Solar power tariff a fair cost for using the grid

Energy experts at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) say new tariff arrangements that include a small charge for solar panel owners in NSW to sell energy during the middle of the day help make the cost of maintaining the energy grid fairer for everyone.

After years of consultation with the community, electricity network businesses in NSW have introduced a two-way tariff system which will affect people with rooftop solar panels and batteries. Between 10am and 3pm when there is often more solar in the system, solar owners will be charged to sell electricity to the grid after they meet a daily free threshold – but will be paid an additional amount for exports between 4pm and 9pm when the system needs it most.

Quotes attributable to PIAC Director of Energy and Water Douglas McCloskey:

‘These new two-way charging arrangements aim to ensure that people with solar are making a fairer contribution to the poles and wires everyone relies on, while encouraging them to get the most out of their solar and use it in the way that best benefits us all.’

‘This doesn’t mean more money for network businesses. Instead it makes minor changes to how much different users contribute to the cost of infrastructure and reflects that people selling solar power into the grid are using poles and wires to both receive and send energy. This will see solar owners pay a fairer share for their use of the network.

‘And it will be a minor contribution – for example, Ausgrid says a typical customer would pay around 13c a week or $6.60 per year as a result of the changes. This is a very small amount relative to the benefit solar generators receive from selling their power into the grid.’

‘People with solar will still be able to get great benefits. When they use the energy generated by their own solar, that’s still free. With a few minor changes to a household setup, people can even end up better off even without buying a battery.’

‘To make best use of these new arrangements solar owners could get an efficient electric or heat pump hot water system and use solar to heat water during the day or invest in efficient reverse-cycle air-conditioning to heat and cool their home during the day. By exporting as much as possible after 4 when the whole energy system needs home solar the most, they can even get paid a premium.’

‘Of course, the best change any household with solar can make is to get rid of gas, which saves hundreds of dollars a year in unnecessary network costs.’

Media contact: PIAC Media and Communications Manager, Dan Buhagiar: 0478 739 280.

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