How much does a 3kW solar system cost in Australia, and how much energy can you expect it to produce? This article takes a look…
Queensland, otherwise known as the Sunshine state has a perfect environment for solar panel installations. With 300 days of sunshine per year and an average of 8-9 hours of sun per day, it’s no wonder that there’s a demand for solar panel systems on residential homes
We’ll go through what you need to know about how to assess what provider provides the best solar feed in tariff-in Queensland.
To look for the best solar feed-in tariff rates in QLD, view the table below which gets updated every two weeks. We recommend you read the other considerations we mention in this article so you can come out with a more informed decision that goes beyond a financial one only.
Does Queensland have a minimum solar feed-in tariff?
There currently isn’t a mandatory minimum feed-in tariff that electricity retailers have to abide by in South East Queensland (Energex network). Instead it’s been left to each retailer to assign their own respective rates for exported solar power they buy from a solar system owner.
We recommend in this case that you shop around for a plan that provides a high FiT, as electricity retailers will try their best to earn your hard earned dollars by offering a competitive FiT.
For residents of regional Queensland (Ergon network), there is a mandatory minimum you’ll receive for your solar power exports. Check the QCA’s website for the current rates.
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What retailer has the best solar feed-in tariff in QLD?
At the time of writing (June 2021), Mojo power currently has the highest solar feed-in tariff offer in QLD, whereby the maximum a customer can get is 18 cents per kilowatt hour (c/kWh). ReAmped Energy comes in second at 17 c/kWh with Discovery Energy at 16 c/kWh.
Each of those plans is subject to eligibility criteria and specific terms and conditions which you can read on their websites.
Best Solar Feed-In Rates in Queensland
The below table shows a minimum and maximum solar feed-in tariff that each provider gives. Please note that this information changes on a regular basis and this table is updated to reflect this.
The below tables are powered by Wattever
RetailerState / TerritoryMin Solar FITMax Solar FITMojo PowerQLD.5.5c18.0cReAmped EnergyQLD.0.0c17.0cAGLQLD.6.0c15.0cDiscover EnergyQLD.6.0c13.0cGEE EnergyQLD.0.0c13.0cOrigin EnergyQLD.5.0c13.0cRed EnergyQLD.5.0c11.5cAlinta EnergyQLD.0.0c11.0c1st EnergyQLD.6.0c11.0cCovaUQLD.0.0c11.0cDiamond EnergyQLD.0.0c10.2cMomentum EnergyQLD.0.0c10.0cEnova EnergyQLD.0.0c10.0cDodoQLD.8.5c8.5cEnergy AustraliaQLD.8.5c8.5cPeople EnergyQLD.8.0c8.0cOVO EnergyQLD.0.0c8.0cQEnergyQLD.0.0c8.0cElysian EnergyQLD.0.0c7.9cLocality Planning EnergyQLD.0.0c7.9cGloBird EnergyQLD.3.0c7.2cGlow PowerQLD.7.0c7.0cBright Spark PowerQLD.6.0c7.0cErgon EnergyQLD.6.6c6.6cEnergy LocalsQLD.6.0c6.0cRadian EnergyQLD.6.0c6.0cNectrQLD.0.0c6.0cSumoQLD.6.0c6.0cPowerdirectQLD.6.0c6.0cSimply EnergyQLD.4.5c4.5cFuture X PowerQLD.4.0c4.0cElectricity in a BoxQLD.4.0c4.0cPowershopQLD.0.0c3.5cKogan EnergyQLD.2.9c2.9cPowerclubQLD.0.0c2.1cAmber ElectricQLD.0.0c0.0cOn by EnergyAustraliaQLD.0.0c0.0cTango EnergyQLD.0.0c0.0c
Should I only consider solar feed-in tariffs when choosing an electricity provider?
Although choosing an energy provider solely on having the highest solar feed-in tariff sounds like a tempting path to go down, be careful of putting your blinkers on and ignoring other important factors.
We recommend that you also consider other factors namely usage rates and daily supply charges. You may find in your assessment that a company may offer a high feed-in tariff but their usage rates as measured as cents per kilowatt-hour (c/kWh) is relatively higher then another competitor that gives you a lower tariff amount.
