Solar Bonus Scheme 44c feed-in tariff
Customers who applied for the Queensland Solar Bonus Scheme before 10 July 2012 and maintain their eligibility can continue to receive a feed-in tariff of 44 cents per kilowatt-hour for excess electricity exported to the grid.
The government’s decision on 31 May 2017 to remove the cost of the Solar Bonus Scheme from network tariffs will not impact payments made to eligible customers under the scheme. It merely means the costs of the scheme will be met by the government instead of electricity customers.
On 15 June 2017, the Queensland Government announced proposed changes to the Electricity Act 1994 that clarify how batteries and additional generation can work alongside the Solar Bonus Scheme. If passed, the proposed changes will apply to the installation of batteries and additional generation after 15 June 2017.
This feed-in tariff is closed to new solar customers. The Solar Bonus Scheme is legislated to expire on 1 July 2028. See market feed-in tariffs in SEQ and the feed-in tariff for regional customers for information on feed-in tariff rates that apply now.
Keeping your eligibility
To maintain eligibility for the 44 cent feed-in tariff, you need to:
consume less than 100 megawatt-hours of electricity a year (the average home uses approximately 6.1 megawatt-hours a year)
maintain an electricity account with an electricity retailer for the premises where the solar PV system is installed
operate an existing system that is connected to a distribution network in a net metered arrangement with an inverter size not exceeding the capacity approved by your electricity distributor
have a connection agreement in place with an electricity distributor
remain the electricity account holder for the premises where the system is connected
ensure that the name on your account doesn't change if you change to another retailer
ensure you replace any component with a like-for-like part
check with your distributor before adding extra panels, systems or batteries
only use alternative sources of energy (such as other generators or batteries) when the system receiving the 44cent feed-in tariff is not operating (i.e. at night or during blackouts), or arrange for a separate connection for additional generators or batteries.
You will lose eligibility for the 44 cent feed-in tariff if you:
move house (as this will result in a new electricity account holder for the premises)
sell or let your house (if this results in a new electricity account holder for the premises)
increase your inverter capacity (size)
close your electricity account
are disconnected (for example, because you fail to pay a bill or breach a contract)
add extra capacity (panels) which exceeds the rated capacity of your system’s inverter
use alternative energy sources, such as other generators or batteries, when the system receiving the 44cent feed-in tariff is operating (unless alternative sources have separate connections to the network).
Carefully consider any changes you make to your electricity account or solar system. You can maintain your eligibility if you:
transfer your electricity account into the name of your spouse (if you change it into any other name you will lose your eligibility)
add your spouse's name onto your electricity account (if you add anyone who isn't your spouse you will lose your eligibility)
remove a name from your electricity account (but if you add a name back onto your account and they are not your spouse you will lose your eligibility)
add solar panels to your system to increase your system size up to the size of your inverter. (Your system must comply with the relevant Australian Standards and you must contact your electricity distributor to inform them of your intention to add panels to your system.)
replace your inverter with one of the same, or smaller size (if you replace it with a larger inverter, you will lose your eligibility).
Moving or renting your house
If you are selling or renting your house and there is a new electricity account holder, the new owner or tenant will not receive the 44 cent feed-in tariff unless the new owner or tenant is your spouse. They will have to speak to their electricity retailer to organise a new feed-in tariff.
If you are currently receiving the 44 cent feed-in tariff and you move house, you can't take your system with you and continue to receive the same feed-in tariff.
Selling or renting a house with a small solar system
The feed-in tariff is paid to the customer that holds the electricity account for the individual premises. If your property was rented when you applied for the 44 cent feed-in tariff and your tenant held the electricity account at that time, the tenant will the benefit of the feed-in tariff.
Importantly, if you then rent the property to a new tenant (which results in the name on the electricity account changing) then eligibility for the 44 cent feed-in tariff will lapse from the date when the account name changes.
Selling or renting a house with a large solar system
If you operate a system of greater than 5 kilowatts and your electricity is supplied by Ergon Energy, you should be aware that changing the electricity account over to anyone other than your spouse will mean that the 44 cent feed-in tariff lapses. It will also mean that the new account holder (new owner or tenant) will not receive the mandated regional feed-in tariff because eligibility is limited to systems up to 5kW in size.
The new owner or tenant and will need to discuss a voluntary feed-in tariff with their electricity retailer when they set up their electricity account for the property.
Lost your eligibility?
In some circumstances, name changes on an electricity account may cause a customer to be removed from the Solar Bonus Scheme in error. It is important that you check your electricity bill after any account changes to ensure the correct feed-in tariff is being applied.
If you believe this has happened, refer to your electricity distributor's website or contact them for details about the process for a review. If you have been removed from the 44 cent feed-in tariff incorrectly, the distributor will restore and backdate the tariff.
Several changes have been made to the Solar Bonus Scheme since it began in 2008.
The Solar Bonus Scheme guideline (PDF, 314.9KB) provides detailed information about the history and rules of the 44 cent feed-in tariff.
The Electricity Act 1994 and the Electricity Regulation 2006 set out many of the rules that apply to the 44 cent feed-in tariff.
If something goes wrong
Sometimes things do go wrong and disputes arise, so it is important to be prepared. You should know who to call for help and what your rights are. You can find more information on dispute resolution.
11 August 2017