Energy bills, help and rebates

Solar rebates and payments

If you have a solar photovoltaic (PV) system, you may be able to receive payments for any excess electricity your solar PV system generates and exports to the electricity grid.

Feed-in payments for new solar PV systems

Your electricity retailer may offer you a retailer feed-in tariff (see below) for any excess electricity your solar PV system generates and exports to the electricity grid. The payments you may receive will differ between retailers. Visit the Energy Made Easy website to compare offers for solar customers from different energy retailers.

South Australia's solar feed-in scheme is now closed to new entrants. If you are installing a new solar PV system, you will not be eligible for the solar feed-in scheme.

Feed-in payments for solar PV systems approved before 30 September 2011

Customers who received approval to connect a solar PV system to the electricity grid before 30 September 2011 may be eligible to receive solar feed-in scheme payments as well as retailer feed-in payments.

Eligibility

To qualify to receive a solar feed-in scheme tariff and/or retailer feed-in tariff, customers need to consume less than 160 megawatt hours (mWh) per annum (average households use less than 10MWh per annum) and the solar PV system needs to:

  • comply with the relevant Australian safety standards. All accredited installers will comply with these requirements
  • be connected to the electricity grid via an import/export meter – SA Power Networks install these on request. SA Power Networks charges customers for the meter installation
  • have a maximum output of 10 kVA for homes with single phase or 30 kVA for homes with three phase electricity. Check with your solar installer to confirm output levels if you are unsure.

Retailer feed-in tariff

Energy retailers providing offers for solar customers must include a retailer feed-in tariff for any excess energy exported to the grid.

There is no mandatory minimum retailer feed-in tariff amount, so different retailers may offer different tariffs. Visit the Energy Made Easy website to compare offers for solar customers from different retailers.

Retailer tariffs are additional to any solar feed-in scheme tariff that you may also be eligible for if you entered the feed-in scheme prior to 30 September 2011.

The requirements around retailer feed-in tariffs are determined by the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA).

Solar feed-in scheme

Households, small businesses, community buildings and churches with solar PV systems who received permission from SA Power Networks to connect their system to the electricity grid by midnight 30 September 2011 may be eligible for a solar feed-in scheme tariff in addition to retailer feed-in tariff.

Solar feed-in scheme customer groups

The solar feed-in scheme tariff you may receive for excess electricity exported to the grid depends on the date SA Power Networks approved permission to connect your solar PV system to the grid and when the system was fully installed. These dates determine which solar feed-in scheme customer group relates to you.

Customer group 1

  • Approved permission to connect received by 31 August 2010, and
  • solar PV system fully installed and connected by 29 January 2012.

Customer group 2

  • Approved permission to connect received between 1 September 2010 and 30 September 2011, and
  • solar PV system fully installed by 30 September 2011.

Customer group 3

  • Approved permission to connect received between 1 September 2010 and 30 September 2011, and
  • SA Power Networks contacted by 30 January 2012 to book a date for the installation of an import/export meter, and
  • solar PV system fully installed and connected at any time between receiving approval to connect and the meter installation date booked with SA Power Networks.

Connections approved after 30 September 2011

Customer group 1

Approved permission to connect received up to or on 31 August 2010

Solar PV system fully installed including import/export meter up to or on 29 January 2012

Feed-in tariff offered

44 cents per kWh exported to the grid until 30 June 2028.

You may also receive a retailer feed-in tariff from your electricity retailer.

Increasing the capacity of your system

You can install panels on an existing solar PV system up to the peak capacity approved by SA Power Networks on your original request for permission to connect at any time up until 30 June 2028.

If you wish to install beyond the original peak capacity approved by SA Power Networks, it is considered to be an upgrade.

An upgrade completed between 1 September 2010 and 30 September 2011 will have changed your eligibility to Customer group 2 – see below.

