How to mitigate solar-power bill shock

RACV RoyalAuto magazine

Installing solar panels

RACV members who have solar power panels installed at their homes may be among the 67,000 Victorians affected by changes to the Victorian Transitional Feed-in Tariff scheme.

On 31 December 2016 feed-in tariffs reduced from a minimum of 25 cents per kWh to about 5 cents per kWh for many Victorians.

The Alternative Technology Association estimates that affected Victorian households could be between $1000 and $4000 worse off, depending on the size of their solar set-up.

To know if you are affected, check your tariff rate and/or the date solar was installed at your home. If unsure, check with your electricity retailer.

Properties that had solar installed before 31 December 2011 and signed up to a Premium Feed-in Tariff will keep their feed-in tariff of 60 to 65 cents per kWh until 2024, provided they do not add extra solar panels to their system.

RACV’s head of home products, Juan Carlos Lopez, said Victorians affected by the reduction in the feed-in tariffs can mitigate “bill shock” by taking some simple steps, including:

  • Make your home more energy efficient. Use draft excluders on doors and windows, check roof insulation and change light globes to more energy-efficient LEDs.
  • Increase electricity consumption from solar by programming washing machines, dishwashers and other household machines to run during the day on solar power. Also heat your water using solar during the day.
  • Shop around for a better deal, one that takes into account the feed-in tariff rate, consumption rates and supply charge, along with discounts and other offers or elements. In Victoria energy retailers with more than 5000 customers must offer a feed-in tariff payment to new customers.
  • Consider adding a battery. If you have high electricity consumption, a larger system can be considered but in many cases may not be economically viable until battery prices are more competitive.

Visit: racv.com.au/yourhome

*Update: From 1 July 2017, households with solar on the current minimum feed-in tariff rate will move onto a new minimum tariff rate of 11.3 cents.  

Written by RACV
January 23, 2017