If you live in Victoria, as of the first of July, your solar tariff has changed.
We can hear you groaning from Brisbane, but this wasn't our call.
If you're looking for a culprit, blame the Essential Services Commission (ESC).
Their latest decision is already in effect, and unfortunately, they still have no interest in making things simpler for you.
We've got you covered though, here at Electricity Monster we actually want Victorians to understand what's going with their specific solar situation.
So here's the lowdown.
You now have two options, one is straightforward, the other is a little more complex.
Don't worry, we're gonna nip any confusion in the bud and lay it out in simple terms.
So if you call Victoria your home and own a PV solar system, here's what you need to know
What was the old system?
Towards the end of the last decade, in 2008 and 2009 specifically, new solar feed-in tariffs were introduced.
It operated in a tiered format, with each tier offering a different tariff for the solar owner.
- Premium feed-in tariff (2009) – Customers who qualified received a tariff of at least 60 cents per kWh.
- Standard feed-in tariff (2008) – This was a simple “one-for-one" rate based on what the customer paid for retail electricity.
- Transitional feed-in tariff (2008) – Customers who qualified received a tariff of at least 25 cents per kWh.
These tariffs were never intended to be permanent, and were closed to new applicants relatively swiftly after they were offered.
The standard and transitional feed-in schemes were designed to end in 2016, whereas the premium scheme comes to a close in 2024.
The good news is that if you are currently on the premium feed-in tariff, you can remain on the premium feed-in tariff, provided you don't add any new solar panels to your setup.
For everyone not in the premium programme, the standard and transition plans were replaced with standing rate of 11.3c per kWh.
If you're on any other scheme, or are just considering getting some panels installed, it's time to read up on what the ESC has got in store.
Okay so what's this new solar tariff got in store?
This new scheme rests on whether or not you have a time of use meter.
In a similar way to the way some electricity plans work, the first option has three different tariffs.
Option 1 (if you have a “time of use" meter)
There are three new solar tariffs: Peak, Shoulder and Off-Peak, and each one comes with its own rate.
The new minimum rates outlined by the ESC are:
- Peak: This one's huge. If you feed power back into the system between the hours of 3pm-9pm, on a weekday, you'll receive 29c/kWh
- Shoulder: What times shoulder rates apply to vary depending on the day of the week. On weekdays shoulder rates apply between the hours of 7am-3pm as well as between the hours of 9pm-10pm. During the weekend these hours change to 7am–10pm. The shoulder solar tariff rate is 10.3c/kWh.
- Off-Peak: All other times of the week are off-peak times. So if it's between 10pm-7am, you pay off-peak rates. The off-peak rate is 7.1c/kWh.
Most of the solar power fed into the grid in Victoria will take place during the shoulder hours.
Option 2 (if you don't have a “time of use" meter)
The second kind of solar tariff you can have is much like the old system, it just pays less.
You can go with a single-rate tariff, which pays out at a minimum 9.9c/kWh.
This is a 1.4c decrease from the previous minimum of 11.3c set by the ESC.
Their rationale for doing all of this was to provide consumers with more choice in retailers.
If one company is offering a tariff at a significantly higher rate than the minimum solar tariff, then that might be appealing to some consumers.
How do I make the most of my new solar tariff?
We know what you're thinking.
You're thinking that that new peak rate sounds pretty juicy and you're right.
However, as we learned before most of the solar energy fed into the grid will take place during the shoulder rate.
And the minimum rate during the shoulder tariff has dropped from where it used to be.
One thing you can think about is what direction your solar panels are facing.
North facing panels are generally what most people go with when it comes to their solar panels. North facing panels will catch most of their sunlight during offpeak and shoulder times.
However, west facing panels might be worth investigating.
While west facing panels will cut your off-peak production down to virtual nil, but what they will do is boost your output during peak hours, especially during the afternoon.
You might need to do some maths and see what works out best for you, but these changes could mean significant power savings for you and your family.
I don't have panels installed how can I find out more?
Call us here at Electricity Monster on 1300 232 848
Our brokers can provide you info on how to get yourself a high-quality solar system.
Solar has been proven as a fantastic way to cut down on the mammoth electricity prices a lot Victorians are dealing with.
We can also help you out your electricity connection Victoria!
So give us a call and we're sure we can help you.