Household customers receive three types of benefits from installing a renewable energy system:
An upfront discount on the purchase price of your renewable energy system;
Savings from purchasing less energy from your retailer (because you are using energy generated by your renewable energy system); and
Payments for any excess electricity that your renewable energy system feeds into the electricity grid, also known as the energy buyback scheme.
1. Upfront incentives
The Commonwealth Government provides a financial incentive for the installation of renewable energy systems through the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme. Involvement in this scheme is generally arranged by solar installers, so the customer receives an upfront discount on their purchase price. Your installer will be able to tell you more about this scheme.
2. Electricity savings
The savings from consuming your own energy are generally the biggest benefit that customers receive from installing a renewable energy system.
When your system is generating, the output is first used to meet your household consumption, with only excess electricity being exported to the grid. When your system is not generating, or is generating less electricity than you consume, you will be purchasing electricity from your retailer at the regular tariff rate.
All energy that you consume from your system is electricity that you do not buy from your retailer, therefore it has a value to your household that is equivalent to your tariff rate.
Please note that the benefits you receive from reduced electricity purchases will not be shown as a separate line item on your bill. This is because retailers do not have the ability to see how much of the solar power produced is being used in the home, they can only see how much energy you purchase, and how much you export to the grid.
3. Energy Buyback Schemes
The Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS) offers eligible customers a time of export payment for electricity they export to the grid, including from solar PV systems, batteries and electric vehicles.
On 31 August 2020 the State Government announced the Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS) replacing the previous energy buyback scheme. It recognises the way rooftop solar PV, batteries and electric vehicles are transforming Western Australia’s electricity system.
DEBS extends buyback payments to include exports from batteries and export-capable electric vehicles.
DEBS is also a "time of export" payment, meaning it offers a higher buyback rate at peak times (between 3pm and 9pm) when electricity is worth more.
The new pricing structure encourages households to use more of their own solar energy generation in the middle of the day when it is plentiful, and to install west facing panels that will produce more electricity later in the day, when it is in high demand. These new incentives are enabling the grid to become greener by integrating more renewable energy systems whilst keeping our electricity system reliable and secure.