Are you part of the NSW solar bonus scheme?

I’ve just researched what those of us on the solar bonus scheme should be doing before the end of the year.

We need to

  1. Get meters changed to a smart meter.
  2. Prepare to self consume all your solar power after Dec 31 when we lose the high tariffs.
  3. Find a good electricity deal

Some details and tips for getting the most value from your solar PV:


My daughter is part of the scheme and has been offered a free changeover to a SMART meter by her energy supplier, there is no mention of any obligations on the user in regard to contract period opt out conditions etc.Can Choice research the various deals and provide some guidance please.
Some questions to be clarified, who owns the new meter, is there any obligation to stay with the same energy supplier if they supply the meter, if the meter isn’t installed before 31 Dec because of delays by the supplier will they adjust the charges to reflect self use of solar.

My understanding is that if you accept the offer its business as usual if you don’t somewhere down the track you will be charged for installation of the meter. I did ring up about this when I got the letter and this was the information I received.

Thank you Margaret, the question is, if there is no binding contract in existence, do you have to stay with them forever or can you change to another supplier after a period without penalty, or having agreed to let them install the meter will they introduce new conditions after it has been installed??

In Vic we too about 7-8 years ago had the generous start up tariff scheme for roof mounted solar panels. Us early adopters were locked in at 66cents power company buy back for 25 years. This relatively generous incentive was based on the very high install costs of over $10,000 for a 1KV unit and relatively small output systems, and we were required to pay for smart meters back then when it was installed.

IMO it is very unfair for these schemes to be subsequently be wound back for the early solar adopters, as thru our major expense and risk we normalised the solar uptake practice for the community, we bore the risk of low returns and helped get the fledgling industry off the ground. The higher payback tariff over 25 years on the small early systems was designed to encourage uptake of solar power which would never otherwise reach a payback at lower tariffs.
Without early adopters around the world the solar manufacturing facilities would not have been successful and had revenue to expand and dramatically reduce the unit price of solar systems so much so they can be installed today relatively cheaply.

If I was an early adopter in NSW I would have been very angry about the changes, as its is clear from these changes the conventional power industry lobby is dictating to the state government energy policy of NSW.

The early adopters solar startup tariff is currently not under threat in Vic but who knows that could change with future governments that may come to power could decided to change legislation.

Choice has been advised that consumers do not own the meters, be they smart meters or older ones. The distribution companies are responsible for them. Always read the terms and conditions of your electricity plan from your retailer, and ask questions about ongoing commitments and any penalties for leaving the retailer.

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Thank you for your response, after a contract period expires the supplier continues to supply the user but the user is not bound to the supplier and can leave at any time so I assume that there is no recourse to terms and conditions, this is grey area and the supplier is not a good source of advice, that is why I am seeking clarification as no doubt this will apply to many consumers.

Hi Alison and all, AGL upgraded our electricity meter in approx Oct 2016. Note: we have standard supply, no Solar as yet. In Nov 2016 I commenced the mkve to Powershop and as part of that process, specifically asked AGL if there was any charge for the newly installed smart meter. No they said and I successfully relocated to Powershop. Cheers Ross

An article about solar in NSW 2018, with some bits of reality…

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“Changes to solar feed-in tariffs have caused huge increases to power bills”

Indeed, but they are still much lower than they would be without solar panels, a point which isn’t really made clear in the Murdoch site article. By moving your main electrical loads to daytime, you have essentially free (marginal cost) electricity, instead of paying ~25-30c (fixed rate) or even >50c (if on TOU) per kWh. This is much more valuable to the householder than exporting energy for as low as zero cents per kWh.

Even with the lower solar feed-in tariffs, many people are able to recoup the cost of their PV system in a few years. At the moment, adding a battery will generally increase the payback time. However there are plans with a sonnen battery where you only pay a fixed monthly fee of $30 or $50 for medium to high usage and pay nothing for electricity or standing charges (over $1.50/day around here), and these plans are very good value for some.