A solar feed in tariff is a rebate solar panel owners receive for exporting a unit of solar power to the national electricity grid. It is sometimes referred to as the solar bonus scheme or a solar buy back rate. The tariff is a financial rate paid by your electricity retailer to you, for every kWh of electricity your solar power system generates that you don’t use or store.
You must have a grid-connect solar power system in order to earn a feed in tariff from your retailer. You will only receive the reward, for any excess kWh that you send to the grid.
Solar feed in tariffs are susceptible to the hand of regulation. As such, there have been many changes to the actual feed in tariff rates and who regulates them. The rules and rates vary by state and retailer. We have developed a calculator that can tell you the solar feed in rate that you can receive.
When you buy electricity from the grid, you pay a rate determined by your retailer, when you sell solar generated power to your electricity retailer, you’ll receive a much lower rate – a feed in tariff. Therefore, feed in tariffs play a major role in the economics of determining the suitability of solar power for your home.
During the day, it’s typical for solar power systems to generate more power than is directly being used by the household. If you’re system is connected to the grid, your electricity retailer will take that excess power and store it in the grid. Environmentally, this is positive, it means that clean renewable energy that you have generated isn’t going to waste.
The issue for solar panels owners is that the price difference between buying and selling a kWh of electricity to and from the grid is significant. In most states, you’ll receive anywhere between 5.8 – 8.0 cents for every unit of power you generate for the grid. However, when you need to buy it from the grid, you’ll have to pay your retailer the market rate, anywhere between 15 – 35 cents per kWh.
Due to the discrepancy in the buy and sell prices, when you use your power is very important to the overall economic viability of your solar power system; you can calculate this on our home page.
In almost every instance, you are far better off trying to use the solar power that you’re system generates, or better still, store it for evening use when your panels are not producing solar energy, simply because the economics of the feed in tariffs weigh in favour of your electricity retailer.
Understanding the economics of feed in tariffs is important when you are weighing up the feasibility of going solar.