1. How do I find out if my application to connect to the grid was received by the distributor before the Solar Bonus Scheme (the Scheme) cut-off date?

2. I submitted an application for connection before the cut-off dates but did NOT seek to participate in the Scheme. Can I now re-submit my application so that I can participate in the Scheme and receive the credit?

3. I receive a Scheme tariff (60 cents or 20 cents per kilowatt hour). Can I increase or decrease the capacity of my system and still receive that rate?

4. I am a 60 cent Scheme customer. I wish to expand my solar generating capacity without losing the 60 cent rate for my current generator. What are my options?

5. I am a 20 cent Scheme customer. Can I expand the generating capacity of my solar system and continue to receive the 20 cent rate?

6. Will I continue to receive the Scheme tariff if I live in the same property but the name on my electricity account changes due to a change in my domestic relationship (e.g. change of name due to marriage, death or separation)?

7. I am currently receiving a Scheme tariff. If I change retailer, without moving house, will I continue to receive the Scheme tariff?

8. If I move house, can I take my panels with me and continue to receive Scheme tariff payments?

9. Am I able to install more than one eligible renewable generator and receive the Scheme credit?

10. If I move out of my house, will the next occupant be eligible to receive the Scheme tariff?

11. How is the Scheme tariff payment received? What happens to participating customers' regular electricity bills?

12. Will the Scheme tariff include a GST component?

13. How will the Scheme tariff affect my pension or other Centrelink payments?

14. How are my Scheme payments calculated?

15. Can I switch from a 'gross' to a 'net' meter and still receive the Scheme tariffs?

16. Can I have different types of meters attached to my Scheme generator?

17. I am not eligible for the Scheme. Can I still install a solar PV system?

18. What are the telephone contact numbers for the Network Services Businesses?

19. How does the Solar Bonus Scheme apply to tenants and landlords?

20. What if my organisation has a large retail supply contract (for electricity consumption 160 megawatt hours or greater) which consolidates a number of small sites (each consuming less than 160 megawatt hours)?


1. How do I find out if my application to connect to the grid was received by the distributor before the Solar Bonus Scheme (the Scheme) cut-off date?

Contact your electricity distributor. Your electricity distributor will have the details of when your application was received.

Electricity distributors are the businesses that own the poles and wires that transport electricity to homes and businesses. There are three distributors in NSW, servicing different parts of the State. You will be serviced by either Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy or Essential Energy. Your electricity bill should note which distributor services your local area. The distributors can be contacted on:

  • Ausgrid: 13 13 65
  • Endeavour Energy: 13 37 18
  • Essential Energy: 13 23 91

If you wish to dispute the date on which your electricity distributor received your application, you can contact the Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW (EWON) on 1800 246 545 or omb@ewon.com.au.

2. I submitted an application for connection before the cut-off dates but did NOT seek to participate in the Scheme. Can I now re-submit my application so that I can participate in the Scheme and receive the credit?

No. The Scheme closed to new applications from 28 April 2011.

3. I receive a Scheme tariff (60 cents or 20 cents per kilowatt hour). Can I increase or decrease the capacity of my system and still receive that rate?

Customers eligible for the Scheme tariff can expand the capacity of their solar generation systems up to 10 kilowatts and continue to receive a Scheme tariff.

If you are receiving the 60 cents per kilowatt hour tariff and you expand the capacity of your generation system, you will be switched to the 20 cents per kilowatt hour tariff.

If you receive the 20 cents per kilowatt hour tariff and you increase the generating capacity of the system up to 10 kilowatts, you will remain eligible for the 20 cent tariff rate.

It is important to note that regardless of which tariff rate you receive, at all times your generating system must have a capacity of 10 kilowatts or less for you to remain eligible for the Scheme.

If you change the size of your system and it affects your Scheme tariff, you must notify your distributor within 7 days. Fines and penalties of up to $110,000 may apply for failure to notify.

You can decrease the capacity of your generating system at any time without changing your eligibility under the Scheme.

You will need to ensure you follow the technical requirements of your distributor for changes to your system.

4. I am a 60 cent Scheme customer. I wish to expand my solar generating capacity without losing the 60 cent rate for my current generator. What are my options?

Customers may change the capacity of their inverter up to the scheme limit of 10kW without losing access to the 60 c/kWh FiT.

