Difference Between Rebates And Feed In Tariffs In QLD

Updated: November 16, 2021

The leading two things that have attracted QLD residents to solar power are rebates and solar feed-in tariffs. The difference between rebates and feed-in tariffs can be confusing but allow me to clear it up for you.

Solar rebates are a cash discount on the price of a solar system depending on the size of the system. Solar feed-in tariffs in QLD is once you have installed your system, excess power not used by you is fed into the grid and your utility provider pays you a credit for this power. You then draw it back at night for use later in the day cashing in your credits earnt earlier.

These are the two ways the Australian government has been working with solar installers and utility companies to encourage more residents to install solar systems, but making it a solid cash positive investment.

Difference Between Solar Rebates And Solar Feed In Tariffs

If you buy solar panels, your purchase is subsidized by the government known as a QLD solar rebate. This subsidy can only be enjoyed if you buy from an authorized solar energy retailer.

The rebate is in the form of small-scale technology certificates or STC. These certificates are traded in the open market. Their price is based on the price of carbon.

Small-scale technology certificates are awarded based on the size of your system, their price, and the number of STCs per kilowatt.

Queensland is also known as the sunshine state for the many hours of sun they enjoy.

Rebates help reduce solar costs for new solar customers in QLD.

What Is A Solar Feed-In Tariff In QLD

A solar feed-in tariff in QLD is a payment you receive for the electricity you feed to the grid. It is a payment for selling electricity from your solar system.

When you install rooftop solar in your home, it transforms your electricity usage and helps to reduce electricity bills significantly.

If you have a solar PV system with a battery, you can store the excess solar energy produced from your solar power system. You can then sell the stored energy to electricity retailers by feeding it into the grid.

Solar feed-in tariffs in different parts of QLD depend on the Voluntary Retailer Contributions. Electricity retailers don’t have an obligation to pay for electricity generated from home solar systems. However, they still pay.

The feed-in tariff rates also differ from one region of QLD to another. In South East Queensland, electricity providers will pay solar feed-in tariffs from 6 to 14 cents per kilowatt-hour. In regional Queensland, rooftop solar system users have a fixed solar feed-in tariff rate set at 6.5 cents.

Difference Between Solar Rebates And Solar Feed-In Tariffs

Who Pays

One of the biggest differences between rebates and feed-in tariffs is the payer.
Rebates are paid by the government. They are a discount program provided to encourage more people to install solar panels in their homes.

On the other hand, energy retailers pay the solar feed-in tariffs to solar power producers at an agreed rate.

The Queensland Competition Authority sets the rates of the feed-in tariffs in regional Queensland.

In other parts of QLD, electricity retailers voluntarily contribute how much they want to pay for electricity exported from excess solar power in homes. These contributions then determine the feed-in tariff rate per kilowatt-hour.

How Much Is Paid

The other major difference between rebates and feed-in tariffs is the amount paid.
For the year 2020-2021, the Queensland Competition Authority has set the minimum feed-in tariff at 7.861 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The rebate rate in QLD is the highest in Australia. How much you get in rebates is determined by how where you live is zoned in terms of solar power potential.

In parts of south east QLD and the northern territory with more sunshine, domestic customers are awarded 1 small-scale technology certificate for every 1000kWh for expected production from their solar plan.

QLD solar potential is in zone 1. In this zone, you will get a rebate rating of 1.622 per kilowatt-hour.

The larger the solar system you buy, the higher the rebate you receive. The rebate rate thus ranges from $669 for a 1Kwh solar system to over $7,000 for the 10Kwh.

Reducing Rates

The Australian Government has encouraged the use of solar for over a decade. In the beginning, it offered high rebates as well as feed-in tariffs.

As more and more homes are installing solar, the cost of solar panels has gone down. Similarly, the rebates and feed-in tariffs.

Early on, QLD and the federal government had a solar bonus scheme. Those who acquired a solar power system then earned a feed-in tariff of 44 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity exported to the grid.

The rates provided by the solar bonus scheme no longer exist. Only those residential customers who installed their solar power system in those years enjoy this feed-in tariff rate.

Similarly, rebates are expected to be phased out by 2030. The difference in the reduction rate is that the feed-in tariff decreases at a higher rate than rebates

Eligibility

Another difference between the solar feed-in tariff and rebates is eligibility.

All new solar customers are eligible for rebates on their purchases. However, these purchases must be made from accredited rooftop solar installers.

The Clean Energy Council accredited solar installers from whom you can buy your solar panels. Only Clean Energy Council-approved solar installers can provide you with a small-scale trading certificate from which the rebate rate is calculated.

To get accredited solar installers, you can go to GoSolarQuotes. At the top of the page, enter your zip code. You will get three free installation estimates for your preferred solar power system.

When it comes to feed-in tariffs eligible customers must first have a solar power system that is connected to the grid. Second, your solar system must produce excess electricity. Third, you may also need an agreement with an electricity retailer.
Once you have your agreement, you must maintain an electricity account with them to remain eligible for payment at agreed rates.

Feed-in tariffs vary depending on the energy provider you choose. On the low end, the tariff rate is set at 12 cents. While on the high end, it is set at 17 cents. You can shop around for an energy retailer with a favorable feed-in tariff before you install solar panels in your home.

Often, the feed-in tariff rate you receive is only enough to offset any electricity bill you incur while using solar power. The days of a high feed-in tariff offered by the State government are long gone.

Conclusion

The above are the main differences between solar rebates and the feed-in tariff in QLD. The feed-in tariff can be enjoyed if you have a solar system that allows you to store and export excess power. And, the feed-in tariff is paid by your chosen electricity retailer.

Ben McInerney head shotAuthor: Ben McInerney is a renewable energy enthusiast with the goal of helping more Australians understand solar systems to make the best choice before they purchase. Having an accredited solar installer in the family helps give Ben access to the correct information, which allows him to break it down and make it easily understandable to the average homeowner.