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What is Solar Energy & How Can You Benefit?

Solar Energy

As renewable energy becomes an increasingly important resource in today’s world, more and more individuals and businesses are turning to solar panels and solar energy to generate electricity. Discover everything you need to know about solar energy in Australia including what solar energy is, how to get solar panels for your house, and the best energy retailers for those who have solar energy, by reading more below.

What is solar energy? How do solar panels work?

The sun is one of Earth’s greatest renewable sources of energy. As something akin to a nuclear reactor, every particle of sunlight that hits the Earth (called photons) fuels our planet. By harnessing this energy, solar power can utilize these photons in order to generate electricity for residential or industrial use, or heating for houses, pools, or water.

Solar thermal energy

Solar thermal energy is the process of harnessing the heat from the sun for residential or industrial use. Solar thermal energy offers more uses than it’s photovoltaic (solar panel) counterpart, but is more often used in large-scale industrial or commercial settings.

Solar thermal energy is used in three temperature ranges; low, medium, and high; each of which have different uses.

 Low temperature solar thermal energy is most often used for the heating and cooling of residential or industrial spaces, either for short-term or through the storage of the heat generated. This can be done through passive heating, or through active heating which requires external energy to function.

 Medium temperature solar thermal energy is most often used for the heating of water, including for residential or industrial use, as well as to heat pools. Some less well-known applications include drying crops such as lumber or food such as dried fruits, fish, or grains. It is also used in cooking to reduce the need for firewood and limit the amount of smoke released into the air, and for the distillation of water through evaporating the water and leaving the clean condensation on a covering glass.

 High temperature solar thermal energy is primarily used for large-scale industrial generation. One of the benefits of this large-scale solar thermal energy is the ability to store the heat for up to 24 hours, as it is easier to store heat than electricity, allowing for greater efficiency while reducing environmental impact. While there are currently few high temperature solar thermal energy plants in Australia, due to the cost-efficiency of coal and the lack of government incentives, there is hope for its increased application in the future.

Solar panels and photovoltaics

When most people imagine solar energy, they often imagine classic solar panels either in large fields facing the sky, or on the rooftops of residences or businesses. These solar panels utilize the photovoltaic effect to transform the sun’s natural light into electricity through the use of semiconductive materials.

While solar energy has long been a topic of interest to scientists (the first solar cells were described in 1883), modern solar panels utilizing the photovoltaic effect were first invented by US company Bell Labs which were able to transform sunlight into electricity at 4% efficiency. Today, most modern solar panels run between 15% - 20% efficiency.

Solar panels today are generally made up of a silicone layer, copper wiring, and a glass case, all held together in a metal frame, usually with an antireflective coating to increase efficiency. Silicone is a semiconductive material that, when exposed to sunlight, releases an electric current. This electricity is released in the form of an alternating current (AC) which travels through the wiring to an inverter that is then transformed into direct current (DC) for use in a home or business. There are three types of solar panels on the market; Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline or Thin Film:

 Monocrystalline panels are cut from larger silicone, which gives them a uniform appearance and a higher level of efficiency than their polycrystalline counterparts but a more expensive startup cost.

 Polycrystalline panels are created by melting silicone fragments together to form the solar panels. As a result, they don’t allow the electrons released during the photovoltaic effect as much room to move, resulting in less efficient energy generation but as lower upfront cost.

 Thin Film panels are created by layering thin layers of PV material over each other. They are generally not very efficient and don’t work well on residential rooftops, requiring more space to be of any value to the solar system owner. However, thin film panels are cheap to make, and as technology develops they should become more efficient.

As of September 2019, Australia’s solar PV capacity reached approximately 14,000MW from both residential and industrial solar PV panels. While there is still a long way to go until all of Australia could run on 100% solar energy, as the price of solar PV technology decreases and becomes more accessible to the average household the amount of solar panels in use is expected to rise.

Concentrated solar power

Concentrated solar power (CSP) is another method of capturing the sun’s energy for industrial use. CSP involves the use of mirrors and lenses to concentrate sunlight onto a receiver in order to heat up a heat engine (such as a steam turbine) which then generates power. Similar to solar thermal energy, CSP is able to store the heat for later use (in the evening or overnight for example) making it more efficient than PV panels.

In Australia, like with solar thermal energy, there is not a big push to bring CSP to the country as the start-up costs can be quite high, despite the abundance of sunshine available. Many government initiatives, as well, are only available for small or medium-scale renewable energy generation and CSP generally runs at large-scale industrial generation.