You may expand your overall generating capacity and retain the 60 cent tariff payment for your Scheme generator if the additional capacity is from a separately metered, non-Scheme generator. No Scheme payments are available for the non-Scheme generator.

You should check what feed-in tariffs are available for the non-Scheme generator and confirm whether your preferred retailer will pay a non-Scheme tariff in addition to the Scheme tariff. You may change retailer without losing your eligibility for Solar Bonus Scheme credits. You can check market offers, including feed-in tariffs at www.energymadeeasy.gov.au

You must notify your distributor of any change to your Scheme generator that would affect your receipt of Scheme payments. Fines and penalties of up to $110,000 may apply for failure to notify.

The connection must be made in accordance with directions provided by the distributor.

The Scheme generator will need to be gross metered and the non-Scheme generator will need to be net metered. With a net meter you are able to consume the generation at the time it takes place (saving you the retail price of that consumption). Only the portion of generation that is not consumed is exported.

5. I am a 20 cent Scheme customer. Can I expand the generating capacity of my solar system and continue to receive the 20 cent rate?

Yes. If you receive the 20 cent Scheme tariff you may increase your Scheme generator's capacity and retain the 20 cent tariff, provided that the total generating capacity does not exceed 10 kilowatts. You may wish to check whether you have a gross or net meter. Customers on the 20 cent tariff are better off with a net meter. Under net metering, electricity from a solar system is first used to meet any consumption that takes place at the time of the generation. This means that for each kilowatt hour a customer consumes of their own generation, they save the retail price that would otherwise be paid for that consumption. Before paying to change your meter you may wish to contact your retailer, or competing retailers, to see if they plan to provide a meter that facilitates smart energy services (smart meter) in the near future. You can then weigh up whether to change the meter now or wait for the retailer or another third party to provide this service for you.

6. Will I continue to receive the Scheme tariff if I live in the same property but the name on my electricity account changes due to a change in my domestic relationship (e.g. change of name due to marriage, death or separation)?

Yes. If the new customer (new name of the electricity account) is in a domestic relationship with the previous customer, they can continue to receive the Scheme tariff – 60 or 20 cent rate, whichever applies.

NSW Department of Industry cannot provide advice on the individual circumstances of interested participants.

You will need to advise your distributor of the change in your domestic relationship. Your distributor will be Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy or Essential Energy and can be contacted on:

  • Ausgrid: 13 13 65
  • Endeavour Energy: 13 37 18
  • Essential Energy: 13 23 91

7. I am currently receiving a Scheme tariff. If I change retailer, without moving house, will I continue to receive the Scheme tariff?

Yes. If you continue to reside at the same address but decide to switch to a different electricity retailer you will continue to be eligible for the same tariff rate.

8. If I move house, can I take my panels with me and continue to receive Scheme tariff payments?

No. Moving premises would require a new application to join the Scheme and the Scheme was closed to new applications from 28 April 2011.

9. Am I able to install more than one eligible renewable generator and receive the Scheme credit?

No, only one eligible renewable energy generator (solar photovoltaic (PV) system or wind turbine) per customer will be eligible for the Scheme credit.

Generators that have both solar PV and wind turbine components are regarded as multiple generators.

Customers with more than one site are eligible for one generator only, provided they meet the Scheme eligibility criteria.

10. If I move out of my house, will the next occupant be eligible to receive the Scheme tariff?

Regardless of whether you received the 60 cent tariff or the 20 cent tariff, the new account holder will be eligible to receive the 20 cent tariff subject to them meeting the eligibility requirements. The only exception to this is If you were a 60 cent tariff recipient and the new occupant can demonstrate that they were in a 'domestic relationship' with you, then they will be eligible to receive the 60 cent tariff.

Once the premises has moved to the 20 cent Scheme tariff it can not return to the 60 cent Scheme tariff even if the original account holder takes back the account.

11. How is the Scheme tariff payment received? What happens to participating customers' regular electricity bills?

All electricity retailers are required to provide eligible customers with either a Scheme credit on their electricity bill or a cash payment representing this amount. How a customer receives their Scheme benefit is at the discretion of the retailer.

A bill issued to an eligible customer is required to include the amount of electricity supplied to the distributor during the billing period and the amount to be credited for that electricity.

12. Will the Scheme tariff include a GST component?

Customers should seek independent tax advice concerning GST and any other tax matters.

The NSW Government is not able to provide advice as to whether or not particular income or payments are taxable by the Commonwealth Government.

