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  1. #1
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    Default Solar Panel Feed in Tariff

    I am in NSW so things may be different in other states but the other day I received a email saying that our feed in tariff was being reduced to 9.5c/kw (Energy Australia) due to the fall in wholesale prices. I may hold a simplistic view on this but if the wholesale buying price is dropping shouldn't the retail rate be dropping as well? I would also be interested in what others are being paid and what energy company they are with.

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  3. #2
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    I'm paying using Origin energy in Canberra, only 17.224 cents per kWh - that's for USAGE!

    In feeds are generous when looked at in this light... 11 cents and 20 cents... Solar feed-in tariffs - ACT NSW QLD SA VIC - Origin Energy


    Keep in mind this is Canberra. We are accustomed to others paying for our luxuries via their taxes

  4. #3
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    We had our PV system for about 10 months and only get 7c/kWh. Here in WA systems installed after Aug 31 2020 only get 3c!

    WA is looking at supply tariffs during the day of just 8c/kWh between 9am and 3pm and 55c/kWh between 3 and 9pm!

    Guess what we'll be doing - sealing the house and running ACs flat out between 9am and 3pm, and then turning off some of the systems after that.

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Parks View Post
    I am in NSW so things may be different in other states but the other day I received a email saying that our feed in tariff was being reduced to 9.5c/kw (Energy Australia) due to the fall in wholesale prices. I may hold a simplistic view on this but if the wholesale buying price is dropping shouldn't the retail rate be dropping as well? I would also be interested in what others are being paid and what energy company they are with.
    LOL! Retail prices are totally unrelated to wholesale prices, whether we're discussing electricity or anything else. Selling price is determined by greed, and "what can we get away with charging", which is why the power companies, like every other company, offer (at least on the surface) better deals to attract new customers whilst leaving the existing customers on the higher prices.

    With electricity it's even more complicated, because the wholesale price of the power is a relatively small part of the retail price of electricity - the "poles and wires" charges far outweigh the actual cost of the power, or at least they did the last time I checked. Wholesale electricity was less than 3c/kWh last I checked, which makes the feed-in tariff seem pretty good, whilst the poles and wires charges ("network charges", though they are not listed separately on your power bill) were about 50% of your bill at somewhere around 15c/kWh.

    The way the maths normally works is that the feed-in tariff is set to lure new customers on the assumption that most people don't actually export all that much power. As exports go up the power companies start to feel that tariff more, and so use any excuse to lower it - but in fact it is way too high anyway compared to the general wholesale price of power.

    Note: I'm not in any way anti "rooftop solar", in fact I currently have about 40kW of solar installed. I am, however, realistic about the costs. When solar first came in, people complained that the feed-in tariff was too low, because they failed to understand that the "gold plated" network charged such a large amount to "transport" power. The assumption that "I pay $0.xx so I should get the same" does not allow for "transport costs". It is just unfortunate that in Australia, for various reasons, our "network" is massively costly! If the power company buy my power for much more than wholesale price, they still have to add that 15c/kWh "transport" charge to the cost, and then even if they sell it at a premium "green power" price it's barely profitable.

    By the way, Origin currently pay us 6c, IIRC.

  6. #5
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    It is a game of we will give you a deal if you sign up today. I was just given a quote of 17c/kwh FIT by Origin for the first 12 months and a buy rate 4c lower than what I am paying at present. I don't think the free market principle has worked really well in the energy supply sector.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Parks View Post
    It is a game of we will give you a deal if you sign up today. I was just given a quote of 17c/kwh FIT by Origin for the first 12 months and a buy rate 4c lower than what I am paying at present. I don't think the free market principle has worked really well in the energy supply sector.
    Remember to check all the details! We went through the process on a business account; on some of the offers the daily service charge was significantly higher and on one there was a "price change after the first xxkWh's per quarter" clause. There are many things they do to try to claw back money whilst still *apparently* offering a fabulous deal......