Rooftop solar panels

Rooftop solar panels are generally small scale solar PV energy systems on homes or businesses. Unlike the large, ground-mounted, solar farms which can generate up to 100kWh or more, rooftop PV systems generally generate between 5 to 20kWh. These rooftop solar panels are among the most popular household renewable energy sources available and with the cost of solar PV lower than ever before, among the most accessible to the average consumer.

What do I need to get solar panels to my residence?

When considering solar panels, there is a lot to take into consideration. Not only understanding what you will need for a full solar system, in order to get the most from solar energy, or the start-up costs associated with solar panels, but information about your roof and housing situation will all need to be taken into account in order to decide if solar panels are right for you.

  • What should I consider before installing solar panels?
  • Does my roof need repairs? Solar panels add weight to your roof, and a damaged roof won’t be able to handle the weight of solar panels. If you install solar panels, and then need to do roof repair, the panels will need to be removed which can add to the total cost of repair
  • What direction does my roof face? Are there any other obstacles that might prevent the panels from maximising the sun’s potential? You’ll want to get the most return of investment with your solar panels, and most experts agree south or western facing roofs will get the most sunlight. In addition, any trees that cover your roof will prevent maximum sunlight from reaching your panels, which will reduce efficiency, especially during the summer when a tree’s leaves are growing.
  • What are the weather conditions like? Solar panels can change the direction of runoff water, causing leaks in your house which will require the removal of the panels to repair. Any major weather (hurricanes, tornados, or hail for example) can also damage solar panels and insurance doesn’t always cover the costs.

After considering whether your house and surrounding area are right for solar panels, you still need to figure out what is actually needed to install solar panels.

 Figure out the size of the solar panels you want: This comes down to the overall capacity of the system, including how big and how many panels you’ll need and how much power they put out. More efficient systems will cost more upfront, but will take up less space with greater kWh output. You’ll need to know how much energy your house uses in order to correctly size your panels but, on average, a typical household can use anywhere between 20kWh and 30kWh per day but can range from less than 10kWh per day for a single-person household, or over 30kWh for a family of five or more.

 Decide how to mount the panels onto your roof: To get solar energy into your house, you need more than just some panels. The panels need to be mounted onto your roof with a racking system. Most racking systems involve drilling holes into your roof and sealing the edges with a leak-proof sealant, but for clay, metal, or tile roofs you might need a different type of racking system.

 How will you convert the DC energy into AC for your home appliances to use? Solar systems need an inverter to convert the electricity into a usable form for your house. There are three types of inverters; string, power optimizer, and microinverters. String inverters are the original type of inverter and therefore the most economically friendly, but for more complicated solar systems that might involve partial shading or panels facing different directions, a power optimizer inverter or microinverter might be a better option.

 What if you need to turn your solar PV system off? For safety reasons, all solar PV systems need a disconnection switch to cut off the electricity supply. While it probably won’t be used, except for repairs or maintenance on your system, it is a requirement to have in cases of emergency. These disconnection switches come with two parts: a DC disconnector switch to cut supply between your panels and the inverter and an AC switch to cut supply between the inverter and the grid.

 Do you want to store energy for later usage? While not a necessity for grid-connected systems, more and more solar PV users are opting to include battery storage in their solar PV system. These allow customers to ensure a backup supply of energy in cases of a power outage, or to offset time-of-use charges during peak hours. There is some debate as to whether or not solar battery storage is “worth it”, as batteries can add an additional $5,000-$10,000 onto your upfront solar PV system cost and might not return their investment before needing to be replaced. However, as the price of batteries decreases, their return of investment may soon outweigh their upfront costs.

How to install solar panels for your house

While it is possible to install solar panels yourself, it is not recommended. Knowledge of panel placements, high-voltage wiring, city and state regulations, and more all make this a project best left to the experts. Luckily, in Australia, it’s easy to find reputable solar PV system installers with the Clean Energy Council.

What is the Clean Energy Council?The Clean Energy Council (CEC) is Australia’s renewable energy association. The CEC is responsible for creating the voluntary solar industry code (authorized by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) designed to lift solar industry standards beyond the required regulation and enforce strict pre and post-sale requirements including proper documentation and business practices.

