Victoria’s Essential Services Commission (ESC) is all set to introduce time-varying solar feed-in tariffs (FiTs), which will be a first for Australia. Starting 1 July 2018, time-varying FiTs will be optional, with the aim to make them compulsory for all energy retailers in July 2019, allowing them enough time to make the transition. The shift from a flat to time-varying FiT was proposed by the ESC as a means to offer a fair price for solar exports back to the power grid from the 1GW of rooftop solar installed on homes and small businesses.

As part of the new tariffs, energy retailers will need to pay minimum 29c/kWh for exports between 3-9pm, a minimum rate of 10.3c/kWh for the time between 7am-3pm, and a minimum rate of 7.1c/kWh for exports between 10pm-7am. The ESC expects the time-varying tariffs to encourage households to shift their load, position their panels to face the west instead of north, or to install battery storage. A critical peak tariff of a higher rate applied retrospectively is also on the cards, and may be introduced in a few years.

So what does it mean for households in Victoria?

As the time-varying FiTs come into effect, it would be worth positioning panels efficiently and using other measures to take advantage of the higher tariff rates of 29c/kWh for excess solar power fed into the grid from 3-9pm Monday to Friday. Increasing the number of west facing panels to generate power in the peak period is one such opportunity that households can make use of. Although installing north-facing panels is considered most ideal, installing some panels on the west-facing roof ensures you can generate solar energy in the afternoons too, which is when the FiT rates are the highest. Additionally, since households typically tend to use more energy in the afternoons, the power generated would be beneficial to cover it. Beyond this, any excess energy produced can be exported to the grid for a better cost than what you would make in the morning or at night.

Installing solar panels for your household or business has a range of benefits you can enjoy. Get in touch with Total Solar Solutions Australia today to discuss your solar energy needs, and our customer service team will offer you recommendations best suited to your needs and budget.