Frequently Asked Questions
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1. Is Solar Energy Worthwhile?
This is the most often asked question regarding Solar. The best answer is the Solar is it most certainly worthwhile because the future of energy is using renewable resources. There is no greater resource for energy than the Sun.
Aside from the social benefits the economic benefits depend largely on the circumstances of the household. For States with Feed-in Tariffs the benefits are great and really are excellent value. For States with Nett Metering schemes the most value is gained by households who use electricity while the sun is shining. This means high energy users who pay over 30c per kWh would get over $500 per annum in ‘free’ electricity per annum for a 1.5kw system. Users who have high bills of e.g $700 per quarter could install larger systems giving them returns of over 20% return on their investment
2. What Is NET Metering?
Under net metering arrangements, the electricity you generate is used to supply your own energy requirements and any excess generation that is not used in the premises is exported to the grid. By reducing the need for grid electricity, customers can reduce their electricity bills as they avoid purchasing electricity from the network. Bill savings will increase as electricity prices increase.
Net meters work by continuously sampling how much electricity is being generated and how much electricity is consumed at your home. At each point in time the meter instantaneously reads the generation and consumption of the premises and the meter records both these amounts. The data is then accumulated in the appropriate register over the billing cycle. The meter is read and the bill is calculated.
3. What Has Changed In The Last Couple Of Years?
The NSW Government has announced many changes to the Solar Bonus Scheme.
– The feed in tariff scheme finished on 27th October 2010 and replaced by a net system.
– The 300 MW connected capacity limit was abolished.
– The Government then announced that the tariff was to be reduced in April 2011 but due to political pressure changed its mind and did not introduce legislation.
– 60 cent tariff – Customers already receiving the 60 cent tariff will receive a 60 cent tariff rate for for the remainder of the Scheme.
– In Qld the feed-in-tariff was replaced by a nett metering system in July 2012
4. Why Has The Scheme Changed?
The changes are the result of the Government’s Solar Bonus Scheme Summit Stage One. The Summit arrived at the consensus that the Scheme be wound up in a fair and equitable way, recognising the blown out costs of the Scheme that have been imposed on households not participating in the Scheme.
The Governments want to limit the cost burden of the Solar Bonus Scheme. These changes are necessary to reduce the burden of the Scheme on taxpayers.
5. I Have A System Connected To The Grid On A 60 Cent Tariff, Does This Affect Me?
No, customers eligible for the 60 cent Scheme will continue to receive their 60 cents.
6. I Have A System Connected To The Grid On A 20 Cent Tariff, Does This Affect Me?
7. I Have Not Submitted An Application To Join The Scheme, Can I Join Now?
No. The Solar Bonus Scheme is closed to new applications but NSW and Qld customers can get the benefits of solar by the Nett Metering System.
8. Can I Still Connect A Small Scale Renewable Energy Generator?
Yes. Customers still have the right to connect a renewable energy generator to the grid however these customers will not be eligible to receive the Solar Bonus Scheme payments.
9. What Are Governments Doing About Supporting Renewable Energy?
Governments are committed to renewable energy with a focus on sensible, sustained and affordable progress for renewables.
The Solar Summit Stage One arrived at the consensus that the Solar Bonus Scheme be wound up in a fair and equitable way, recognising the blown out costs of the Scheme that have been imposed on taxpayers.
Stage Two of the Summit will look for options to establish a sustainable future for the solar industry and a broad range of energy policy matters, including peak demand and energy efficiency in addition to renewable at responsible energy policy.