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What happens when the Solar Bonus Scheme ends?

The New South Wales Solar Bonus Scheme ends on 31 December 2016.

For Solar households currently on these tariffs, it is time to start thinking about the implications, and what to do next.

When the scheme ends, those customers on the 60 c/kWh or 20 c/kWh gross feed-in-tariff will be exporting 100% of the energy generated by their solar PV system directly to the grid, with no guaranteed financial return.  

A possible scenario might see a PV system owner selling their generated solar energy to the grid for ~6c/kWh, while buying it back at ~30c/kWh. (often simultaneously)

To switch from  gross metering to  net metering where a PV system owner supplies their own electrical load first, the connection point of the Solar system requires a physical change and the meter most often will need to be replaced with a bi-directional net meter. 

When Solar Bonus Scheme payments finish on Dec 31   2016, Solar Power System owners who are currently on a Gross Feed-in Tariff will want to have a net meter installed. 

 Solar Power System owners who currently benefit from the Solar Bonus Scheme could consider installing  battery storage in order to maximise self consumption of generated energy after the gross feed-in tariff period ends.

Increasing the overall level of  self consumption  of energy produced by your system will be desirable, and can  be achieved by the application of various smart energy management technologies that are currently available.

Solar Bonus Scheme
The Solar Bonus Scheme (the Scheme) provides a feed-in tariff of 20 cents per kilowatt hour (c/kWh) or 60 c/kWh for eligible customers with small scale solar or wind generators that are connected to the grid. 
The Scheme commenced on 1 January 2010 and operates until 31 December 2016.
The regulatory framework of the Scheme is set out in the Electricity Supply Act 1995 and the Electricity Supply (General) Regulation 2001.

What happens once the Scheme ends?
The Scheme is legislated to end on 31 December 2016. This date has not changed. 
Customers will continue to receive Scheme tariff payments until 31 December 2016, provided they remain eligible.
Scheme customers will not receive Scheme tariff payments for generation that occurs after 31 December 2016. 
However, customers may still benefit financially from having a small scale solar generator connected to the grid with a net meter. 

Customers receiving the 60 cent tariff payment
The majority of 60 cent tariff customers currently have a gross meter installed. 
Gross meters export all the generated energy in return for Feed-in Tariff credits of 60 c/kWh.
The customer purchases their energy at their energy retailers current retail rate (which is lower than the feed-in tariff). 
Customers who receive the 60 cent Scheme tariff payment are best off with a gross meter. 
If you are currently receiving the 60 cent tariff, you  need to consider changing to a net meter as the Scheme draws to an end.

Customers receiving the 20 cent tariff payment
If your system is on the  20 cent tariff, changing to a net meter now would be  advantageous. 
With a net meter customers are able to consume power generated at the time of generation, thus avoiding the higher retail rate.
Only the fraction of energy generation that is not consumed is exported.

Gross meter  vs Net meter.

What is a net meter?
A net meter records the amount of energy drawn from the grid and the amount of energy exported to the grid. 
With  net metering, the electricity you generate is used to supply your own energy requirements and any excess generation  not used in the premises is exported to the grid. 
By reducing the need for grid electricity consumption, you can reduce your electricity bill  by avoiding the purchase of electricity from the network. Energy bill savings will increase as electricity prices increase.

What is a gross meter?
With  gross metering, all electricity you generate is exported to the grid. 
A 'gross' meter measures the total amount of electricity generated by a Solar Power system.

FAQ

15. Can I switch from a 'gross' to a 'net' meter and still receive the Scheme tariffs?
Yes. You can switch from a gross meter to a net meter (and vice versa) at any time during the course of the Scheme.
This change will not have an impact on the tariff rate that is received.

16. Can I have different types of meters attached to my Scheme generator?
Only one type of meter can be attached to each generating system (gross or net). One generator cannot have two meters.  
However, you can have two separately metered generators. For example, 6 solar panels could be connected to a net meter and another 6 panels could be connected to a gross meter. However, only one generator can receive the Scheme tariffs.
Extract  from: Solar Bonus Scheme FAQ

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Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650
Office Number - 0269 710 084
Alex Manley, Commercial Inquiries - 0419 017 775
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