The Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) has released a draft determination suggesting that the 2023–24 regional solar feed-in tariff for customers on state government-owned utility Ergon Energy’s network could rise to 12.952 cents (USD 0.08) per kWh, about 3.5 cents per kWh more than the existing tariff of 9.3 cents per kWh.
QCA Chair Professor Flavio Menezes said the proposal to increase the feed-in tariff for small-scale solar customers in regional Queensland was based largely on a projected increase in wholesale energy costs.
The QCA said the draft regional solar feed-in tariff is 39.3% higher than the 2022 tariff, but noted it is likely the final tariff will differ from the draft figure.
“The price estimate in the draft determination is indicative only, as it is based on information at the time,” it said. “For the final determination, it will be based on updated data and feedback from stakeholders.”
Renewable energy advocacy group Solar Citizens welcomed the potential tariff increase for regional Queenslanders, saying the state’s solar owners are playing a critical role in bringing down wholesale electricity prices for everyone.
“At the moment we’re seeing very high wholesale power prices due to high global coal and gas prices, and the only price relief we’re getting is during the day when the state’s 900,000-plus solar homes and businesses are generating cheap, local electricity,” Solar Citizens Deputy Director Stephanie Gray said.
Gray said the higher power prices should dictate that all solar owners should get more for the electricity they supply, but said those in southeast Queensland, where private retailers set their own feed-in tariff, are missing out.
The average reward offered to small-scale solar customers in the state’s southeast for feeding excess electricity into the grid is trending downwards and sitting at about 5.7 cents per kWh.
“Slashing feed-in tariffs is what many retailers are doing to recoup some of their profits,” Gray said.
The QCA has called for stakeholders to provide feedback on the draft determination before April. 14, 2023. The final determination is expected to be published by June. 9, 2023, and the feed-in tariff will apply from July. 1, 2023.
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