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SA Solar Feed In Tariff Reducing.

We have been receiving a heap of calls of late with customers alarmed that their feed in tariffs in Adelaide are dropping to as low as 5c per kWh.

We have created this post to shed some light as to why the tariffs are dropping, and what the options are to make the most from your solar power investment.

What is a feed in tariff? A feed in tariff is the income you can receive for the excess solar generation, from your PV plant.  It’s important to note that your Solar PV system will generate power to supply your demand first, with any excess being ‘sold to the grid’.  We cover more on this topic here.

Why are the SA Solar Feed in Tariffs Dropping? Energy retailers are dropping feed in tariffs due to the fact that wholesale energy prices are dropping in South Australia. The wholesale rate is dropping due to the fact that South Australia has significant amounts of renewable energy on the grid during the day (when the sun is shining).  It’s simple supply and demand, there is too much supply when the demand is low. As SA builds more interconnection with the eastern states, we will see wholesale rates increase in the long term.  This will likely also increase the rate of feed in, in the future.

The Top 5 options for getting the most out of your solar PV investment, now that the feed in income is lower. 

1. Look at changing your energy provider.

A lot of consumers looked for the biggest feed in tariff when choosing their energy provider. Now that the value has generally decreased across the board, it may be worth looking at a provider that offers a good per kWh rate for the rest of the energy you use.  If you remember in the early days of mobile phones, a company may have offered you FREE voicemail but the call rate was higher than another network. This was largely just a gimmick, as overall you ended up paying the same.  Energy rates and Feed in Tariffs have been much the same. A retailer may offer you a huge feed in tariff, but will also charge you a huge rate for electricity you buy when the sun isn’t out.

One of the unique options available in South Australia is Amber Electric, where you pay wholesale rates. With these guys you get the benefit of all this excess renewables on the SA Grid – Click here for more information.

2. Install a meter so you can see exactly when you are using energy, and when the solar is exceeding your usage.

Most solar inverters have an option for a meter to be installed to work with it’s solar APP. Whilst these devices have been available for many years, they were rarely installed as standard to keep up front investments lower. Once you have the data, you can then look at various ways to use more of your energy when the sun is shining. Some technology can also be connected with smart home devices, so that you can control appliances within the home. For example you could set your air conditioner to run whilst you are out to cool down the home on a hot day. Once your home is already cooled for free from the sun, you won’t need to rely on it as much at night when the solar isn’t working, thus reducing your overall energy bill.

At Energy Storage Direct we can provide metering for any type of solar power system, if you would like a quote – click here

3. Change your hot water system to a heat pump.

Most South Australian’s in the metropolitan area have a gas hot water system. Whilst gas has traditionally been seen as a more eco friendly option than electric, you can’t get more eco friendly and cost effective than an air sourced heat pump being powered by your excess solar production. A heat pump offers a coefficient performance of 3:1, so what this means is that for ever 1kW of electricity used, will generate 3x that of a standard electric element.  This equates to around 50 litres of hot water for every kW you feed the heat pump.  An average home with an instant gas hot water system is spending $600 per year heating water, this expense can be largely be eliminated by using your excess solar production to fuel a hot water heat pump.

*Note – Natural gas is largely methane, and methane has significantly more global warming potential than Co2 over 10-15 years. Cutting out gas usage can make a good impact if you are looking at having a Net Zero footprint.

We work with some of the largest heat pump installers in South Australia, and can provide you with a quote to upgrade – click here

4. Install a battery.

Installing a battery can be an easy way to ensure you are making the most out of your solar production, without the need to change your behaviour. Installing a battery is also useful during a power interruption, where some loads can be fed by the battery until the power comes back on. We will typically include the fridge, some lights, internet and a couple of GPO’s as the back up loads. This way you can keep ‘living’ whilst the power goes down, and you can extend the coverage of the battery if the power goes down for long periods.

We offer several options for almost any type of existing solar PV installation, and we work with most major brands.  See our battery pages for more information, about an options that might suit you. – Click here.

5. Make your next car an EV.

Feeding your excess solar generation via an EV charger can be a great use of your excess solar production. This can be a great option for both residential and commercial solar PV customers. In a business you can even potentially charge your EV driving clients to top up their cars from your solar electricity.  For residential customers, the most common objection is that ‘I’m at work all day’ which can be a valid point.  Although in Summer solar is generating from 6am until 9pm 7 days per week. For most consumers we find there is ample time to charge their EV at least once or twice through the week. In South Australia there are now also special discounted tariffs for home EV charging, to help SAPN manage the grid and to increase the uptake of EV’s.

One of the most exciting innovations of late is from an inverter company called Solar Edge, where you can have an EV charger built in to your solar inverter. This is an easy way to let the inverter manage your EV charging from your excess solar production.   See the Solar Edge product here.