Victoria increases minimum feed-in tariffs

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Victoria’s Essential Services Commission has lifted the single rate minimum price the state’s households will get for solar power they export to the grid to 12 c/kWh, from the current 9.9 c/kWh. The new rate is higher than the draft proposal of 11 c/kWh put out for consultation in December, due to forecast wholesale electricity prices rising since its draft decision was made.

“The feed-in tariff is based on forecast wholesale electricity prices in the futures market which rose between the draft decision and this final decision,” said Aaron Yuen, the commission’s senior manager for energy market reform.

Under the decision, retailers can also offer solar panel owners a time-varying tariff. These feed-in tariffs vary with the time of day to better reflect the wholesale cost of electricity at the time it is sold into the grid, ranging from 9.9 c/kWh to 14.6 c/kWh.

Victoria was the first state to introduce time-varying FIT in July last year, but not many energy retailers have been eager to introduce it. However, this year’s decision has introduced major changes to the rates under this arrangement.

Compared to the time-varying FIT applied over the last year, the peak period tariffs has been slashed by half from 29 c/kWh to 14.6 c/kWh to reflect the fall in peak prices.

Meanwhile, the off peak rates have been increased from 7.1 c/kWh to  9.9 c/kWh, while the shoulder rate has gone up from 10.3 c/kWh to 11.6 c/kWh.

The new tariff settings will apply until the end of June next year. With this in mind, renewable generation owners are urged to shop around for a retailer who offers them the type of tariff that best suits their circumstances.

“A number of retailers offer feed-in tariffs higher than the minimum, with some being up to 20 cents for specific offers, however customers should be mindful of the rates associated with their electricity usage,” said Yuen. “You should think about your total energy bill, which includes the rates you are pay for the electricity you are using.”

According to the data released by the Clean Energy Regulator and Sunwiz in December, 15% of Victorian homes have put PV on their rooftops, which amounts to approximately 1.5 GW of capacity.