Customers should speak to their accountant or the Australian Tax Office for advice as to whether Scheme payments are taxable in their particular circumstances. To contact the Australian Tax Office customers can visit www.ato.gov.au or call 13 28 66 for business tax enquiries or 13 28 61 for personal tax enquiries.

13. How will the Scheme tariff affect my pension or other Centrelink payments?

Pensions and other Department of Human Services (formerly Centrelink) payments are managed by the Commonwealth Government, through the Department of Human Services.

On 14 May 2010, in a Media Release by the Commonwealth Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, the Commonwealth Government clarified the way feed-in tariffs from household solar panels are assessed for the purposes of the pension income test. The Commonwealth Minister has stated that:

  • feed-in tariffs that are paid to pensioners as a credit on an electricity bill will not be assessed as income under the pension income test
  • power sold back to the grid in return for cash, cheque or a direct deposit is counted as income for social security purposes.

For further information on how pension or other payments may be affected by the Scheme, customers should contact Centrelink to discuss their individual circumstances.

To contact the Department of Human Services customers can visit www.humanservices.gov.au or call their regular '13' telephone number.

14. How are my Scheme payments calculated?

Your payments under the Scheme can be calculated by multiplying the number of kilowatt hours exported by your generation system to the electricity network by the applicable tariff rate (20 cents per kilowatt hour or 60 cents per kilowatt hour). If you have a net meter the amount of generation exported is reduced by the amount of that generation which is consumed. Net meters are beneficial for customers on the 20 cent tariff as the retail price of electricity during most solar generating hours is greater than the feed in tariff.

The amount of energy that is generated will depend on a number of factors including:

  • cell and panel efficiency
  • inverter efficiency
  • system size
  • angle and aspect of installation (e.g. north facing)
  • the extent to which trees, buildings or other features shade your panels
  • cloud cover
  • daylight hours.

15. Can I switch from a 'gross' to a 'net' meter and still receive the Scheme tariffs?

Yes. You can switch from a gross meter to a net meter (and vice versa) at any time during the course of the Scheme.

This change will not have an impact on the tariff rate that is received.

16. Can I have different types of meters attached to my Scheme generator?

Only one type of meter can be attached to each generating system (gross or net). One generator cannot have two meters.

However, you can have two separately metered generators. For example, 6 solar panels could be connected to a net meter and another 6 panels could be connected to a gross meter. However, only one generator can receive the Scheme tariffs.

17. I am not eligible for the Scheme. Can I still install a solar PV system?

Yes. You are still able to connect new systems to the electricity grid without participating in the Scheme. If you do so, you may wish to install a net meter to reduce the consumption component of your electricity bill.

Under net metering, electricity from a solar system is first used to meet any consumption that takes place at the time of the generation. This means that for each kilowatt hour a customer consumes of their own generation, they save the retail price that would otherwise be paid for that consumption.

A number of energy retailers also offer feed-in tariffs for customers with solar panels. Feed-in tariffs are payments for electricity exported to the grid. You can check market offers for electricity including feed-in tariffs at www.energymadeeasy.gov.au

18. What are the telephone contact numbers for the Network Services Businesses?

  • Ausgrid: 13 13 65
  • Endeavour Energy: 13 37 18
  • Essential Energy: 13 23 91

Your electricity bill will note which distributor services your premises. Alternatively, you can check out the map on our website PDF [1.7 MB PDF] which shows the distribution districts for each of the NSW distributors.

19. How does the Solar Bonus Scheme apply to tenants and landlords?

Tenants who are responsible for the consumption of electricity at their leased premises may have been eligible for the Scheme (provided all Scheme criteria was met).

A landlord who does not occupy the premises is unlikely to be eligible for the Scheme where the tenant is responsible for the consumption of electricity at those premises.

20. What if my organisation has a large retail supply contract (for electricity consumption 160 megawatt hours or greater) which consolidates a number of small sites (each consuming less than 160 megawatt hours)?

Only small retail customers were eligible to participate in the Solar Bonus Scheme. For the purposes of the Solar Bonus Scheme, a small retail customer was considered as one that consumed less than 160 megawatt hours of electricity per year.

Your contract arrangements may affect what type of customer you are regardless of how much electricity is used at a particular site.

If your contract was for consumption of 160 megawatt hours or greater, you were not eligible to participate in the Scheme.