On 16 June, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) released its final report on solar feed-in tariffs (the rate paid for electricity fed back into the grid from a renewable electricity generation source such as a rooftop solar panel system or wind turbine). The report sets out what IPART considers reasonable payments to NSW residential consumers.
The final report included two positive changes that responded to PIAC’s advocacy. The first was in relation to the National Electricity Market fees, which are avoided by retailers when consumers produce their own electricity. This decision will result in an additional payment of 0.1c/kWh to consumers.
PIAC also called for better monitoring and assessment of voluntary feed-in tariffs. In response, IPART proposes to include voluntary feed-in tariffs in the scope of its ‘market monitor’ role under price deregulation.
Overall, however, the IPART report is disappointing for most consumers. IPART rejected PIAC’s call for the development of a best practice method for setting Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs) in NSW and a mandatory minimum FiT of 8c/kWh in the interim (which would be consistent with what is required for households with solar in most other states).
IPART released a slightly lower final benchmark range of 4.9 9.3c/kWh for solar electricity fed back into the grid (compared with the draft range of 5.0 9.6 c/kWh), primarily due to updated wholesale market prices since the release of its draft report.