Households Slugged by New Solar Charges - Solar Citizens

Households Slugged by New Solar Charges

28 April 2021: Households Slugged by New Soar Charges

A new analysis out today has found that the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has largely underestimated the impact that the proposed ‘sun tax’ will have on millions of Australia's solar homes. 

The analysis, undertaken by Professor Bruce Mountain of the Victoria Energy Policy Centre, found that after deducting the proposed network usage charge many solar homes, excluding those in Victoria, are unlikely to obtain any payment from surplus solar energy exported to the grid.

The AEMC is proposing a rule change that will allow network providers to charge solar households and businesses for exporting electricity. Under the proposed new rules, network providers will be able to charge solar households far more than the cost of integrating rooftop solar into the grid.

“This new evidence shows us the AEMC has significantly underestimated how much millions of Australians will be affected by their proposed rule change,” said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens’ National Director. 

“It’s estimated that solar households will be charged at least 4 cents per kWh when they export to the grid.

“With feed-in tariffs dropping all the time, this rule change will majorly impact the financial incentive for solar owners to provide cheap electricity for their neighbours to use.

“Everyday Australians have made the switch to solar in good faith to slash their bills and do their bit for the environment.

“Now the AEMC wants to let big network companies decide how much solar owners get slogged. It’s not good enough.”

Key findings of the report include:

  • The AEMC’s proposed rule change is ‘likely to leave solar homes with little or no income from rooftop solar exports’ as feed-in tariffs drop.

  • An error in the AEMC’s calculations means that the average network export charge is estimated to be at least 4 cents per kWh and possibly up to 4.9 cents per kWh.

  • The AEMC’s proposed solar charge is more than ten times greater than the annual charge that would be needed to cover distributed energy integration costs.

  • It’s estimated that in Victoria the proposed charge will reduce annual income that a typical solar household makes from exporting to just $33. 


Media contact: Ellen Roberts 0408 583 694