The Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) has released its final report on a mandatory solar feed-in tariff for customers in regional Queensland for 2016–17.
QCA Chair Professor Roy Green said the Minister for Energy and Water Supply, the Honourable Mark Bailey, has directed the QCA to set a suitable feed-in tariff for 2016–17 for customers in regional Queensland using the same methodology as in the previous two years.
“The Minister noted that the setting of a regional feed-in tariff for 2016–17 will enable customers in regional Queensland to access a feed-in tariff that is fair and reasonable,” Professor Green said.
“The feed-in tariff for regional customers in 2016–17 is 7.448 cents per kilowatt hour.
“This rate is 17.3% higher than last year’s tariff of 6.348 cents per kilowatt hour, mainly due to an increase in wholesale energy costs. This was driven by increased demand from Queensland-based liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants and higher fuel costs for gas-fired generation.
“Prescribed retailers will be required to pay eligible customers the recommended feed-in tariff for 2016–17.
“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.”
Professor Green said 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 certain fees levied by the Australian Energy Market Operator and the costs of energy losses associated with transporting electricity over long distances across transmission and distribution networks,” he said.
“However retailers still incur most of their normal business costs including retail operating costs and transmission and distribution charges.”
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.
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 (AER) price comparator website www.energymadeeasy.gov.au