sa.gov.au

Solar feed-in scheme

Solar feed-in scheme closed to new entrants

The South Australian solar feed-in scheme closed to new entrants at midnight on 30 September 2013.

Any new applicant seeking permission to connect a solar system to the grid may only be eligible for the minimum retailer payment

What is the solar feed-in scheme?

Electricity customers that consume less than 160MWh per annum (defined as small customers), including households, small businesses, community buildings and churches may be eligible for the scheme if they obtained approval to connect by midnight 30 September 2013. The average household uses less than 10MWh per annum. 

You also need to have, or be planning to install, a qualifying solar PV system. To qualify the final installed solar PV system needs to:

  1. Comply with the relevant Australian Standards for safety. All accredited installers will comply with these requirements.
  2. Be connected to the electricity grid via an import/export meter - SA Power Networks will install these on request. Customers will be charged by SA Power Networks for the meter installation.
  3. Have a maximum output of 10kVA for homes with single phase, 30kVA for homes with three phase electricity. Most large home solar PV systems would be less than 10kVA, but if you are unsure check with your solar installer.

If you obtained approval to connect by midnight 30 September 2013, the feed-in tariff you may be eligible to receive, depends on the date SA Power Networks approved permission to connect your solar PV system to the grid and in some cases the dates your system and import/export meter are installed.

For more information see What am I eligible to receive?

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 to view the:

There were further amendments to the scheme that commenced on 1 February 2013:

  • Dominant purpose – the definition of an 'excluded generator' has been amended so that if there are two or more meters measuring consumption on a site, then SA Power Networks must take into account the electricity consumption of the site as a whole when enforcing the provision excluding solar systems installed for the dominant purpose of feeding-in to the grid.
  • Upgrades – solar customers who received approval from SA Power Networks for an upgrade prior to 1 October 2011 are required to have carried it out and completed the upgrade before 1 October 2013 to remain in the feed-in scheme. They will only be entitled, however, to receive 16 cents per kWh for future electricity fed into the grid for the whole of their system until 30 September 2016, subject to the other eligibility criteria including the daily export limitation of 45kWh per day.

What am I eligible to receive?

The amount of solar feed-in tariff you may be eligible to receive will depend on whether you meet the eligibility criteria for the scheme and if so, the date SA Power Networks approved permission to connect your solar PV system to the grid.

Once you know this date you can determine which solar feed-in scheme customer group relates to you.

SA Power Networks approval for permission to connect a Small Embedded Generator (SEG)

Your solar installer will normally request permission to connect on your behalf by submitting an Application for PV SEG (Small Embedded Generator) Approval Reference form to SA Power Networks.

The form also specifies the peak capacity of the solar PV system you wish to connect to the electricity grid.

If you have any queries about your application for solar PV SEG permission to connect, including whether it has been approved, the date it was approved or the peak capacity approved, contact SA Power Networks on 1300 665 913 or seg@sapowernetworks.com.au.

To see a copy of the Application for PV SEG Approval Reference form or for more information about Small Embedded Generation see the Small Embedded Generator User Guide on the SA Power Networks website.

Minimum retailer payment

All customers consuming less than 160MWh per annum with a solar system up to 10kVA (single phase) or 30kVA (three phase) may be eligible for a minimum payment from their electricity retailer for any excess electricity they export to the grid, regardless of whether they receive a 44 cents per kWh feed-in tariff, 16 cents per kWh feed-in tariff or no feed-in tariff.

The minimum retailer payment, which is credited on solar customers' electricity bills when they generate more electricity than they use, reflects the fair and reasonable value of fed-in electricity to electricity retailers.

The Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) has released a price determination for the solar minimum retailer payment that applies from 1 January 2016. The minimum retailer payment is 6.8c/kWh, excluding GST.

The new rate was determined after an extensive consultation process, which included the release of an issues paper, a draft recommendation and the consideration of submissions made by the public and industry stakeholders. For more information see ESCOSA's Review of the Solar Feed-in Tariff Premium.

All electricity retailers who contract with eligible solar customers are required to provide at least this minimum retailer payment to solar customers but may choose to credit a higher amount.

Customers will receive this payment in addition to any feed-in tariff received. The 45kWh per day export limit which is applied to some feed-in tariff groups is not applied to the minimum retailer payment.

Feed-in scheme customer groups

Customer group 1

  • Approved permission to connect received by 31 August 2010.
  • 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.
  • Solar system fully installed by 30 September 2011.

Customer group 3

  • Approved permission to connect received between 1 September 2010 and 30 September 2011.
  • Booking made with SA Power Networks for the installation of an import/export meter within 120 days of 1 October 2011.
  • Solar PV system fully installed and connected at any time between receiving approval to connect and the meter booking cut off date.

Customer group 4

  • Approved permission to connect received between 1 October 2011 and 30 September 2013.
  • Fully install and connect your solar PV system at any time between receiving approval to connect and the meter booking cut off date. 
Customer group 5
  • Approved permission to connect received after 30 September 2013.

Customer group 1

  • Approved permission to connect received by 31 August 2010.
  • System fully installed and connected by 29 January 2012.

Approved permission to connect received up to or on  

31 August 2010

Solar system fully installed including import/export meter by 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 minimum retailer payment from your electricity retailer.

Increasing the capacity of your system

You can install panels on an existing solar 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 this is described as 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 your eligibility will have changed to Customer group 4.

Any upgrade completed after 30 September 2011 which was not approved prior to 1 October 2011 will result in the solar 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 system fully installed by 30 September 2011.

