Solar tariffs

28 January 2016
Solar tariffs

When your solar system generates more power than you need, the extra power is put back into the main grid and you get paid for it. 

It used to be great. 

Even though you might not have been home to use all the power you’d generated in those four peak hours, you still got paid a reasonable amount of money for it. This payment was enough offset the costs of pulling the power back down at night time when you needed it (peak household usage is between 4pm and 8pm). 

The problem now faced by Victorians is that you only get 6.2 cents when you pump a kilowatt of power back onto the grid. To pull it back down you have to pay 36c.

As of next month, solar tariffs will drop again and Victorians will get even less - 5 cents per kilowatt hour.

While feed-in tariffs differ from state to state and from retailer to retailer (you can read more here), it’s safe to say no one is over the moon about their solar rebates.

If you’re running a solar system without battery storage you really have two options:

Shift as much of your energy use as possible to daylight hours. A good way to do this is to put a timer on your hot water system and pool pumps, and set large appliances like dishwashers and dryers to operate during peak sunlight hours.

Invest in battery storage. You can save the energy and draw it back whenever you need and it costs you nothing.

I personally think that anyone installing a solar system without battery storage is insane. But of course I’d say that, I’m a battery nerd.

If you’re considering going solar but not sure whether to invest in a battery storage system, please, please at least listen to this advice:  make sure your system is battery enabled.

  • It’s likely that power companies will change the way they charge as a result of the battery storage movement– billing on demand instead of usage.
  • The way they’ll do that is to look at your power consumption over an average year, and find the moment you were using the most power.
  • This might be a day where you had the heater pumping, clothes dryer on all day and everyone had long showers. Let’s say you peaked at 5 kilowatts that day.
  • The power company will then say – “Ok so you might only use around 2 kilowatts each day on average, but we need to make 5 kilowatts available just in case and we’re going to bill you for that availability.”
  • It happens in the commercial world all the time. Whether you use the power or not is irrelevant.
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