Horizon Power of Western Australia will introduce area-specific solar feed-in tariffs, a first for the country. While owners of solar systems in some towns will receive a fairly high rate, others will receive considerably less.
Horizon Power’s Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme rate is currently equivalent to a customer’s current electricity tariff, less GST. Horizon’s incentive is in addition to Western Australia’s state government mandated feed in tariff rate of 8c per kilowatt hour.
Starting 1 July 2012, a minimum buyback rate of 10 cents per kilowatt hour and a maximum of 50 cents per kilowatt hour will apply to the company’s solar customers, depending on their location.
“Customers in Meekatharra for example, will receive a buyback rate of 50 cents for every kilowatt hour exported, while customers in Broome will receive a buyback rate of 10 cents,” said Scott Davis, Horizon Power Manager Sales, Marketing and Product Development.
The state government component will not be affected by the change. According to Mr. Davis, all Horizon customers except those already on a commercial buyback contract with the company will be automatically transferred over to the new pricing structure from July 1.
Horizon says the change is to recognise the difference in the cost of delivering energy to various areas. Those in towns located further from energy generation sources, or where power generation is expensive, will be offered higher prices for the solar generated electricity they export to the grid. For those closer to the sources, the incentive will be lowered to reflect the lower cost of providing electricity to those areas.
Horizon Power is state government-owned and supplies electricity to more than 100,000 residents and 9000 businesses across regional Western Australia.
With electricity prices in Western Australia set to keep rising, households in the state are installing solar panels to decrease or even eliminate their electricity bills. A 3.2kW rooftop solar power installation in Perth can generate electricity savings of around $1,200 a year. For households in regional and remote areas of Western Australia, the savings could be much higher.
Renewable Energy Buyback Pricelist – Valid from 1 July 2012
Town / Cents per kWh Offered
Beagle Bay 50.00
Coral Bay 25.06
Fitzroy Crossing 11.55
Gascoyne Junction 50.00
Halls Creek 11.72
Kununurra*/Wyndham*/Lake Argyle* 16.09
Marble Bar* 47.10
Mount Magnet 32.83
Port Hedland 10.00