Approved permission to connect received between

1 September 2010 and 30 September 2011

Solar 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 minimum retailer payment from your electricity retailer.

Conditions

  1. Feed-in tariff payment is limited to the first 45kWh exported to the grid each day.
  2. A solar customer is only eligible to receive the feed-in tariff in respect of one solar system.
  3. 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 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 this is described as an upgrade.

Upgrades to the system need 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 your eligibility will have changed to Customer group 4.

Any upgrade completed after 30 September 2011 which was not approved prior to 1 October 2011 will result in the solar 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.
  • Booking made with SA Power Networks for the installation of an import/export meter within 120 days of 1 October 2011.
  • Solar PV system fully installed and connected at any time between receiving approval to connect and the meter booking cut off date.

Approved permission to connect received between

Between 1 September 2010 and 30 September 2011

Booking made with SA Power Networks for the installation of an import/export meter and system installation

You must have made a booking with SA Power Networks within 120 days of 1 October 2011 to have an import/export meter installed.

Only the booking needed to have been made within the 120 days, the meter did not need to be fully installed before the end of this period for you to be eligible.

The solar PV system needed to be fully installed and connected by the meter booking cut off date above.

Feed-in tariff offered

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

You may also receive a minimum retailer payment from your electricity retailer.

Conditions

  1. Feed-in tariff payment is limited to the first 45kWh exported to the grid each day.
  2. A solar customer is only eligible to receive the feed-in tariff in respect of one solar system.
  3. 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 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 this is described as 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 your eligibility will have changed to Customer group 4.

Any upgrade completed after 30 September 2011 which was not approved prior to 1 October 2011 will result in the solar 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 4

  • Approved permission to connect received between 1 October 2011 and 30 September 2013.
  • Fully install and connect your solar PV system at any time between receiving approval to connect and the meter booking cut off date.

Approved permission to connect received between

1 October 2011 and 30 September 2013

Booking made with SA Power Networks for the installation of an import/export meter and system installation

The latest date you can make a booking with SA Power Networks to have your import/export meter installed is by midnight 29 January 2014.

However, you can install and connect your solar PV system at any time between receiving approval to connect and the meter booking cut off date above.

Feed-in tariff offered

16 cents per kWh exported to the grid until 30 September 2016.

You may also receive a minimum retailer payment from your electricity retailer.

Conditions

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

2. A solar customer is only eligible to receive the feed-in tariff in respect of one solar system.

3. 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 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 September 2016.

If you wish to install beyond the original peak capacity approved by SA Power Networks this is described as an upgrade.

Any upgrade will result in the solar 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 5

Approved permission to connect received after 30 September 2013.

Approved permission to connect received after

30 September 2013

Feed-in tariff offered

No feed-in tariff offered but you may be eligible to receive a minimum retailer payment from your electricity retailer.

How do I receive payments for the electricity I generate?

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

Increasing the capacity of your solar PV system and upgrades

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.

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

Whichever customer group you are in, you can install panels on your existing solar 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.

Installing more than your SA Power Networks approved peak capacity

If you install additional capacity, beyond the peak capacity originally approved by SA Power Networks, this is described as an upgrade to your system.

Depending on which customer group you are in, upgrading your system could result in your whole solar PV system being excluded from the solar feed-in scheme and unable to receive a feed-in tariff.

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

Why could I lose my solar feed-in tariff if my solar PV system is upgraded?

The solar feed-in scheme was introduced on 1 July 2008 with the purpose of helping small electricity customers offset the costs of their use, as well as encouraging the use of renewable energy.

When the scheme was amended in June 2011, the government focused on ensuring it would be available to as many customers as possible, while limiting the costs associated with the scheme.

To do this it is necessary to limit the amount each customer can benefit from the scheme, so 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
  • to impose a limit of one eligible system per customer
  • restrict upgrades.

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

When SA Power Networks approves permission to connect for a solar PV system, the peak capacity of the system being approved is recorded and this is the capacity you are eligible to receive feed-in payments for.

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

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 circumstances arise where solar system components are required to be replaced, it is strongly recommended you contact SA Power Networks prior to replacing the parts to ensure you retain eligibility for the scheme.

If you wish to increase the capacity of your system above your approved peak capacity this is described as an upgrade - see Increasing the capacity of your PV system and upgrades

Changes to a property and the solar feed-in scheme

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

Moving house – can I still receive my existing solar feed-in payments at my new address?

You cannot move the solar feed-in tariff you receive to your new address. When you move the tariff will become available to the new occupant of your former address, up to the original SA Power Networks approved peak capacity and assuming the new occupants meet the eligibility criteria.

If you move to another address with an existing feed-in eligible solar system, you may be eligible to receive the feed-in tariff applying to the solar system at your new address. To enquire about your eligibility for the feed-in tariff of your new address contact SA Power Networks on 1300 665 913 or seg@sapowernetworks.com.au

Changing energy provider – can I still receive my existing solar feed-in payments?

If you are planning to change energy providers, you should first check that your new provider knows that you are a solar feed-in tariff customer and is willing to accept you as a customer.

As long as your new provider has agreed, you will continue to receive your feed-in tariff payments.

Installing energy storage – can I still receive my existing solar feed-in payments?

A customer that receives the solar feed-in tariff and installs an energy storage device will cease receiving the solar feed-in tariff once the energy storage 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 the energy storage device.


Related information

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

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

For further general enquiries about the solar feed-in scheme contact the Energy Advisory Service.


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Page last updated: 16 February 2016