Regional QLD solar feed-in tariff to rise

The Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) has released its final report on a mandatory solar feed-in tariff for customers in regional Queensland for 2017–18.

The Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply, the Honourable Mark Bailey MP, directed the QCA to set a feed-in tariff for 2017–18 for customers in regional Queensland.

QCA Chair Professor Roy Green said “The feed-in tariff for regional customers in 2017–18 is 10.102 cents per kilowatt hour—the highest  since the QCA began setting the tariff in 2014–15.

“This rate is about 35% higher than last year’s tariff of 7.448 cents per kilowatt hour, mainly due to an increase in wholesale energy costs. The increase was driven by changes to the demand–supply balance. Demand for electricity was driven by, among other things, the ramp-up of electricity-intensive in-field gas compression associated with the LNG export facilities. A number of factors have affected supply, including higher gas prices and the closure of Hazelwood power station in Victoria.

“Prescribed retailers will be required to pay eligible customers the recommended feed-in tariff for 2017–18.

“The QCA’s approach ensures customers with solar panels receive a fair return for the energy they export to the grid. The QCA calculates the true market value of the energy,” said Professor Green.

Professor Green said when retailers buy energy from customers with solar panels, they avoid some of their normal business costs.

“Buying energy from customers with solar panels saves retailers from paying wholesale energy costs, certain fees levied by the Australian Energy Market Operator and the cost of energy losses associated with transporting electricity long distances. These are the avoided costs we estimate to calculate the solar feed-in tariff.

“However, retailers still incur most of their normal business costs, including retail operating costs and transmission and distribution charges. That is why the solar feed-in tariff is less than regulated electricity prices. Customers generating solar electricity are like very small generators. The final product that retailers sell involves a lot of other costs, which is reflected in the difference between the solar feed-in tariff and regulated electricity prices,” he said.

Customers receiving the 44 cents per kilowatt hour feed-in tariff under the Solar Bonus Scheme will not be affected by the new tariff. The 44 cent per kilowatt hour feed-in tariff will continue under the Solar Bonus Scheme until 2028.

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 Australian Energy Regulator’s price comparator website

All enquiries: Cole Lawson Communications, 07 3221 2220

View project