Solar households lag behind big generators in profit
Author: Darvin Tocmo Date Posted:8 July 2016
Big generators pass the rising cost of electricity to household consumers. It’s apparent that solar households do not benefit as much.
Australia’s electricity consumers suffer from 10 percent and above increase. This translates to an additional $200 in annual electricity bill. To those living in South Australia, the figure runs up to $260. The increase is the result of the higher wholesale price of electricity, brought by the rising cost of gas.
The biggest utilities simply pass the additional cost to consumers and still get to keep huge profits. Those with residential solar panels would think they have the same luck. However, it seems the power they give back to the grid does not draw the same deal as big generators.
Poor rate for solar power producers in Victoria
While utilities with large amounts of coal and gas on hand enjoy huge increases, solar households don’t get as much. The rate does not even change in some states.
Victoria appears to have one of the worst scenarios for residential solar power producers. They get only 5c/kWh based on Essential Services Commission’s formula. The ESC also predicted a fall in wholesale prices that caused the feed-in tariff to go lower than last year’s 6.2c/kWh.
The Victoria government appeals to the ESC for a fair solar tariff. Moreover, they want ESC to consider solar energy’s advantages, for instance, avoided and deferred network peaks. Other solar advantages are deferred infrastructure spending and environmental benefits. The government suggests highlighting these benefits instead of just looking at costs
The rate in other parts of Australia
NSW and south-east Queensland consumers also made attempts to get a better deal. Major south-east Queensland retailers like Origin and AGL pay 6c/kWh. Australian Energy Regulator states, however, that wholesale prices average 8.9c/kWh in the March quarter and were even higher in the June quarter.
This affects solar households. The local network operator, Energex, reported that 126,622 households with 474MW of capacity are at this rate. On the other hand, 180,000 households with 558MW of capacity still enjoy the premium tariffs that last until 2028.
It is important to note that not all states experience this. Tasmania, for instance, confirmed an increase in solar feed-in tariffs, and now enjoying 6.67c/kWh. Solar households in regional areas are also getting better deals. Reports reveal that is likely to get better deals in off-grid towns where solar competes against diesel cost.