Voluntary solar feed-in tariffs (FiTs) in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) will be higher in 2016/17 than last year, it was announced on Thursday.
The state's Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has determined a benchmark range for voluntary solar FiTs of between AUD 0.055 (USD 0.041/EUR 0.036) and AUD 0.072 per kWh. The range for 2015/16 was AUD 0.047 to AUD 0.061 per kWh. The increase is due to higher expected wholesale electricity prices in 2016/17, said IPART chairman Peter Boxall.
In a similar decision from May, the solar FiT for regional Queensland customers for 2016/17 was also set higher.
The NSW benchmark range is provided as a guide to the unsubsidised value of solar FiTs that some electricity retailers voluntarily offer to customers not part of the state's Solar Bonus Scheme, which ends on December 31, 2016.
Boxall advised customers to look for the best deal for them, which may not necessarily be the one with the highest FiT. Other factors should be considered as well such as usage rates and how much of their own solar electricity customers consume.
IPART has also determined the mandatory amount that electricity retailers must contribute towards the cost of subsidised FiTs. It has been set at AUD 0.061 per kWh. Subsidised FiTs of either AUD 0.20 or AUD 0.60 per kWh will be paid to Solar Bonus Scheme customers until the end of the scheme.
According to the NSW Resources and Energy website, over 146,000 households and small businesses have installed systems under the scheme. Since its closure to new applicants, a further 174,000 systems have been installed without a subsidised FiT.
(AUD 1.0 = USD 0.741/EUR 0.655)
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