By finding a CEC approved installer, you can be assured in finding a reputable business that will guide you through pre and post business activities, ensuring proper documentation of all consumer rights and honouring all warranties and cooling-off periods. In addition, some government regulations require solar systems to be installed by a CEC-certified installer for customers to receive solar rebates.

Cleaning solar panels and solar system maintenance

As a rule, solar panels require very little regular servicing and technical maintenance beyond washing them of dust and debris a couple times a year, which can be done with a garden hose. With regular cleaning, you are making sure your solar panels take in the maximum amount of sunlight available. When washing your solar panels:

  • Use water, not cleaning products, and avoid any abrasive scrubbers (a soft brush is fine, as is gentle soap)
  • Do not rest or lean on the panels when cleaning
  • Do not place buckets on the solar panels
  • Avoid high-pressure water cleaners
  • Check for cracks or chips in your panels
  • Clear off any fallen leaves, snow, or other large debris

In addition, reputable solar PV system installers will have warranties (generally 15 to 20 years for solar panels and 10-15 years for inverters and batteries) in place for their products. These solar system warranties will vary in coverage so it’s best to read your warranty manual thoroughly.

Moving Home?Most solar system warranties are transferable to new homeowners, and having owned and installed solar panels on your roof could increase your home’s real estate value by up to $20,000.

What if I rent or can’t install solar panels?

It may be the case that you want to invest in solar energy but, due to housing restrictions or rental agreements, you can’t install solar panels. Thankfully all is not lost. With the rise of community solar energy it’s now easier than ever to enjoy the benefits of solar energy, even if you cannot install panels directly onto your house or apartment.

Community solar energy allows customers to purchase, or subscribe to, solar panels on a community solar farm and in return, get the added benefit of knowing their energy comes from a renewable source at a lower cost. In addition, these community solar gardens have the added benefit of:

 Less restriction of solar output due to size or direction of rooftops, trees, or surrounding buildings

 Not needing to comply with housing or zoning restrictions or building codes

 Not needing customers to have the knowledge or skill for solar panel installation and maintenance

 Opening up the advantages of solar energy to tenants or others who might not be able to access it otherwise

Advantages and disadvantages of solar energy

Choosing whether you want to invest in solar energy for your home is a big decision, and weighing the pros and cons of solar energy can help you decide if solar energy is the best option for you.

Pros and cons of solar energy
Advantages of solar energy Disadvantages of solar energy
  • Reduce energy bill
  • Increase home value
  • Good for the environment
  • Helps with rising electricity costs
  • Return on investment
  • Low maintenance
  • High start-up cost
  • Can’t move with you if you move home
  • Weather dependent
  • Not suitable for every home
  • Not 100% carbon neutral

Advantages of solar energy

 Reduce your energy bill: How much you save and earn with solar panels depends on the size of your system but not only will you reduce your energy bill by using less electricity drawn from the grid, you might even earn money through a solar feed-in-tariff.

 Increase home value: While solar panels can’t be uninstalled and taken with you if you move, you will be able to benefit from the increase in home value by installing a solar system onto your house.

 Good for the environment: The sun is a renewable energy source, and using solar energy means less electricity generation from coal, or other non-renewable and environmentally unfriendly sources.

 Help combat rising electricity costs: With electricity costs on the rise, and the cost of solar panels decreasing, investing in solar energy means far greater energy independence and freedom

 Return on investment: Despite the high start-up costs, between reducing your energy bill and earning through a solar feed-in-tariff, your solar PV system could pay for itself within 10 years.

 Low maintenance: While solar panels might seem like they will be costly to maintain, in reality it is really easy. Most solar panel installers have warranties on their parts for up to 25 years for any big problems, and the only thing you need to worry about is keeping them clean of debris a few times a year.

Disadvantages of solar energy

 High start-up cost: Even though the cost of solar PV systems has decreased dramatically the last few years, they’re still an expensive investment. The average cost of a 5kW solar system in Australia is around $5,000 but can cost even more in some states. If you want to add solar battery storage to your system, that can cost you over another $10,000.

 Can’t move solar panels with you: Solar panels are a good investment if you’re not planning to move for a long time, as they are next to impossible to uninstall and take with you. However, if you do need to move, solar panels do increase the value of your home.

 Weather dependant: Solar panels obviously rely on the sun to generate solar energy. If you live somewhere with lots of cloud cover, or where you don’t get multiple hours per day of sunlight, you won’t generate enough electricity to earn back on your investment.

