The Queensland Government Solar Bonus Scheme pays households and other small customers for the surplus electricity generated from roof-top solar photovoltaic (PV) panel systems, that is exported to the Queensland electricity grid. The scheme is designed to make solar power more affordable for Queenslanders, stimulate the solar power industry and encourage energy efficiency.

The scheme rewards customers whenever they generate more electricity than they are using – not just the balance at the end of the quarter, but whenever generation exceeds consumption during the day.

The scheme is designed to boost the state’s use of renewable energy, encourage energy efficiency and stimulate the solar power industry in Queensland.

The Solar Bonus Scheme commenced on 1 July 2008. Customers wishing to claim the solar bonus should contact the electricity retailer that supplies them with grid-connected electricity.

How much will consumers be paid?

Customers participating in the scheme will be paid 44 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for surplus electricity fed into the grid—around three times the current general domestic use tariff of 16.29c/kWh (inc GST as at 1 July 2008).

The average consumer operating a 1 kilowatt (kW) solar system could save up to 25 per cent on their electricity bill by using electricity generated by the PV system and from payments received from the Solar Bonus Scheme.

The amount of electricity a customer returns to the grid will depend on how much energy is being consumed while the solar panels are generating power. Customers may be able to maximise their solar bonus by improving the energy efficiency of their home to export more electricity to the grid. This could be achieved by reducing standby power consumption, shifting some tasks to the evening and minimising the use of air-conditioners. Visit the EnergyWise tips section for simple ways to make your home more energy-efficient.

Who is eligible to receive the bonus?

To be eligible to receive the solar bonus, customers must:

* consume no more than 100 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity a year (the average household uses 10 MWh a year)
* purchase and install a new solar power (photovoltaic) system (not solar hot water system) or operate an existing system that is connected to the Queensland electricity grid
* generate surplus electricity that is fed into the Queensland electricity grid
* have an agreement in place with their electricity distributor (Ergon Energy or Energex) and have appropriate metering installed
* have solar PV systems with a capacity of up to 10kVA for single phase power and 30kVA for three-phase power
* hold an electricity account with an electricity retailer.

How will customers receive the solar bonus?

The solar bonus of 44c/kWh will be paid for electricity fed into the grid at times when the solar system generates more electricity than the household or business is using at any instant.

When the meter reader visits a customer’s home or business at the end of the quarter, the total amount of electricity exported to the grid and the total amount imported from the grid will be read and passed onto the retailer to calculate the bill.

The customer’s quarterly solar bonus payment for this excess electricity exported to the grid will be deducted from their total grid-connected electricity consumption charge on their electricity bill.

The customer’s grid-connected electricity consumption will also be lower (than without a solar system) as a result of the household or business consuming a portion of its electricity directly from the solar system.

If the solar bonus payments are greater than the total grid-connected electricity consumption charges over a 12-month period, the customer is entitled to have this balance refunded, rather than maintaining an ongoing credit.

When can consumers start claiming the solar bonus?

The Solar Bonus Scheme has now commenced. Customers wishing to participate in the scheme should contact the electricity retailer that supplies them with grid-connected electricity.

For customers participating in scheme, the solar bonus of 44 cents will be offered until 2028, but is to  be reviewed after 10 years or when 8 megawatts of solar systems are  installed (equal to 8,000 systems of 1 kW capacity), whichever occurs first.

How will the electricity metering operate?

The electricity generated by the solar power system is fed into the customer’s electricity load to help power the home or business in the first instance. It is also connected to the electricity grid via a meter (or meters) which record both electricity importe../../d from the grid and exported to the grid. When the electricity produced by the solar power system exceeds the customer__8217.css;s demand for electricity, this excess electricity is fed into the grid via the appropriate ‘export’ register of the meter.

The meter records the amount of electricity exported to the grid rather than the total amount of electricity generated by the solar system.

When the customer uses more electricity than is being produced by the solar PV system, the balance of electricity required is taken from the electricity grid via the appropriate ‘import’ register of the meter.

What electricity metering is required?

Customers wishing to claim the solar bonus will need electricity metering that separately records electricity imports and exports.

If required, the installation of new or additional meters will need to be arranged with the electricity distributor by your electricity retailer and costs met by the individual customer.

Customers with an existing solar PV system wired in a ‘gross’ metering configuration will need to rewire their system to a ‘net’ configuration, in order to participate in the scheme. Customers wishing to change their metering arrangements will need to consult with their electricity retailer.