You may also be in a situation where you’ve got a small solar system that doesn’t produce much excess electricity to export back to the grid. In that case, you may want to consider going with a provider that has lower usage and daily supply charges because your capacity to make money from exports is limited by your solar system design.
If however, your solar system has the ability to export a lot of excess clean electricity, then it may make sense to go for the higher solar FiT which would help with minimising your regular electricity bills payback calculations.
You can enter you bill details into Solar Choice’s electricity plan comparison tool to find a good solar electricity plan and switch online:
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How do I find out what my Solar Feed in Tariff is?
You can find your current solar feed-in tariff by locating it on page 2 of your energy bill – look for a ‘c/kWh’ rate. If you can’t find it, another good place to look is at the bottom of the retailer’s homepage.
It’s also legislated that all retailers provide their customers with a fact sheet document that shows clearly important information for each plan including rates, charges and fees etc. Check your emails for something from your electricity retailer.
What are the solar system network limits in Queensland?
How electricity is transported. (Image via AEMO. Click to enlarge.)
The Distributed Network Service Providers (DNSPs) own the electrical infrastructure in Queensland. Based on protecting the network from issues like voltage rises that occur when solar is installed they apply certain limits on what solar systems can be installed. This can also include a limit on how much power can be exported back to the grid from a solar system.
The grid was originally designed to only work unidirectionally, with electricity only going from the large coal power stations to the end-consumer. Now we are looking at multi-directional energy distribution with over 2 million home rooftop solar systems.
Hopefully in the future the grid will get smarter and the infrastructure and supporting tools will allow for better bidirectional electricity back and forth – meaning less limits for home solar systems.
NetworkDescriptionReferencesEnergexSingle-phase: up to 5kVA inverter capacity.
3-phase: up to 15kVA inverter capacitySolar systems up to 30kVAErgonSingle-phase: Up to 10kVA inverter capacity, but only 5kVA allowed for export
3-phase: Up to 30kVA inverter capacity, but only 15kVA allowed for exportMicro energy generation units
History of feed-in tariffs in QLD
For the early adopters who got solar over 10 years ago, there was a generous premium given in Queensland for the solar feed-in tariff at 44c/kWh. Then from 10 July 2012, it was announced by the state government it was to be drastically reduced to 8c/kWh.
There were a range of reactions to this big change. The solar panel industry was embraced for a sudden rush of customers wanting to submit their application before the deadline.
This change, driven by Queensland premier Campbell Newman, who under the Liberal government implemented a different direction from the previous Labour government’s clean energy policies.
The cut was much bigger than that taken by other states. Whilst other states like Victoria and South Australia adopted a gradual reduction (who’s solar feed-in tariff was reduced to 25c/kWh and 23c/kWh respectively), Queensland’s cut represented reduction of over 75% overnight.
Following the reduction in feed in tariffs, the contentious issue of undervalued solar power was discussed. The Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES) stated in response that utilities should pay the same rate for solar that customers pay for grid electricity.
The Clean Energy Council had also warned that up to 4500 solar jobs could be shed over a period of a year in the fallout of the reduction.
It’s important to note that the context of this drop was centered around the misconception that solar schemes were a main driver for the rising price of electricity. It was clearly pointed out by RenewEconomy in an article that green schemes reduce the demand for electricity from the grid. It was argued that wholesale electricity prices had been pushed down to around half of what they were within a five year period.
Despite the change in feed in tariffs, the economics behind installing solar on your home still made sense. The main motivation which for some homeowners had focused on exporting solar at a premium price shifted to a focus on self-consuming the solar power that was generated. However, the soaring costs of retail electricity in Queensland as well as the affordability of solar with a reasonable payback period (now around 3-5 years) is now the main motivation for going solar along with the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2014 the solar feed-in tariffs in regional Queensland were reduced to between 6.3c/kWh and 9.7c/kWh for exporting energy back to the grid. This was initiated by the Queensland Competition Authority who had decided to set a minimum feed-in tariff for regional Queensland because of a lack of competition amongst retail electricity providers.
Getting the most out of your investment in solar will come down to choosing an electricity retailer that provides a solar feed-in tariff that suits you. It’s important to choose a balance between choosing a retailer that provides a high enough tariff, along with reasonable usage rates and supply charges. Hopefully after reading this article, you’ll come away with making a more informed decision.
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