 Not suitable for every home: There are a lot of factors that go into determining if solar panels are a good fit for your home. If your roof is facing the wrong direction, or has a bad angle, solar might not be suitable for you.

 Not 100% carbon neutral: Even though solar energy is a renewable resource, the manufacturing and transportation of solar PV systems means that they are not 100% carbon neutral.

Solar energy rebates in Australia - State by state

While solar energy usage continues to increase across Australia, with more and more residents installing rooftop solar panels or buying into community solar power, individual states and territories often offer different initiatives, rebates, and schemes to help residents make the switch to solar. The number of solar panel and solar energy initiatives has declined in the past few years, so if you're considering solar panels and want financial assistance, it's best to start looking into them now.

Solar energy South Australia

In recent years, rooftop solar panel use has grown exponentially, particularly in South Australia. In 2018, over 240,000 homes had rooftop solar panels which accounted for over 31% of all households in the state and as the cost of solar PV technology decreases these numbers are only expected to rise.

On September 30th, 2018 a record high of 68% of all electricity demand was met through solar PV.

Source: Solar Quotes

In South Australia, there are a number of government incentives to push more customers to install solar panels on their residences.

 South Australia offers all households within the state to apply for their home battery scheme to offset the cost of their solar energy storage through subsidies and loans. The total amount available to households under this scheme is calculated in the kWh and concession-card holders are eligible for a higher subsidy than non-concession card holders. Subsidies approved prior to April 14th, 2020 will be eligible for the One Step Subsidy, while requests approved from April 15th, onwards, will receive the Step Two subsidy

South Australia home battery scheme
  Step One Subsidy
Effective 29 Oct 2018 – 14 April 2020
Step Two Subsidy
Effective 15 April 2020
Energy concession holder $600 per kilowatt hour $400 per kilowatt hour
All other households $500 per kilowatt hour $300 per kilowatt hour
Maximum subsidy per battery installation $6,000 $4,000

Source: South Australia Government

 Feed-in-tariffs (FiT) are most notably available through your energy retailer and vary depending on your electricity plan and retailer. With these tariffs, any solar energy sent back into the grid will be paid for at a certain amount of c/kWh. However, customers whose connections were approved prior to October 1st, 2011 might be eligible for a larger distributor tariff of 44c/kWh.

 Tesla, in support with the South Australian government, is currently trialling a Virtual Power Plant initiative by installing 1,100 Housing Trust homes with Tesla Powerwall systems for free. Once fully implemented, 50,000 homes could be connected to solar energy. While Housing Trust homes are currently the only ones eligible for free solar PV systems, other customers can purchase Tesla systems directly to connect to the VPP once the next phases roll out.

Solar rebates NSW

Solar panels and PV systems in New South Wales are, on average, cheaper than the national average across Australia. Currently, over 450,000 rooftop solar PV systems are installed across the state which, along with another 250,000 solar hot water installations, brings the total amount of small-scale solar generation up to 700,000. Unfortunately while so many homes have solar power the government of NSW does not offer many rebates or subsidies to customers who have, or are interested in, solar energy.

Initially, New South Wales offered a solar bonus scheme of 60c/kWh which closed in 2016. Now, the only available solar energy rebate in NSW is open to certain low income housing residents. Under the solar subsidy for low income households, customers will receive a fully free 3kWh solar PV system. In order to be eligible, customers will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Currently be receiving the Low Income Housing rebate (please note that if you receive the solar for low income housing subsidy you will not be eligible for the Low Income Housing rebate for 10 years)
  • Hold a valid pensioner concession card or Veteran’s Affairs Gold Card
  • Own their home and not already have solar PV installed
  • Use at least 3,600kWh of electricity annually
  • Live in: Central Coast, North Coast, Sydney - South, South Coast, or Illawarra – Shoalhaven

As stated, customers who choose to receive a government-subsidised solar PV system will not be eligible to receive Low Income Housing Rebates for 10 years. While this means you will lose your annual $285 discount off your electricity bill, you could save up to $600 per year with your new solar PV system

Solar rebate QLD

Queensland is able to boast the most solar PV systems of any Australian state, with 1 in 3 homes (approximately half a million households) connected to solar energy. Officials expect that number to reach one million by the end of 2020. Despite this, since the end of the Queensland government’s Solar Bonus Scheme of 44c/kWh, which closed to new applicants in 2012, there aren’t many additional solar rebates in QLD for customers interested in solar panels outside of energy retailers' solar feed-in-tariffs.

