QCA sets regional Queensland solar feed-in tariff for 2015-16

The Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) released today its final report into a mandatory solar feed-in tariff for customers in regional Queensland.

“The State Government has asked the QCA to set a suitable feed-in tariff for 2015–16 for customers in regional Queensland using the same methodology as last year,” said QCA chairman Malcolm Roberts.

“As there is very little retailer competition in regional Queensland, Ergon Retail will be required to pay eligible customers the recommended feed-in tariff rate in 2015–16.

“The QCA uses a methodology similar to regulators in other States.  Our approach ensures customers with solar panels receive a fair return for the energy they export to the grid without imposing unjustifiable costs on the customers buying that energy.  We calculate the true market value of the energy.

When retailers buy energy from customers with solar panels, they avoid some of their normal business costs.  They do not buy wholesale energy from generators and they avoid the energy losses involved in transporting electricity long distances across transmission and distribution networks.

However, retailers still incur most of their normal business costs, including retail operating costs and transmission and distribution charges. 

The QCA and other regulators calculate the true value of the energy exported as equal to the avoided costs.  For 2015–16, the feed-in tariff for regional customers will be 6.03 cents per kilowatt hour.
“This rate is lower than last year’s tariff of 6.53 cents.  The main reason for the lower rate is that the Australian Energy Market Operator has updated its estimates for transmission and distribution losses.  Lower energy losses reduce the value of energy exported from solar panels. 

“Customers receiving the 44 cents per kilowatt hour feed-in tariff under the Solar Bonus Scheme will not be affected by the new tariff. That tariff will continue under the Solar Bonus scheme until 2028–29,” said Malcolm Roberts.

Customers in south east Queensland (those on the Energex distribution network) can choose a range of feed-in tariffs offered by competing retailers. To help customers find the best deal, retailers’ feed-in tariff rates are published on the QCA’s price comparator website: www.qca.org.au

Retailers are also required to include details of their feed-in tariff offers on their pricing fact sheets.

More information on the Solar Bonus Scheme is available from the Department of Energy and Water Supply website http://www.dews.qld.gov.au/energy-water-home/electricity/solar-bonus-scheme

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