As of the (31st August 2020), residential solar power systems installed in Western Australia no longer receive the REBS or ‘Renewable Buyback Scheme’ solar feed-in tariff of 7.135 cents per kilowatt-hour. Instead, they now receive the DEBS or ‘Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme’ that will instead pay:
- 3 Cents for each kilowatt-hour of solar electricity fed into the grid for most of the day, and…
- 10 cents for each kilowatt-hour exported from 3pm in the afternoon until 9pm in the evening.
Because rooftop solar produces most of its energy in the middle of the day, that works out to be an average of 3.8c for north-facing solar panels and roughly 4.4c for west-facing solar on a roof with an average pitch of 22.5 degrees.
All new solar systems that were installed from the 31st of August will be required to receive the DEBS feed-in-tariff. The new tariff started on the 6th of November, until then all new solar installations still received the old feed-in-tariff of 7.135c per kilowatt-hour.
The new feed-in-tariffs will also be paid for energy from home batteries or electric cars exported to the grid. This explains why the 10c feed-in-tariff period extends until 9pm when the latest the sets is 7.25pm in Perth.
Currently, there is no specific information available on how DEBS will be implemented in remote and regional WA.
Although the cut to feed-in-tariffs reduces the return on solar panels they remain a good investment for most households.
The feed-in-tariff cut means solar households within Western Australia will be exploited even more than in the past. Given the high cost of providing electricity in WA, solar feed-in-tariffs should be above the national average rather than the lowest in Australia.
The feed-in-tariff reduction makes solar power a little less attractive, however solar is still a great investment. Perth is the sunniest capital in Australia and has the nation’s lowest rooftop solar prices making it an amazing investment.
For example, a $5,000 north facing 6.6 kilowatt solar system in Perth receiving the REBS 7.135c feed-in-tariff, will still have a payback time of roughly 3 years and 9 months.
However, if the same system was receiving the new DEBS feed-in-tariff and the panels were also facing north, west or split between those two directions. Its payback time would roughly be 4 years and 7 months.