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Last Updated on 14 November 2018

Compare Solar – SA


South Australia is leading the nation in renewable energy thanks to its aggressive renewable energy targets, emissions schemes, and technology investment. Since 2001, SA has installed the most large-scale renewable capacity in Australia.

This investment in renewables is good news for residential and business solar customers, because it means better, more accessible technology. The state’s competitive market should keep prices attractive for customers who are willing to shop around for a good deal.

Key Points
  • Over a quarter of households in South Australia have solar panels installed, the highest percentage of households in the country.
  • The SA government is trialling a battery-storage solar network, with plans to install systems in 50,000 homes across the state.
  • SA’s distributor feed-in tariff scheme is no longer open to new participants, but many energy suppliers are offering retailer feed-in tariffs.

Solar Energy in South Australia

Over a quarter of households in South Australia have solar panels installed, which is the highest proportion in the country. The SA government has put several initiatives in place to encourage the use of solar energy and attract further investment in renewables.

Community-owned solar

South Australia’s government plans to create the world’s largest ‘virtual power plant’ by establishing a solar and battery network in homes across the state. A trial is currently underway in 1,100 Housing Trust properties with 24,000 set to follow suit.

Solar panel systems and battery storage systems are installed in participating households at no charge, allowing them to store energy for later use and feed it back to the grid. Ultimately, the government hopes to expand the scheme to 50,000 participating households over a four-year span. If successful, the plan could be an effective way of reducing household electricity bills.

Is Solar Right for Your House?

A successful rooftop solar system is highly dependent on its location. South Australia receives an estimated 300 days of sunshine each year, making it an ideal place for solar energy. Consider the location of your home and the direction of the sun before installing solar panels, so you can maximise sun exposure.

Solar systems work by converting solar power to electricity. The energy is used in the household where possible and any excess is fed back into the grid. Depending on your solar plan, you may be eligible for a feed-in tariff, which means you’ll be paid for the energy your solar system feeds back to the grid.

Traditionally, households have only been able to use solar energy as it is generated, making it best suited for daytime use. However, new battery storage methods may also allow households to save up energy for later use, which can result in a lower electricity bill.

Feed-In Tariffs in South Australia

You may be eligible for a feed-in tariff. If so, you’ll be paid for each kilowatt hour (kWh) of extra energy that your solar system feeds back to the grid. These payments should appear as credits on your electricity bill.

South Australia offers two types of feed-in tariffs:

1
Retailer feed-in tariff: Open to anyone with an eligible solar system. Tariff amount is determined by individual suppliers.
2
Retailer feed-in tariff: Open to anyone with an eligible solar system. Tariff amount is determined by individual suppliers.

Based on your eligibility and when your solar connection was approved, it is possible to receive both types of feed-in tariffs.

Feed-in tariffs are connected to the solar system itself, so they do not move with the electricity account holder. If you move to a house where solar was installed early, you may find that you qualify for a distributor feed-in tariff.

Feed-in tariff eligibility

There are several factors that determine whether or not you’re eligible for a feed-in tariff in South Australia. These can include:

  • Solar system: Must meet safety and performance requirements
  • Upgrades: If you change your solar system, it can affect eligibility
  • Consumption: Must be less than 160 megawatt (MWh) of electricity per year (most households use less than 10 MWH per year)
  • Retailer: Before signing with a new retailer, ensure that they offer a solar plan.
  • Account holder name: Feed-in payments go to the electricity account holder; if the account is in a landlord’s name, he or she will receive the credits.
  • Renewable generator installation: If you install battery storage, you are no longer eligible for certain distributor feed-in tariffs as it is not clear where the energy comes from.

SA Electricity Savings

When shopping around for a solar power plan in SA, don’t focus solely on feed-in tariffs. Although they are worth considering, there are other elements at play. Look at the amount the retailer charges per kilowatt hours, and think about your total usage. The real strength of solar energy is its ability to reduce your overall electricity bill, not its perceived earning power.

Electricity concessions and rebates

Eligible solar customers may also be able to apply for electricity concessions through the SA government. This information was correct as of June 2018.

  • Energy bill concession: supplements electricity and gas payments up to $217.90 per year
  • Medical heating and cooling concession: Eligible customers with qualifying medical conditions requiring heating or cooling can receive $217.90 per year
  • Cost of living concession: Assists low-income customers with electricity costs
  • Residential park resident concession: Concession for eligible residents of a residential or caravan park to assist with energy bills
  • Home dialysis electricity concession: Patients who receive kidney dialysis treatment at home may receive $165 per year
  • Sustainability incentives scheme: The City of Adelaide offers rebates of up to $5,000 for residents and businesses who install solar panels or battery storage. Eligibility rules apply.

Tips for SA Solar Customers

Live in SA and want to save money on your energy? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Compare retail feed-in tariffs from available suppliers to find cheaper energy in SA
  • Ask your supplier about trialing the battery storage system
  • Avoid overpaying energy bills in SA by applying for energy concessions if you are eligible
  • Consider your overall usage, price charged per kilowatt hour, and any available solar feed-in tariffs when comparing plans

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