Why is the Solar Bonus Scheme ending?

SBS closure factsheet thumbnailThe Solar Bonus Scheme (the Scheme) has always been legislated to close on 31 December 2016. This is in accordance with the original intention of Parliament and set out in section 15A External link icon of the Electricity Supply Act 1995.

The Scheme has been successful in achieving its aim. Over 146,000 households and small businesses installed a small-scale renewable energy generator under the Scheme and since the Scheme close to new applicants, a further 174,000 customers have installed systems without a subsidised feed-in tariff.

Download the Solar Bonus Scheme FAQs fact sheet PDF (754 KB PDF).

What are smart meters?

Advanced meters, also known as smart meters, are electricity meters that measure customers' electricity consumption in real time, and are capable of being remotely read and operated.

Advanced meters have many benefits, such as:

  • customers can get much more up-to-date information on their energy consumption and costs
  • electricity retailers can read the meter remotely, saving the cost of manual meter reading. The meter can be read every day, so customers can be provided with much more timely and accurate bills
  • electricity networks can monitor electricity supply conditions much more quickly and accurately. Blackouts and other supply problems can be detected and fixed more quickly
  • residents moving into a house can have their power reconnected immediately, without having to wait for a service visit. Please note that this will not be available in NSW until December 2017.

SBS metering fact sheet thumbnailIn the future, smart appliances will be able to communicate with smart meters, giving consumers greater control over their electricity usage.

Find out more about smart meters and emerging technologies.

Download the Metering information fact sheet PDF (1.5 MB PDF) for Solar Bonus Scheme customers.

What is gross metering?

Gross metering measures the total amount of electricity generated by a renewable energy generator. Under gross metering arrangements, all electricity generated is exported to the grid and you have to buy back any electricity used at the retail price.

Gross Metering

What is net metering?

Under net metering arrangements, the electricity generated is used to supply your energy requirements first and any excess electricity generation that is not used is exported to the grid.  By reducing the use of grid electricity in this way, you can reduce your electricity bills.

Net Metering

What is a feed-in tariff?

A feed-in tariff is the amount of money paid to feed electricity from your renewable energy generator into the grid. Feed-in tariffs can be subsidised, like the Solar Bonus Scheme, or unsubsidised, such as a tariff received from a retailer once the Solar Bonus Scheme ends.

How do I know what type of meter and tariff I have?

Details about your meter and tariff will be on your electricity bill. Contact your retailer if you are unsure.

Do I have to change my meter?

No. The change is voluntary. You should speak to an electricity retailer to assess your options.

Why is an unsubsidised feed-in tariff lower than what I pay for electricity?

Unsubsidised feed-in tariffs are lower than what you pay for electricity because electricity bills cover the cost of everything involved with supplying electricity to your home or business, including the cost of:

  • electricity bought from generators by your retailer
  • delivering the electricity to your home or business through the poles and wires
  • various government green schemes
  • retailer administration.

Owners of small-scale renewable energy installations on the other hand only get paid for the electricity they add to the grid and not the total cost of getting the electricity to customers.

Read more about feed-in tariffs and electricity pricing on IPART's solar feed-in tariff information page External link icon.