Feed-in-Tariffs

The Queensland Solar Bonus Scheme has been discontinued for new solar installations after July 2012. However existing solar systems installed prior to July 2012 will continue to recive the Bonus of 44c/kWh until 2028.
Electricity Retailers offer different rates for your Net Solar Power Feed-in back to the Grid – it will pay to compare offers closely. We suggest that you use the Energy Made Easy Government website. Other comparison sites on a Google search will be trying to get your contact details to make you an offer and may not show you all the available choices.

AGL = 10c/kWh, Origin = 14c/kWh (1 year contract). We also recommend Energy Locals who offer 12c/kWh

What is a “Net feed in tariff”?

A net feed-in tariff pays you only for the surplus energy that you feed back into the grid, you do not pay for the solar energy you consume on your own premises (hence it saves you the prevailing rate for buying power off the grid (around 29c/kWh). This type of scheme operates in Victoria, SA and Queensland.

Negotiating a feed-in tariff in South East Queensland

I live in South East Queensland, how do I negotiate a feed-in tariff rate with my retailer?

A number of electricity retailers already offer competitive feed-in tariffs in South East Queensland, so to make sure you get a fair rate, you should compare rates available from different retailers in your area.

Electricity retailers must now publish their feed-in tariff rates in their energy price fact sheets and these rates are displayed on the Australian Energy Regulator’s online electricity price comparator. This tool allows solar customers in South East Queensland to easily compare contracts and feed-in tariff rates offered by different retailers, and ultimately benefit from the competitive market.

If you are unhappy with the rate you are receiving you can compare different retailer offers on the electricity price comparator to find a rate that best suits you.

What is the feed-in tariff rate in South East Queensland?

Your solar bonus rate is shown on your electricity bill. There are different feed-in tariff rates available from different retailers in South East Queensland. You can compare the retailer feed-in tariff offers that are available by using the Australian Energy Regulator’s online electricity price comparator.

Form of payment for solar feed-in tariff revenues

The feed in tariffs you earn are by default paid as a credit on your electricity bill, which is usually settled quarterly. So the energy you export to the grid works to decrease your electricity bill. In the case that you’ve exported so much energy that your account goes into surplus, almost all energy retailers allow you to claim the cash by cheque or EFT on request.

Is an income from a feed in tariff taxable?

At this point, there doesn’t appear to be any specific taxation legislation dealing with income derived from feed in tariffs. Whether it is assessable income depends on the income producing nature of the activity. If it can be demonstrated that the system was installed with a view to making a profit, then receipts under the feed in tariff would be considered assessable income while all expenses associated with the income generating activity would be deductible (eg depreciation).
In most cases, systems installed at domestic sites would not be taxable as they would be considered personal use / hobby (i.e. not in the nature of a business or profit making scheme). If the system is installed at a commercial site, it will most likely be considered taxable. However, system owners should consult their  accountant for advice.

Feed in tariff income and social security

According to a May 2010 announcement from Centrelink, feed in tariff credits where applied as a credit on an electricity account are not included in Centrelink’s income test for pensioners, but credits converted to cash payments such as a cheque or direct deposit will be. However, if you get credits or discounts on your bill, it is not counted as income.

The adjusted policy applies from 14 May 2010 and is relevant to not just pensions, but all Social Security income support payments such as NewStart. However, we are still unclear if this applies to payments such as Family Tax Allowance and Parenting Payments. We advise people who may be affected should consult with their local Centrelink Office.

Is GST payable on feed in tariff revenue?

Individuals will not need to pay/remit GST from their feed in tariff income.  The reason being that selling electricity back to the utility providers is considered an enterprise but you need to receive $75k per annum from this source to be required to register for GST. However, businesses will need to pay/remit GST for their feed in tariff income.