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Solar Bonus Scheme
Gold Coast SolarSolar Bonus Scheme

Changes to the Solar Bonus Scheme


ALERT- on 23 November 2012, legislation to introduce further cost saving measures to the Solar Bonus Scheme took effect. You will be impacted by the changes if you are receiving, or have applied to receive, the 44 cent tariff and you:


  • fail to have your system connected to the network, or ready your system for connection, by 30 June 2013 or
  • change the name on the electricity account for the premises at which the solar power system is installed to another person (except when the name change occurs directly between spouses).


The new legislation will impact customers with Inverter Energy Systems over 5 kilowatts capacity differently to customers with Inverter Energy Systems 5 kilowatts capacity or less.

 


What is the Solar Bonus Scheme?

The Queensland Government Solar Bonus Scheme (the Scheme) pays eligible customers for the surplus electricity generated from solar photovoltaic (PV) panel systems, which is exported to the Queensland electricity grid. The Scheme is designed to make solar power more affordable for Queenslanders, stimulate the solar power industry and encourage energy efficiency.


The Scheme compensates customers for energy exported to the electricity grid whenever they generate more energy than they use - not just the balance at the end of the quarter, but whenever generation exceeds consumption during the day.


Customers wishing to join the Scheme will need a solar PV system installed on their premises and have it connected to the electricity grid. 



How much are Solar Bonus customers paid?

Existing customers participating in the Scheme will be paid 44 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for surplus electricity fed into the grid. New customers joining the Scheme from 10 July 2012 will be paid 8 cents per kilowatt hour for their exported electricity.


How to maximise your benefit

  • Customers on the 44 cent tariff may be able to maximise their financial benefit by improving the energy efficiency of their home to export more electricity to the grid. This could be achieved by reducing standby power consumption, switching to controlled load tariffs and minimising the use of energy intensive appliances such as air-conditioners;
  • Customers on the 8 cent tariff may be able to maximise their financial benefit by using the electricity generated from their PV system to power their home or business. Customers can discuss with their installer what size system best suits their needs. For a 1.5kW system, the average household will save around $350 on their annual electricity bill and receive around $50 per year in feed-in tariff payments. That's a total benefit of $400 a year with the 8 cent tariff.

Who is eligible to receive the Solar Bonus?


To be eligible for the Solar Bonus at the 44 cent rate, customers must:

  • Have lodged a complete network connection application with an electricity distributor before midnight 9 July 2012
  • Have their approved energy system inverter installed by 30 June 2013
  • Purchase and install a new solar PV system or operate an existing system that is connected to the Queensland electricity grid with inverter capacity not exceeding 5  kilowatts
  • Have a connection agreement in place with an electricity distributor
  • Consume less than 100 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity a year (the average home uses approximately 7.2MWh a year)
  • Hold an electricity account with an electricity retailer for the premises where the solar PV system is installed
  • Only submit one application per premise.


To be eligible for the Solar Bonus at the 8 cent rate, customers must:

  • Purchase and install a new solar PV system or operate an existing system that is connected to the Queensland electricity grid with inverter capacity not exceeding 5 kilowatts
  • Consume less than 100 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity a year (the average home uses approximately 7.2MWh a year)
  • Hold an electricity account with an electricity retailer for the premises where the solar PV system is installed
  • Have a connection agreement in place with an electricity distributor
  • Only submit one application per premise.

How do customers receive the Solar Bonus?

The Solar Bonus is paid for electricity fed into the grid at times when the solar system generates more electricity than the household or business is using at any instant.

When the meter reader visits a customer's home or business at the end of the quarter, the total amount of surplus electricity exported to the grid and the total amount imported from the grid will be read and passed onto the retailer to calculate the bill.


The customer's quarterly Solar Bonus payment for this excess electricity exported to the grid will be deducted from their total grid-connected electricity consumption charge on their electricity bill.

If the Solar Bonus payments are greater than the total grid-connected electricity consumption charges over a 12-month period, the customer is entitled to have this balance refunded, rather than maintaining an ongoing credit. 


How does the electricity metering operate?


The electricity generated by the solar power system is fed into the customer's electricity load to help power the home or business in the first instance. It is also connected to the electricity grid via a meter (or meters) which record both electricity imported from the grid and exported to the grid. When the electricity produced by the solar power system exceeds the customer's demand for electricity, this excess electricity is fed into the grid via the appropriate 'export' register of the meter.


The meter records the amount of electricity exported to the grid rather than the total amount of electricity generated by the solar system.


When the customer uses more electricity than is being produced by the solar PV system, the balance of electricity required is taken from the electricity grid via the appropriate 'import' register of the meter.

Will I need a special meter?

Customers wishing to claim the solar bonus will need electricity metering that separately records electricity imports and exports.


If required, the installation of new or additional meters will need to be arranged with the electricity distributor after your solar PV (solar power) system is installed and costs may need to be met by the individual customer.

Customers with an existing solar PV system wired in a 'gross' metering configuration will need to rewire their system to a 'net' configuration, in order to participate in the Scheme. Customers wishing to change their metering arrangements will need to consult with their electricity retailer and additional costs will need to be covered by the customer.


Further information

  • For answers to commonly asked questions, download the Solar Bonus Scheme FAQs (frequently asked questions) (PDF, 79 kB)
  • See the diagram about how a grid-connected system (PDF, 76 kB) works.
  • If you have questions check with your electricity retailer.
  • If you have further questions about the Solar Bonus Scheme, contact the Department of Energy and Water Supply call  13 43 87 or email solarbonus@dews.qld.gov.au
  • If the supplier you hired to install your solar system is placed into liquidation or receivership, visit the Office of Fair Trading's business in liquidation page.
  • You can also lodge a complaint with the Office of Fair Trading if you:
    • believe your solar panels are faulty
    • believe you have been misled about the electricity generation capability of your system
    • have paid for a solar system and have not received it within a reasonable period of time
    • believe your supplier failed to submit the relevant forms (for the 44 cent rate) by the 9 July 2012 deadline.