Solar energy ACT

In the Australian Capital Territory, 10% of all households have rooftop solar panels with that number expected to rise in the near future as the cost of solar PV systems drop. While Canberra has positioned itself as the first city within the southern hemisphere to be 100% renewable by 2020, there are few incentives from the ACT government to help people access solar power.

The ACT offers Pensioner Concession Card Holders a solar PV system rebate of up to 50%, capped at $2,500, for residents who meet certain requirements. Customers who meet these requirements and are interested in solar power can contact Access Canberra by calling 13 22 81 or by emailing In order to be eligible you must:

  • Be a Pensioner Concession Card Holder
  • Own a home in the ACT
  • Not have solar PV installed in your house

In addition, the ACT is rolling out a new programme called “ Next Generation Energy Storage program” which is providing 5,000 homes and businesses with small energy storage solutions. Customers under this programme will be eligible to receive up to $825/kWh on their solar battery storage, up to 30kWh. Customers interested can add an eligible storage option to an existing solar system that meets Next Gen requirements, through one of the government’s chosen providers (These providers are Evergen, Solahart and SolarHub) or purchase a new full solar PV system for their residence. In order to access this programme, anyone interested should contact one of the selected solar installers approved by the government.

VIC solar rebate

375,000 homes in Victoria already have solar panels, accounting for 15% of the total number of houses in the state. The Victorian government also offers a number of rebates not only for solar panels and solar batteries, but also for renters interested in solar power, and for those with solar hot water. There are some eligibility requirements in order to access these rebates.

Vic solar panel rebate for homeowners

The Solar Panel Rebate (for homeowners) can grant Victorian applicants up to $1,888 to go towards solar PV for their house if the following conditions are met.

  • The applicant is the owner/occupier of the property
  • The owners have a combined taxable income of under $180,000 per year
  • The residence is an existing property, valued at under $3million
  • There is no existing solar PV system on the property (however systems installed before 1st November 2009 are eligible to replace or expand their system under the rebate)

In addition, customers can apply for an interest-free loan of an equivalent amount of the rebate to go towards the cost of their new solar PV system, which will need to be paid off in four years. In order to apply, contact an authorized solar PV retailer who will submit a quote to the Solar Victoria Portal on your behalf, starting the application process. Once eligibility is confirmed, your retailer will claim the rebate and deduct the amount off the total cost of your system.

Solar panel rebate for tenants

The Solar Panel Rebate (for tenants) can grant Victorian applicants up to $1,888 to go towards solar PV for a rental property, provided certain conditions are met and a Solar Homes Landlord-Tenant Agreement is signed:

  • Tenants receive a combined household taxable income of less than $180,000 per annum
  • The property is valued at under $3 million
  • Solar PV is not already installed on the property
  • There has been no prior participation in the Solar Homes program for that address

There are two streams for applicants to apply for the solar rebate for rental properties. Stream A, which opened up July 2019, offers a rebate for solar PV for rental properties where the landlord pays for the remaining cost of the system. Stream B, opening in 2020, allows landlords to apply for both the rebate and an interest-free loan, and tenants will contribute to the total cost of the solar PV system. Applicants can apply for the Solar Homes program once as the owner/occupier of a property (for either solar PV, solar battery, or solar hot water), and once as a landlord for the Solar Panel Rebate for renters

Solar battery rebate

Victorian solar panel users in certain postcodes might be eligible for the Solar Battery rebate of up to $4,838. This is for customers who already have solar panels installed in their property. To be eligible you must:

  • Be within one of the designated postcodes
  • Already have solar panels with 5kWh or greater capacity
  • Be pre-approved to ensure you can safely connect a solar battery to the grid
  • Be the owner-occupier of the residence the battery will be installed
  • Earn less than $180,000 taxable income per year
  • Have your residence be valued at under $3million
  • Not have taken part in any solar homes programme previously at this property

Once you have found an authorized retailer, you’ll need to get your home pre-approved through your energy distributor before your retailer can submit a quote to get the rebate. You should not submit a deposit until your eligibility has been confirmed and a contract is signed.

Solar hot water rebate

For houses that already have solar PV, or where solar PV might not be suitable, the Victorian government has their Solar Hot Water rebate which offers applicants up to $1,000 for solar hot water systems if the following eligibility is met.

