The Queensland Government has changed the eligibility criteria for the Solar Bonus Scheme to ensure the Scheme remains cost-effective for all Queenslanders.
What is the Solar Bonus Scheme?
The Queensland Government Solar Bonus Scheme (the Scheme) pays eligible households and other small 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 rewards customers whenever they generate more electricity than they are using – not just the balance at the end of the quarter, but whenever generation exceeds consumption during the day.
The Scheme commenced on 1 July 2008 and is designed to boost the state’s use of renewable energy, encourage energy efficiency and stimulate the solar power industry in Queensland.
Customers wishing to reap the benefits of the Scheme will need a solar PV system installed on their premises and have it connected to the electricity grid. Eligible customers will have the option to join the Scheme when the system is installed.
How much are Solar Bonus customers paid?
Customers participating in the Scheme will be paid 44 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for surplus electricity fed into the grid-almost double the current general domestic use tariff of 22.76c/kWh (Tariff 11 inc GST as at 1 July 2011).
The average customer operating a 1.5 kilowatt (kW) solar system could save over $450 per year on their electricity bill just by using less electricity from the grid. Solar Bonus Scheme customers also receive payments for exporting excess electricity back to the grid, meaning that these savings could be higher.
The amount of electricity a customer returns to the grid will depend on how much energy is being consumed while the solar panels are generating power. Customers may be able to maximise their solar bonus 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.
The customer’s grid-connected electricity consumption will also be lower (than without a solar system) as a result of the household or business consuming a portion of its electricity directly from the solar system.
Visit the EnergyWise tips section for simple ways to make your home more energy-efficient.
Who is eligible to receive the Solar Bonus?
To be eligible to receive the Solar Bonus customers must:
• consume less than 100 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity a year (the average household uses approximately 7.9MWh a year)
• purchase and install a new solar PV (photovoltaic) system (solar power system not solar hot water system) or operate an existing PV system (solar power system) that is connected to the Queensland electricity grid
• generate surplus electricity that is fed into the Queensland electricity grid
• have an agreement in place with their electricity distributor (Ergon Energy, ENERGEX or Essential Energy) and have appropriate metering installed
• have solar PV systems with a combined inverter capacity of up to 5 kilowatts
• hold an electricity account with an electricity retailer.
• submit only one application per eligible premises
How do customers receive the Solar Bonus?
The Solar Bonus of 44c/kWh will be 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.
Are investment properties eligible for the Solar Bonus Scheme?
The Solar Bonus Scheme applies to investment properties that meet all eligibility criteria. Property owners should note, however, that the Solar Bonus will be paid on the retail electricity account for that individual property. If this account is held by a tenant, then the tenant would receive the benefit of the Solar Bonus.
Reference can be found @ http://www.cleanenergy.qld.gov.au/demand-side…