Hordes of Queensland residents are trying to get in on the 44 Australian cents per kilowatt hour government kickback for homes that export power back to the electricity grid. Beginning on July 9, solar PV incentives dropped to 8 cents per kilowatt hour.
According to Australian power company Energex, at the end of May, there were 139,500 meter-connected solar PV systems in South East Queensland. The company expected to exceed 150,000 applications by the beginning of July!
The feed-in tariff is a officially known as the Queensland Government Solar Bonus Scheme.
Solar PV Popularity Grows in Leaps and Bounds
The popularity of solar panels in South East Queensland has exploded in the last few years. Energex said that, in late 2008, when the solar incentive schemes were just beginning, there were less than 1,000 systems in the area. Three years ago, about one in 300 had solar systems installed. These days, one in six homes have solar PV.
In June, Energex Customer Advocate Mike Swanton said the company was connecting between 300 and 350 meters a day for new solar electricity systems. Swanton estimated that if all the new applications result in solar installations, 20 percent of Queenslanders will have PV systems.
How the Payout Works
No matter the rate of pay, the Solar Bonus payout works the same way. The Queensland Office of Clean Energy explains that meter readers visit customer homes and businesses quarterly to record both energy imported from the main grid and the surplus electricity exported to the grid. The amounts are then used to calculate a user’s bill.
The quarterly Solar Bonus payment for the surplus energy exported to the grid is deducted from the customer’s total grid-supplied bill. If the energy exported is greater than grid-consumption chargers over a year, the customer can decide to have the balance refunded instead of maintaining an on going credit.
Surplus energy is exported to the grid any instant when the customer is using less energy than being generated by the PV system.
Chelsea is a former newspaper reporter who has spent the past few years teaching English in Poland, Finland and Japan. When she wasn't teaching or writing, Chelsea was traveling Europe and Asia, sampling spicy street food along the way.