Retailers battle for highest feed-in tariff

Solar feed-in tariff battle

The solar feed-in battle is on. Origin Energy has hit back at rival AGL by introducing high feed-in tariffs targeted at winning over solar owners. While the Origin plans don’t have any export caps, a PV system limit of 10kW applies. Let’s look at the plans and who stands to gain.

Origin feed-in tariffs boosted

Origin Energy has increased feed-in rates on their more accessible Solar boost offer to strike at AGL’s Solar Savers. In addition, Origin’s Solar Boost Plus plans have been changed up in some markets. The catch with the Solar Boost Plus plans is they require the purchase of an eligible PV system from Origin Energy. The Solar Boost Plus plans offer a 24 month benefit period versus 12 months for the Solar Boost. After the benefit period, the solar feed-in tariff reverts to their standard rate, currently 8 cents in NSW.
Go here to see a full breakdown of Origin’s latest feed-in tariffs by plan for your location. Of course, you’ll want to evaluate whether the plan actually stacks up for your situation with a complete comparison.

The biggest winner from the solar feed-in battle

Like all high solar feed-in tariff, these plans come with either high usage rates or solar export caps. When retailers are paying feed-in tariffs at 15 cents or higher, it’s a loss-making initiative. So retailers employ a combination of tactics to limit how much they pay out (through export or system caps or a limited benefit period) and/or by offsetting costs by higher pricing elsewhere on the plan. However, for the customers with the right situation, these deals can really stack up.

Storage owners are likely to find these tariffs are an extremely good deal. I would expect that most solar owners with larger systems coupled with storage will end up with an annual electricity bill that’s close to nothing. In some circumstances, they could receive a credit across a whole year.

Will it make everyone happy?

The high feed-in tariffs offered by these plans will certainly attract a lot of solar owners. However, not everyone will receive the same level of joy. These plans have high usage rates, so are best suited to those who consume limited amounts of grid electricity and/or have large solar exports. To check whether these high feed-in tariffs are a good overall deal for you, use our free comparison service.

The Origin Energy Solar Boost plan comes with a 12 month benefit period. As a result, Origin may struggle to keep solar owners unless they offer them another good deal. AGL Solar Savers customers have an extra year before they too need check in again and possibly shop around.

Making storage more attractive

The nature of these plans may encourage solar owners to think about adding storage to mitigate the “higher than average” usage rates. So AGL and Origin are either wittingly or unwittingly offering plans that provoke storage uptake. Even better, with an agreed mechanism for retailers to access this storage, then the added value created would mean high feed-in tariff deals could become a long-term situation. This might be through time-varying feed-in tariffs – like those introduced by EnergyAustralia in Victoria. It may be through the broader rollout of demand management programs that provide payments to solar storage owners to share the value of the generation they have in peak periods.

We’re always excited to report on products that reward solar owners for supporting renewables – as its something that’s close to heart.

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