    But no, there is no free market. The poles and wires are far too expensive and the retailers are stuffing everything up in their attempts to make more money. We used to have Country Energy who employed their own meter readers, and they never missed a reading. Now we have Origin Energy who employ a contract meter reader, and the excuses for failing to read the meters are pathetic. We've had several saying the meter was "overgrown with vegetation". I complained and sent them a video, taken 3 days after I came out of hospital having had spinal surgery (I got home from hospital and founds the bill waiting), where I walked (slowly!) to the meter filming with my phone. There was no vegetation whatsoever, it was in the middle of a drought! Their eventual excuse was that the meter reader was driving a hire car whilst waiting for their new ute to be delivered, and they couldn't drive it across a paddock. Well that's not the same as "overgrown with vegetation", and it's also rather stupid given that their entire job is reading farm meters on a rural road. On another occasion they said the "gate was locked", because they ignored the directions to the meter (recorded in their own system) and tried to get in the back gate. I no longer even bother complaining - my son and I were working on fences last week and we watched the meter reader visit the first three meters and then simply turn around and drive off, making no attempt to read the fourth meter to which my son and I had slashed a path, moved out the sheep and opened all the gates the previous week to allow easy access.... I wonder if the meter will be "overgrown with vegetation" or "infested with insects" this time!!!

    I've also got video footage of them leaving gates open and letting out livestock on my farm (they denied this until I emailed the video to them), and we had a gate on a council road left open (the same day as the meters were read, but "it wasn't them" even though the only family up that road would never be that stupid) allowing over a thousand of our neighbours sheep in to a paddock that we had been reserving to feed lambs.

    Overall, they're not that impressive!

  8. #7
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    Perth
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    Our fixed supply charge is about $1 a day (not kw/hr rated)

  9. #8
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    looking at this logically...

    A FIT guarantees to buy your excess electricity whenever you produce it... There is no other market on the planet that does this...

    A genuine market supplies a "demand".

    In the case of solarPV,all production is at exactly the same time. a couple of hours around lunchtime. Because it *all* produces at the exactly same time, it often produces a glut ( the actual definition of uncontrolled production of marginal units of a good or service) Economics therefore dictates that the price must fall, because there is more production than there is demand. Anyone who has ever been in business will know this.

    If you want your product to be valuable, you need to produce it and offer it for sale when demand is high and competition is low.

    Many governments have said all sorts of things to win the popular vote, but the public seems to have been conned into believing the unbelievable, based on rather hollow and frankly childish rhetoric.

    IF YOU demand electricity 24/7, then the simple fact that the market was forced to buy unwanted electricity at a premium MUST tell you that the price of electricity in any non peak generation time slot must rise cover the cost of the unwanted electricity bought a non-commercial prices during lower demand periods. Personally I demand that my power saw must operate when I turn the switch, Its similar to my absolute refusal to buy any car that only operates in favorable weather conditions, as distinct from when I turn the key...

    The end result of these things is always _tears_ when they are driven by supply, rather than demand. It works when the volume of supply is small and the demand for the resource is large, but as soon as the supply starts to generate a bit of volume, the market will determine when it will buy, and at what price.... Because it has choice... Producers of weather dependent electricity do not have choice about whether they can produce, nor do they influence the demand curve at any production interval.

    In fact now that solarPV is quite "common" you can expect domestic PV to be curtailed, just as wind turbines are curtailed during stormy weather. This may not be a popular thing, but it is reality because over production strains the grid... you may have heard about "gold plating", to guarantee reliability, which raises costs.

    Not saying anything is good,or bad. What I am saying is, how much a MWh can you sell electricity for between 6pm and 9am and how much can PV produce... If I have a shortfall in supply, how can I ask PV producers to increase output? Not all KWh are equal, which is why we have peak and non peak consumption, which is also why FITs are a demonstrably artificial construct, which will eventually fail, just as every other means of propping up a market to achieve a political agenda has always failed...

  10. #9
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    Sep 2009
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    Newcastle
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    Default

    In NSW AGL was the best deal I could find.

    FIT 17c
    Supply ~29

    I often generate much more than I use. You can certainly get cheaper supply. I was with PowerShop before and paying ~22c, but FIT was only 7c.

  11. #10
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    Sep 2011
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    Hervey Bay
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    QLD Ergon rates (State owned - no competition)

    Feed in 7.861c / KWh
    General Domestic use - 21.756 / KWh
    Night rate use (water heating) 14.932 / KWh
    Service fee 90.676 cents / day

    Jeff

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by T91 View Post
    looking at this logically...

    A FIT guarantees to buy your excess electricity whenever you produce it... There is no other market on the planet that does this...

    A genuine market supplies a "demand".

    In the case of solarPV,all production is at exactly the same time. a couple of hours around lunchtime. Because it *all* produces at the exactly same time, it often produces a glut ( the actual definition of uncontrolled production of marginal units of a good or service) Economics therefore dictates that the price must fall, because there is more production than there is demand. Anyone who has ever been in business will know this.