If you received approval from SA Power Networks for an upgrade prior to 1 October 2011 and completed the upgrade by 30 September 2013 you would have initially received a lower feed-in tariff of 16 cents per kWh exported to the grid. This ended on 30 September 2016, so you will no longer receive a feed-in tariff under the solar feed-in scheme.

Any upgrade completed after 30 September 2011 that was not approved prior to 1 October 2011 will result in the solar PV system being permanently excluded from the solar feed-in scheme and unable to receive any feed-in tariff.

If you are unsure if SA Power Networks has approved your permission to connect, or would like to check your original approved peak capacity and date of approval, contact SA Power Networks on 1300 665 913 or seg@sapowernetworks.com.au

Customer group 2

Approved permission to connect received between 1 September 2010 and 30 September 2011

Solar PV system fully installed including import/export meter up to or on 30 September 2011

Feed-in tariff offered

44 cents per kWh exported to the grid until 30 June 2028.

You may also receive a retailer feed-in tariff from your electricity retailer.

Conditions

Feed-in tariff payment is limited to the first 45kWh exported to the grid each day.

A solar customer is only eligible to receive the feed-in tariff for one solar PV system.

The solar PV system must not be installed for the dominant purpose of feeding-in to the grid, so systems should be installed at locations where you normally use the most electricity.

Increasing the capacity of your system

You can install panels on an existing solar PV system up to the peak capacity approved by SA Power Networks on your original request for permission to connect at any time up until 30 June 2028.

If you wish to install beyond the original peak capacity approved by SA Power Networks, it is considered to be an upgrade.

Upgrades to the system needed to have been fully installed and connected by 30 September 2011 to remain in this customer group.

If you received approval from SA Power Networks for an upgrade prior to 1 October 2011 and completed the upgrade by 30 September 2013 you would have initially received a lower feed-in tariff of 16 cents per kWh exported to the grid. This ended on 30 September 2016, so you will no longer receive a feed-in tariff under the solar feed-in scheme.

Any upgrade completed after 30 September 2011 which was not approved prior to 1 October 2011 will result in the solar PV system being permanently excluded from the solar feed-in scheme and unable to receive any feed-in tariff.

If you are unsure if SA Power Networks has approved your permission to connect, or would like to check your original approved peak capacity and date of approval, contact SA Power Networks on 1300 665 913 or seg@sapowernetworks.com.au

Customer group 3

Approved permission to connect received between 1 September 2010 and 30 September 2011

You needed to contact SA Power networks by 30 January 2012 to book a date for your import/export meter to be installed. The meter itself could be installed after 30 January 2012, as long as the booking was made by this date.

The solar PV system needed to be fully installed and connected by the date booked with SA Power Networks to install the meter.

Feed-in tariff offered

44 cents per kWh exported to the grid until 30 June 2028.

You may also receive a retailer feed-in tariff from your electricity retailer.

Conditions

Feed-in tariff payment is limited to the first 45 kWh exported to the grid each day.

A solar customer is only eligible to receive the feed-in tariff for one solar PV system.

The solar PV system must not be installed for the dominant purpose of feeding-in to the grid, so systems should be installed at locations where you normally use the most electricity.

Increasing the capacity of your system

You can install panels on an existing solar PV system up to the peak capacity approved by SA Power Networks on your original request for permission to connect at any time up until 30 June 2028.

If you wish to install beyond the original peak capacity approved by SA Power Networks, it is considered to be an upgrade.

If you received approval from SA Power Networks for an upgrade prior to 1 October 2011 and completed the upgrade by 30 September 2013 you would have initially received a lower feed-in tariff of 16 cents per kWh exported to the grid. This ended on 30 September 2016, so you will no longer receive a feed-in tariff under the solar feed-in scheme.

Any upgrade completed after 30 September 2011 which was not approved prior to 1 October 2011 will result in the solar PV system being permanently excluded from the solar feed-in scheme and unable to receive any feed-in tariff.