  • The applicant is the owner/occupier of the property
  • The owners have a combined taxable income of under $180,000 per year
  • The residence is an existing property, valued at under $3million
  • The hot water system being replaced is at least three years old
  • The homeowner has not received either the solar panel or solar battery rebate
  • The property is not a new development

Customers should not install a new solar hot water heater until after their rebate is approved except in emergencies. If a customer installs a hot water heater before their rebate is approved due to an emergency situation , they need to submit the application as soon as possible and know they might not receive the rebate if they don’t fit all the eligibility requirements.

Solar energy TAS

Tasmania, unlike other states and cities on mainland Australia, doesn’t enjoy the same levels of sunlight as it’s counterparts. And unlike on the mainland, the cost of solar panels in Tasmania are slightly higher than the national average, reflecting shipping costs needed to bring the materials to the state. This doesn't mean you can't benefit from solar panels if you live in Tasmania, however. As of 2018, 29,000 homes in Tasmania had installed solar PV systems.

The Tasmanian governments Tasmanian Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme (TEELS) closed in April 2019. As a result, outside of any federal rebates or assistance, there are not any programmes in place to help consumers install solar panels on their homes. As Tasmania currently only has two energy suppliers (Aurora Energy and 1st Energy), there are also not many options for a retail feed-in-tariff which is set at 9.34c/kWh for both providers.

Solar energy in Western Australia

Solar energy in the Western territory has grown exponentially in the last few years. As of 2018, Western Australia has over 300,000 homes with rooftop solar panels, with 1.16GW capacity which makes it the largest single “power station” in the state. Despite this, the state government has recently done away with their solar rebate schemes, meaning outside of any schemes or rebates at the federal level, any new solar PV systems are entirely paid for by the consumer and any additional feed-in-tariffs come through your energy retailer.

Solar energy in the Northern Territory

The Northern Territory is slowly beginning to catch up to the rest of the Australian country, as solar PV systems drop in price and more and more energy consumers realize the full benefits of installing rooftop solar panels. As of 2019, over 13,000 homes had installed rooftop solar PV systems, which accounted for over 14% of the households in the Northern Territory. However, there are currently minimal state government-sponsored rebates and initiatives to continue to bring solar panels to residential households. Their current initiative, SETuP, is working to bring renewable solar farms to remote and off-grid indiginous communities and help them reduce their diesel-generator consumption.

Solar energy rebate: Small-scale Technology Certificates

The small scale technology certificates are a federal scheme to give customers rebates for their small-scale renewable energy generators. Small-scale technology certificates represent the amount of energy your solar PV system (or renewable energy generators) would generate over its lifetime, offsetting what you would otherwise draw from the grid. The more electricity your solar system will generate, the more STCs you will receive.

This scheme is available until 2030 (or for 15 years for customers who installed solar panels prior to 2017) and is available for not only solar PV systems but small-scale wind and hydro power as well.

It is possible to independently trade STCs, but it’s much more preferred and common to assign them to your installer or retailer who will give you a point-of-sale discount immediately to offset your upfront solar PV system cost.

Energy Providers and Solar Energy

Solar energy is playing a big part in how energy retailers generate and provide customers with their electricity. Not only through retailers solar feed-in-tariffs, but also through generation, and community initiatives. Now, with many government schemes to help consumers install solar panels it’s up to the retailers to ensure customers earn back what they invested into their solar systems.

Origin Energy solar solutions

As a large energy provider, Origin Energy is able to help customers with all their solar energy needs. Origin energy offers everything from solar packages to electricity plans, solar battery storage, and installation.

Origin Energy solar packages

Origin Energy offers three solar packages for people interested in solar energy. Origin Energy solar packages start at $3,595 for their Origin Energy Solar Advantage package, and go up to $4, 995 for their Origin Energy Solar Premium Plus package. In addition, Origin Energy gives customers the option to pay for their new Origin Energy solar package with 24 month interest-free payment installments.

If you decide you want a solar battery, in addition to an Origin Energy solar package, you can request a quote for one of their two battery options available: Tesla Powerwall, or LG ChemResu.

Origin Energy Solar Boost Plan

Origin Solar Boost and Solar Boost Plus are two electricity plans available to solar energy customers. If you already have a solar system, Origin Solar Boost gives you a higher than average feed-in-tariff. However, if you get a new solar PV system through Origin Energy, Solar Boost Plus gives customers up to 23c / kWf feed-in-tariff.