    If you want your product to be valuable, you need to produce it and offer it for sale when demand is high and competition is low.

    Many governments have said all sorts of things to win the popular vote, but the public seems to have been conned into believing the unbelievable, based on rather hollow and frankly childish rhetoric.

    IF YOU demand electricity 24/7, then the simple fact that the market was forced to buy unwanted electricity at a premium MUST tell you that the price of electricity in any non peak generation time slot must rise cover the cost of the unwanted electricity bought a non-commercial prices during lower demand periods. Personally I demand that my power saw must operate when I turn the switch, Its similar to my absolute refusal to buy any car that only operates in favorable weather conditions, as distinct from when I turn the key...

    The end result of these things is always _tears_ when they are driven by supply, rather than demand. It works when the volume of supply is small and the demand for the resource is large, but as soon as the supply starts to generate a bit of volume, the market will determine when it will buy, and at what price.... Because it has choice... Producers of weather dependent electricity do not have choice about whether they can produce, nor do they influence the demand curve at any production interval.

    In fact now that solarPV is quite "common" you can expect domestic PV to be curtailed, just as wind turbines are curtailed during stormy weather. This may not be a popular thing, but it is reality because over production strains the grid... you may have heard about "gold plating", to guarantee reliability, which raises costs.

    Not saying anything is good,or bad. What I am saying is, how much a MWh can you sell electricity for between 6pm and 9am and how much can PV produce... If I have a shortfall in supply, how can I ask PV producers to increase output? Not all KWh are equal, which is why we have peak and non peak consumption, which is also why FITs are a demonstrably artificial construct, which will eventually fail, just as every other means of propping up a market to achieve a political agenda has always failed...
    All very good and pertinent points. I think that there will be a demand for peer to peer electricity trading and a few ideas have already been tried IIRC. The seller pays a price to use the grid infrastructure and then sets a price for selling, possibly brokers will be somewhere in the mix if needed. It is in the early stages of being tested and the whole idea must be causing energy companies to have some genuine worries about the effect it will have on the traditional supply market.

    Here is an article on it What is Peer-to-Peer Energy Trading? | Infinite Energy

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by T91 View Post
    looking at this logically...
    Mostly true and logical, except that "gold plating" the grid didn't actually "gold plate" it very much, but seems rather to have spent an awful lot of money on change for changes sake and increased costs without benefit. As an example, about 15 years ago we upgraded (modernised) an irrigation pump and installed a VFD. The VFD reported a high grid voltage, so I contacted (as it was back then) Country Energy. Two guys came out in a ute, measured the voltage, scurried up the pole and re-tapped the transformer. The job took perhaps 5 minutes plus travelling time for 2 guys and a ute. Contrast this to another situation, perhaps 8 years ago, when we had a newly installed solar inverter report a high voltage. Once again I contacted the power company, whatever it was at that time. Two guys came out in a ute and told me that my meter was probably wrong and they'd check with their "official" meter. It read about 0.1V different from mine, and still way out of specification. But that was no longer enough. They had to monitor it for 2 weeks. So, and I kid you not, a week or two later 4 utes, 2 trucks and a small army of guys turned up. They mucked about for perhaps an hour, and installed a monitor on the transformer. Two weeks later the same army came back and took the meter away for analysis. Yes, the voltage was high so they would adjust it. The "team" that returned to re-tap the transformer had to be seen to be believed, and it took them a couple of hours to do the job, although the actual "up the pole" time was still only a couple of minutes.

    In both these cases we were the only users connected to the transformer, yet this job, in perhaps 5 years, went from 2 guys and 10 minutes to a bunch of vehicles, a small army and tens (perhaps hundreds) of man-hours. That's not gold plating, that's just spending money.

    Equally, all our meters have now been replaced with "smart" meters that they can control (read?) via the mobile phone network. Except that we have no mobile phone coverage! The guys who have replaced the meters (sub contractors, not employees) have done them one at a time - so 4 separate 2 hour drives - each time "testing" several different meters because, apparently, "some will work with a weaker phone signal even though they are all supposedly identical" and finally leaving a meter that won't connect because there's no signal. Many $ spent, but no plating!

    The peak solar generation being all around the same time I entirely understand (as with the real-world financials of all this!), but if I buy a Telsla power wall and move my exports to later in the day, do I get paid more? [Not a serious question, obviously I'd just use that power overnight! But like the "Snowy 2" project, energy storage is interesting to consider....]

