A feed-in-tariff is the rate you are paid for any electricity generated by your solar PV system that is exported back to the grid.

Feed-in tariffs are generally available for residential systems and do not necessarily extend to commercial customers. However, in most cases, commercial customers should be able to negotiate a rate with their electricity retailer.

Almost all feed-in tariffs offered now are 'net' feed-in tariffs. This means that the electricity produced by your solar panels will be used in your home first, and you will only be paid for excess electricity that is exported to the grid. (Previously, some households were eligible for 'gross' feed-in tariffs, meaning they were paid for all electricity generated by their solar panels, regardless of whether it was exported to the grid or used by the household.)

Feed-in tariffs differ from state to state and from retailer to retailer. In some states the government regulates a minimum rate, and in other states it is up to you to negotiate a deal with your electricity retailer.

There is no government-regulated minimum retailer payment in New South Wales or southeast Queensland. It is worth shopping around to find out which electricity retailers offer the best rates for solar customers.

For more information on feed-in tariffs, contact your relevant state government body:

  • ACT: Department of Environment, Climate Change, Energy and Water, 13 22 81
  • NSW: Department of Industry and Investment, 1300 136 888
  • NT: Department of the Chief Minister, (08) 8999 5511
  • Qld: Office of Clean Energy, 13 25 23
  • SA: Sustainability and Climate Change Division, (08) 8204 2999
  • Tas: Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources, 1300 135 513
  • Vic: Department of State Development, Business and Innovation, (03) 9651 9999
  • WA: Office of Energy, (08) 9420 5600

Questions to ask your electricity retailer

  • What price will they pay you for exported electricity (in cents per kWh)?
  • What is the cost of the electricity you purchase from your retailer (in cents per kWh), and will you lose your off-peak rates once you install solar?
  • Will you be charged a higher daily fixed charge if you connect solar?
  • How will you be paid for electricity you produce? Will you receive cash or a credit on your electricity bill?
  • Are there any penalty clauses (termination costs) or other administration fees?
  • Will your metering need to be upgraded so you can receive the feed-in tariff, and are there any costs involved?
  • How often will excess energy be calculated (e.g. instantaneously, daily or quarterly)?