If you are unsure if SA Power Networks has approved your permission to connect, or would like to check your original approved peak capacity and date of approval, contact SA Power Networks on 1300 665 913 orseg@sapowernetworks.com.au

Connections approved after 30 September 2011

  • Customers who received permission to connect between 1 October 2011 and 30 September 2013 received 16 cents per kWh exported to the grid, but this ended on 30 September 2016.
  • Customers who receive permission to connect to the grid after 30 September 2013 do not receive a feed-in tariff under the solar feed-in scheme.

Receiving payments for electricity you generate

If you have a solar contract with your energy retailer, are eligible for the solar feed-in scheme tariff and/or retailer feed-in tariff, and have exported your excess solar energy to the grid, then the solar feed-in scheme tariff and/or retailer feed-in tariff payments will be credited to your electricity account and appear on the next electricity bill issued by your retailer.

Moving house

Any home with a solar PV system may be eligible for a feed-in tariff from an electricity retailer, regardless of when it was installed. Speak with your electricity retailer of choice to find out what you may be eligible for.

If you receive a solar feed-in scheme tariff from SA Power Networks (44 c/kWh), please note it is associated with your specific solar PV system and address, rather than your electricity retailer or yourself. This means, if you move, you cannot take your solar feed-in tariff with you.

If you are moving out of your home, your solar PV system's eligibility for the solar feed-in scheme remains in place and will be available to the new occupant, up to the original SA Power Networks approved peak capacity and assuming they meet the eligibility criteria.

If you move to an address that has an existing solar PV system, you may be eligible to receive any feed-in scheme tariff applicable to the solar PV system at your new address.

To confirm feed-in scheme eligibility dates for your current address or to enquire about eligibility of your new address, contact SA Power Networks on 1300 665 913 or seg@sapowernetworks.com.au

Switching energy retailers – what happens to your solar feed-in scheme tariff?

Before switching energy retailers, first, check the new retailer knows you are a solar feed-in scheme tariff customer and is willing to accept you as a customer. Not all retailers will recognise and contract with solar customers. As long as your new retailer has agreed, you will continue to receive your solar feed-in scheme tariff payments.

Visit Energy Made Easy to compare solar offers from different retailers.

Installing battery storage or other renewable generators – what happens to your feed-in tariff?

If you receive a feed-in tariff and install an energy storage device (ie battery storage) or grid-connected renewable generator (eg micro wind turbine) on the same grid connection as your solar PV system, you will stop receiving the feed-in tariff once the device is installed. This is because it is not possible to distinguish between the electricity fed into the grid from the solar PV system and a storage device or generator.

Feed-in tariffs in rental properties

If a property is eligible for a feed-in tariff, it is paid to the electricity account holder at the property. Therefore, if the electricity account is in the landlord’s name, the tariff will be credited to the landlord. If the tenant arranges a contract as a solar customer with an energy retailer, the tariff will be credited to the tenant’s account. If you are a tenant and the electricity account is in the landlord’s name, be aware of your rights and responsibilities.

Increasing the capacity of your solar PV system or upgrading the system

When SA Power Networks approves permission to connect a solar PV system to the grid, the peak capacity of the system being approved is recorded. This is the capacity you are eligible to receive feed-in payments for if your system is under the solar feed-in scheme.

If you are unsure of the approved peak capacity of your system, check with SA Power Networks on 1300 665 913 or seg@sapowernetworks.com.au

Installing up to your SA Power Networks approved peak capacity

If your solar PV system is eligible for the solar feed-in scheme, you can install panels on your existing solar PV system up to the peak capacity approved by SA Power Networks on your original request for permission to connect at any time for the duration of your scheme, without affecting the feed-in tariff you receive.

Upgrading your system and installing more than your SA Power Networks approved peak capacity

If you wish to increase the capacity of your system above your approved peak capacity, it is considered an upgrade to your system. If your system is eligible for the solar feed-in scheme tariff, upgrading your system could result in your whole solar PV system being excluded from the scheme, meaning you will no longer receive a solar feed-in scheme tariff. You will still receive the retailer feed-in tariff.

