme

The key features of NSW Solar Bonus Scheme include:

• It will credit eligible customers with a ‘gross’ feed-in tariff rate of 20 cents per kilowatt hour for all the electricity that their eligible solar photovoltaic (PV) system generates subject to the transitional arrangements.
• Small electricity customers (those with an annual electricity consumption of up to 160 megawatt hours) are eligible to participate in the Scheme.
• Solar PV systems up to 10 kilowatts in size will be eligible for the Scheme.
• The tariff rate of 60 cents up to October 2010 and 20 cents thereafter per kilowatt hour will be fixed for the life of the Scheme.

More information is available in the Solar Bonus Scheme Questions and Answers.

Participation in the Scheme
To receive the Scheme’s gross tariff, consumers need to have metering that can measure the gross or total amount of electricity generated by their renewable energy generator, referred to as ‘gross metering’.
Currently consumers in NSW’s three electricity network areas – Country Energy, Energy Australia and Integral Energy – have different arrangements for electricity metering. The Solar Bonus Scheme’s transitional arrangements have been developed to allow for certain customers who have net metering connected to their solar photovoltaic (PV) system to receive the Scheme’s tariff as a ‘net’ tariff until the transitional day which is currently set at 1 July 2010.
This means that from 1 January 2010 to 30 June 2010 certain customers with net metering will receive the Scheme’s credit on the net electricity they export to the national electricity grid. To continue to receive the credit from 1 July 2010, these customers will need to transition to gross metering.

For details of your electricity network area arrangements please see below;

• Integral Energy – Generally consumers with small-scale renewable energy generators in Integral Energy’s area already have gross metering in place and should be able to participate in the scheme. For further details please visitIntegral Energy.
• Energy Australia – From 1 January to 30 June 2010, existing Energy Australia solar customers will receive a credit of 60 cents per kWh only for the electricity they export to the grid, because they are already connected to the electricity grid with a NET metering configuration. From 1 July 2010, customers who have a complying generator and have changed to a GROSS metering configuration will receive 60 cents per kWh on their GROSS or total electricity generation. In order to participate in the Solar Bonus Scheme an additional meter will be required for the GROSS metering configuration. Energy Australia will supply this meter at no additional cost, however there will be an installation cost for the meter conversion work. Energy Australia has advised they hope to make GROSS meters available by March 2010 and will advise customers early in 2010 about the steps they will need to take to arrange for their metering connection to be changed to a GROSS configuration before 1 July 2010. For further details please visit Energy Australia.
• Country Energy – from 1 January 2010 to 30 June 2010, Country Energy net metered customers within its electricity network will receive 60 cents per kilowatt hour only for excess renewable energy that is fed into the electricity grid after household or small business needs are met. Country Energy will provide eligible existing net metered customers – with an installed capacity of less than 10 kilowatts – with a new gross meter at no additional charge. Installation of the gross meter can be arranged through any appropriately qualified Accredited Service Provider – charges for the installation of the gross meter are the customer’s responsibility. Country Energy will write to existing net metering customers, those with an approved application and customers who have lodged, but yet to be approved for connection from 24 December 2009 to advise them of the introduction of the Scheme and of transitional arrangements. For further details please visit Country Energy.

Payment of the Solar Bonus Credit
All electricity retailers are required to provide eligible customers with either a Solar Bonus Scheme credit on their electricity bill or a cash payment representing this amount. How a customer receives their Solar Bonus Scheme benefit is at the discretion of the retailer. From 1 July 2010 onwards a bill issued to an eligible small retail customer is required to include the amount of electricity supplied to the network during the billing period and the amount to be credited for that electricity.

GROSS Metering vs NET Metering
In simple terms, a GROSS metering configuration for solar power is set up in such a way that it measures all the electricity consumed in the household (i.e. imported from the electricity grid) and all the electricity generated by the solar power system and fed back in (or exported) to the electricity grid. Buy-back credits are applied to the export amounts the meter measures (i.e. everything generated by your system) and consumption (or imported) electricity is billed normally.

A NET import/export metering configuration is also often referred to as “net metering” and is setup in such a way that any electricity generated by the solar power system is always used on the premises first. Electricity generated by the solar power system is only fed back into (or exported to) the electricity grid when the amount generated is more than is being used on the premises. This type of metering configuration separately measures the amount of electricity imported from the grid and exported to the grid and it can be implemented in a number of ways.

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