All retailers with more than 5,000 customers must offer eligible new customers the minimum Victorian Feed-in Tariff rate. Existing customers under the Premium and Transitional schemes must be on a feed-in tariff contract and be receiving the minimum rate – this includes if the customer wishes to change retailers. The rates you are charged for electricity, and the terms and conditions offered can vary with each retailer.
It is important to shop around and to do as much research as possible on available feed-in tariff offers and associated electricity consumption rates before purchasing your solar panels or renewable energy system.
Existing customers under the Standard Feed-in Tariff need to be aware, now that the Standard scheme is closed to new applicants, you will forfeit the contract to receive the 'one-for-one' rate if you change retailers. This is because the rate is an arrangement between you and your retailer. You will however be eligible to access the current Feed-in Tariff if you do wish to change retailers.
Why does the scheme have contracts and terms and conditions?
The contract and its terms and conditions are only there to protect you - the consumer. It sets out the obligations of all parties involved and makes sure that all information is available so you can compare offers and negotiate better contract arrangements with your electricity retailer.
Before you can start being credited for solar power you must sign a contract with your electricity retailer.
You should always read through and familiarise yourself with your electricity retailer's terms and conditions before signing. If you don't understand the document, ask your retailer for more help and advice.
What you will be credited
All retailers with more than 5,000 customers must offer feed-in tariff contracts at a minimum rate set by government. Retailers with less than 5000 customers are also able to offer a feed-in tariff contract, however, if they do, they must offer the minimum rate for each tariff.
What you will pay for electricity after installation?
The rates that you pay to purchase power from electricity retailers can be very different and it's important to compare these carefully.
Any customer installing solar panels or another renewable energy system may have their electricity rates updated as a result of the installation. You should therefore always check with your electricity retailer about the possible change to your tariff structure before purchasing your panels to ensure you can make an informed decision.
This is particularly important if you currently have off-peak electricity rates for hot water, heating or air-conditioning. You may not be able to keep your current rates for dedicated off-peak loads if you accept a feed-in tariff. Make sure you consider this prior to signing-up for solar panels or a renewable energy system, or if you are already on a feed-in tariff offer before switching offers.
Many feed-in tariff customers will be offered "time-of-use" pricing – that is, a peak rate for power purchased during the day, and an off-peak rate for power bought at night and on weekends.
These rates provide an opportunity to save, particularly if you can transfer any of your electricity use to cheaper, off peak times. For example, you can use washing machines and dryers on weekends or use timers or delay start functions on appliances during the week.
It is recommended you discuss the rates and pricing structure available to you with your electricity retailer.
Comparing pricing offers
The majority of households consume between 50 per cent and 65 per cent of their annual electricity needs during peak times (typically 7am to 11pm weekdays), and between 35 per cent and 50 per cent of their annual electricity needs during the off-peak times (typically 11pm to 7am weekdays plus all weekends). This means for the average household, there could be some opportunities to save.*
When comparing offers, you should also consider:
- How much of your electricity consumption you might be able to shift to off-peak, cheaper times
- How much of your electricity usage will be supplied by solar panels (generally during the day during peak times)
- What value you'll receive from a feed-in tariff for the extra electricity supplied to the grid during the day.
Visit Victorian Energy Compare
*Note that these times and rates may vary, depending on your electricity retailer. Retailers may also be able to provide information about your usage profile to assist you with calculations about the benefit of the feed-in tariffs to you. Also check with your electricity retailer whether their published rates reflect Eastern Standard Time (EST) and whether they are adjusted for Australian Daylight Savings Time (AEST).