EnergyAustralia Solar

EnergyAustralia doesn’t offer as many solar energy options as the other large providers in Australia, but they did recently launch their On by EnergyAustralia solar plan to customers in Queensland. This trial plan offers fixed rates for 12 months, in addition to a large 18c / kWh solar feed-in-tariff.

Feed-in-tariffs for solar panels by state

Finding the right energy provider can be difficult, even without the added challenge of figuring out which provider will give you the best feed-in-tariffs for the best rates.

Many times, companies provide a higher feed-in-tariff, offset by higher overall rates. Should you choose a higher feed-in-tariff or larger discount off your total rates? It really depends on your energy usage habits and lifestyle.

 Customers who aren’t often home during the day when their systems are generating more energy, and/or those with bigger solar PV systems might do better with a higher feed-in-tariff as they are exporting more of their generated energy to the grid.

 Customers who tend to use most of the energy they generate during the day or have smaller systems that don’t generate as much might be better off choosing a plan with lower rates or a bigger discount even if the feed-in-tariff is smaller.

Below are some energy providers offering solar panel customers exclusive plans and rates to help you compare energy retailers across Australia.

New South Wales solar feed-in-tariffs

New South Wales has a range of energy providers available to choose from, offering different rates and feed-in-tariffs for customers with solar panels. Below we show some of the most popular solar plans, as well as some plans from smaller energy providers with a focus on solar energy.

Solar feed-in-tariff plans for New South Wales*
Provider Plan Daily supply charge Usage rates Feed-in-tariff (exported) Estimated annual cost**
amaysim - Classic Solar (Post-paid) 72.27c/day 30.75c/kWh 15c/kWh $1,870/year
AGL - Solar Saver 90.20c/day 29.15c/kWh 21c/kWh $1,850/year
Click - Banksia Solar Plus 99c/day 28.35c/kWh 14c/kWh $1,840/year
Diamond Energy -Everyday Renewable Saver 91.74c/day 28.49c - 30.69c/kWh 12c/kWh $1,720/year
Energy Locals - Local Saver 62.50c/day 24.50c/kWh 16c/kWh - first 10kWh exported
11c/kWh for remaining kWh exported

*Based on postcode 2000. Rates valid 26 March 2020. Conditional discounts may apply
**14.3kWh/day average usage. Excluding solar feed-in-tariffs
***$15.99/month membership fee included in annual price

The ACT solar feed-in-tariffs

The ACT doesn’t have as many providers as some of the other states within the NEM, and as a result, does not have the same competition when it comes to solar feed-in-tariffs. Here we outline some of the most popular plans available from some of the providers in the state, along with their feed-in-tariffs.

Solar feed-in-tariff plans for the ACT*
Provider Plan Daily supply charge Usage rates Feed-in-tariff (exported) Estimated annual cost**
Energy Locals - Local Saver 49.50c/day 24.50c/kWh 16c/kWh - first 10kWh exported
11c/kWh for remaining
EnergyAustralia - Total Plan 86.79c/day 25.01c/kWh 10.5c/kWh $1,780/year
Powerclub - Powerbank Home Flat + Solar FIT 73.22c/day 22.02c/kWh 10c/kWh $1,750/year

*Based on postcode 2600. Rates valid 26 March 2020. Conditional discounts may apply
**17.9kWh/day average usage. Excluding solar feed-in-tariffs
***$15.99/month membership fee included in annual price

South Australia solar feed-in-tariffs

South Australian solar panel customers are able to enjoy higher feed-in-tariffs thanks to the state’s deregulated market. As a result, consumers have a variety of plans available to them. Here we compare some of the most popular plans on the market with some of the highest feed-in-tariffs available.