  14. #13
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    I was just reminded of another example of increased spending without actually "plating" anything. In our area, both the RMS and the electricity company use a contract company to do their tree maintenance. This company now employs a person in a vehicle to drive around and spot "problems" - i.e. trees encroaching on the measured "clear zone" around roads and power wires. This would be great, except that clearly such contractors don't get paid unless they actually DO something, which must create some pressure to "find" work that needs doing. In my experience, native Australian trees, especially in the drought that we've had for the previous few years don't grow very quickly (rainforest trees excepted!), yet the "spotter" for this company can be seen touring the area very frequently. They have removed trees (branches or often entire trees) on the sides of our road perhaps 3 times in the last couple of years, and we have just received a note to say they will be cutting vegetation on our property for the second time in around 12 months. Why? If they cut back everything to a safe distance a year ago, there's no way that anything has grown enough to threaten the power lines in that time. I can only see three possible reasons; either they don't do a very good job and have to return to fix it, or they're trimming to the exact clearance line such that 25mm of growth requires retrimming, or they're simply inventing work to make more money.... Costs without benefits due to the use of contractors!

  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warb View Post
    The peak solar generation being all around the same time I entirely understand (as with the real-world financials of all this!), but if I buy a Telsla power wall and move my exports to later in the day, do I get paid more? [Not a serious question, obviously I'd just use that power overnight! But like the "Snowy 2" project, energy storage is interesting to consider....]
    In WA there is a proposal to pay people with batteries nothing for their excess power over and above their battery storage capCITY!

  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warb View Post

    With electricity it's even more complicated, because the wholesale price of the power is a relatively small part of the retail price of electricity - the "poles and wires" charges far outweigh the actual cost of the power, or at least they did the last time I checked. Wholesale electricity was less than 3c/kWh last I checked, which makes the feed-in tariff seem pretty good, whilst the poles and wires charges ("network charges", though they are not listed separately on your power bill) were about 50% of your bill at somewhere around 15c/kWh.
    Warb

    3c/KWh, which equates to $30/MWh is how the wholesale market refers to power generation, but this figure is a little out of date. That price was typical about ten years ago or more. Wholesale price of electricity is both dynamic and volatile. It varies from state to state and season to season. Queensland is about the cheapest state and South Australia seems to be the most expensive. Winter and summer are the periods of highest demand.

    To illustrate this volatility see this example of the QLD price over two recent days, which would appear to support your figure of $30/MWhr:

    Spot price 11, 12 dec.PNG

    but have a look at these two days from about a week earlier:

    Spot price 3,4 dec.PNG

    These were just the first two examples I pulled up and I was not expecting that difference, but it does serve to illustrate how different things can be.

    What is the overall average price? I am not really sure. About a year ago before Covid-19 reared it's ugly head I would have said about $80/MWhr (8c/KW/hr), but now a little less than that. I would hazard a guess at $60/MWhr: This is in QLD. It will be slightly higher in the other states.

    There is another issue in that the figure above refers to the spot price. Retailers negotiate contracts with the generators to avoid the price spikes. These contracts are at fixed rates of course. As these contracts are confidential documents it is difficult to know exactly how much is sold this way, but quite likely no more than half of the total demand.

    The market is competitive and supposedly a free market, but at times the government "directs" the government owned stations, which is not quite according to the spirit of the competitive market.

    To explain the way the demand is satisfied, we have to remember that there is no means of storing electricity and all power generated has to be consumed. Consequently as demand falls, for example, generators have to produce less. This is achieved by offering lower and lower prices. It frequently gets to the point where the spot price goes negative. Overall the average price evens out at something respectable. "Respectable" being where everybody is making money.

    With the advent of large quantities of PV Solar, both domestic and commercial, the whole dynamic of generation has begun to move and while the transition to renewables has commenced renewables will not be exclusive until such time as they can produce reliable power twenty four hours a day.

    In summary I would suggest that a feed in tarrif for domestic Solar PV should reflect the average wholesale price. The major difference between commercial generation and domestic is that domestic supply is not and cannot be asked to back off. The solar farms shut down if the spot price goes negative during the day.

    Lastly, I would remind people that the MWs are one, arguably the biggest, aspect of power generation, but it is not as simple as that and there are other factors that generators are asked to provide. For the moment the renewables are unable to provide this. I stress that it will not always be this way.

    Regards
    Paul

    PS: I work as a control room operator in a supercritical, coal-fired power station in QLD.
    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

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