For details about your specific circumstances, see solar feed-in scheme customer groups.

Replacing panels, inverters and other components of a solar PV system in the solar feed-in scheme

You may be able to replace your panels, inverter or other components of your system without affecting your eligibility, as long as you stay within your approved peak capacity and in line with the terms and conditions of your permission to connect. If you need to replace any components of your solar PV system, contact SA Power Networks prior to replacing the parts to ensure you retain eligibility for the scheme.

If you are unsure what the approved peak capacity of your system is, check with SA Power Networks on 1300 665 913 or seg@sapowernetworks.com.au

Why you could lose your solar feed-in tariff if your solar PV system is upgraded

The solar feed-in scheme was introduced on 1 July 2008 to help small electricity customers offset the costs of their use and encourage the use of renewable energy.

When the scheme was amended in June 2011, the government focused on making it available to as many customers as possible. However, to balance the costs associated with the scheme, limits were placed on the amount that each customer could benefit. Conditions were introduced to:

  • close the scheme to new entrants from midnight 30 September 2013
  • exclude systems operating for the dominant purpose of feeding-in to the grid
  • cap the amount that can be exported to the grid per day
  • impose a limit of one eligible system per customer
  • restrict upgrades, to manage the ongoing costs of the scheme.

Changes to a property and the solar feed-in scheme

If an address has a solar PV system that SA Power Networks has approved permission to connect to the grid, and you plan to demolish and build a new home, subdivide land, change or replace your meter, or alter your connection to the grid, it may affect your eligibility to receive solar feed-in payments. You should always check with SA Power Networks how such changes may affect you prior to commencing any work.

Key contacts

For general information about solar PV systems or help understanding the information on this page, contact the Energy Advisory Service.

For specific enquiries about your eligibility for the solar feed-in scheme, including defining if your solar PV system is operating for the dominant purpose of feeding-in to the grid, approval to connect a solar PV system to the grid, or to confirm the peak capacity of your system, contact SA Power Networks on 1300 665 913 or seg@sapowernetworks.com.au

If you have any queries about your electricity bill or payments for the electricity your system generates, contact your electricity retailer.

If you are not receiving the correct feed-in payment for your system, contact your electricity retailer or SA Power Networks. If you can’t reach an appropriate resolution, contact the Energy and Water Ombudsman SA.

For any technical installation issues, contact your installer or a licensed electrician.

If you have any installation issues and you can’t reach a suitable agreement with the installer or SA Power Networks, contact Consumer and Business Services.

Legislation and definitions

The solar feed-in scheme commenced on 1 July 2008. It was reviewed in 2009–10 and amendments to the legislation took effect from 29 July 2011. For more information, see the South Australian Legislation website:

For the latest news from SA Power Networks about the solar feed-in scheme and the legal obligations for solar PV systems, see SA Power Networks Industry News.

Dominant purpose – definition

The primary intent of the solar feed-in scheme was to encourage customers to use small solar PV systems to help offset their electricity use at the point they use it most. The intent was not that customers would offset their overall use by generating surplus electricity via a secondary low-energy consumption connection point and exporting it to the network to maximise the feed-in payments they received.

When assessing an application to connect a solar PV system to the electricity grid, SA Power Networks considers the overall electricity consumption of the whole site. If in the opinion of SA Power Networks, the main reason or ‘dominant purpose’ of a solar PV system is to feed electricity into the grid rather than to offset the electricity needs of the site, it will be excluded from receiving any feed-in tariff payments.


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Page last updated 3 July 2017

Provided by:
Department of the Premier and Cabinet
URL:
http://www.sa.gov.au/topics/energy-and-environment/energy-bills/solar-rebates-and-payments
Last Updated:
03/07/17
Printed on:
22/09/17
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