Solar feed-in-tariff plans for South Australia*
Provider Plan Daily supply charge Usage rates Feed-in-tariff (exported) Estimated annual cost**
AGL  -Solar Savers Online 89.10c/day 40.38c/kWh 18c/kWh $2,250/year
Energy Locals - Local Saver Summer Solar Bonus 70.50c/day 35 - 35.50c/kWh Jan-March 2020: 20c/kWh
Rest of year: 16c/kWh
amaysim - solar as you go 79.73c/day 42.06 - 44.00c/kWh 22c/kWh $2,310/year
Diamond Energy - Everyday renewable saver 95.65c/day 36.59 - 43.86c/kWh 12c/kWh $2,000
Click - Banksia Solar 99.66c/day 39.41c/kWh 17c/kWh $2,240/year

*Based on postcode 5000. Rates valid 26 March 2020. Conditional discounts may apply
**13kWh/day average usage. Excluding solar feed-in-tariffs
***$15.99/month membership fee included in annual price

Queensland solar feed-in-tariffs

Unlike other states within the National Electricity Market, Queensland is divided into two regions. Those in south-east Queensland have the ability to choose their provider, while those in the rest of Queensland will get their energy retailed and distributed to them through Ergon Energy. Ergon Energy offers a solar feed-in-tariff of 7.8c/kWh while those who applied for the Solar Bonus Buyback Scheme through Ergon before July 2012 will continue to enjoy a feed-in-tariff of 44c/kWh until 1 July 2028.

Solar feed-in-tariff plans for Queensland (south-east)*
Provider Plan Daily supply charge Usage rates Feed-in-tariff (exported) Estimated annual cost**
Origin - Solar Boost Plus 116.06c/day 24.92c/kWh 19c/kWh (7c/kWh after benefit period ends) $1,650/year
Energy Locals - Local Saver 73c/day 24c/kWh 16c/kWh - first 10kWh exported
11c/kWh remaining kWh exported
AGL - Residential Solar Saver Online 106.7c/day 25.66c/kWh 17c/kWh $1,650/year
Red Energy - Living Energy Saver 103.4c/day 22.44c/kWh 16.1c/kWh - first 10kWh exported
10c/kWh remaining kWh exported
Diamond Energy -Everyday Renewable Saver 107.25c/day 24.59 - 28.55c/kWh 12c/kWh $1,470/year

*Based on postcode 4000. Rates valid 26 March 2020. Conditional discounts may apply
**13.4kWh/day average usage. Excluding solar feed-in-tariffs
***$15.99/month membership fee included in annual price

Victoria solar feed-in-tariffs

Retail feed-in-tariffs in Victoria are generally lower than other states, but that doesn’t mean you can’t save money off your electricity bill with a solar PV system if you live there. Here we show some of the more popular plans available to customers in the area, along with the feed-in-tariffs available for these plans.

Solar feed-in-tariff plans for Victoria*
Provider Plan Daily supply charge Usage rates Feed-in-tariff (exported) Estimated annual cost**
Momentum Energy - Solar Step Up 110.83c/day 21.56c/kWh 13.50c/kWh $1,330/year
Diamond Energy - Everyday Renewable Saver 120.89c/day 24.12 - 25.71c/kWh 12c/kWh $1,330/year
amaysim - Solar as You Go 113.09c/day 25.17c/kWh 13c/kWh $1,490/year
Energy Locals - Local Saver Summer Solar Bonus 57c/day 24c/kWh Jan-March: 20c/kWh
Rest of year: 12c/kWh

*Based on postcode 3000. Rates valid 26 March 2020. Conditional discounts may apply
**11.8kWh/day average usage. Excluding solar feed-in-tariffs
***$15.99/month membership fee included in annual price

Tasmania solar feed-in-tariffs

Despite the deregulation of the energy market in Tasmania, customers only have two energy retailers available to them, with a set feed-in-tariff of 9.347c/kWh. However, 1st Energy offers customers a Solar Bonus energy plan with an additional amount of c/kWh for their solar feed-in-tariff.

Solar feed-in-tariff plans for
Provider Plan Daily supply charge Usage rates Feed-in-tariff (exported) Estimated annual cost**
Aurora Energy Tariff 31 96.53c/day 26.95c/kWh 9.347c/kWh $ 2,480/year
1st Energy - Solar Bonus 96.53c/day 26.95c/kWh 14.347c/kWh $2,540/year

*Based on postcode 7000. Rates valid 26 March 2020. Conditional discounts may apply
**22.2kWh/day average usage. Excluding solar feed-in-tariffs

Western Australia solar feed-in-tariffs

Due to the regulations in Western Australia, customers cannot choose their electricity provider. As a result, feed-in-tariffs are set at 7.1c/kWh for customers within both Synergy’s retail network and within Horizon Power’s retail network. However, as Western Australia has one of the sunniest landscapes in the country, solar power is still a good option for those interested in adding solar panels to their rooftop, despite the low feed-in-tariffs.

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