UPDATE: You may have missed the deadline to retain your REBS, but you will still be eligible for DEBS.
With a battery – you may find this benefits you if you have excess energy to export between 3-9pm, thanks to the 10c tariff. Without a battery, you will stop exporting to the grid (or saving your energy) once the sun goes down.
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Find out how the WA government solar subsidy announcement will affect your ability to save on your electricity bill
Article read time approximately 5 min – pressed for time? Jump to the summary at the end now.
This week the WA Government announced changes to the REBS payments for the export of solar energy to the grid. As the sun sets (pun intended) on the historical payment structure, the transition of the WA grid to Distributed Energy Resources emerges and West Australians are being encouraged to invest in battery technology along with solar panels.
You can still lock in the current rate until 7 September 2020.
REBS is the Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme – the amount Synergy pays homeowners for the excess energy generated by their solar panels and exported to the grid – currently 7.14c/kWh.
DEBS (Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme) is the new solar export payment structure for solar install applications received on or after 8 September. DEBS pays a reduced rate of 3c/kWh between 6 am-3 pm and 10c/kWh between 3 pm-9 pm.
This change comes into effect for applications on or
after the 8 September 2020.
Applications received prior to this will be
“Grandfathered” in to the current flat REBS of 7.14c/kWh
If you don’t have a battery to store energy during the day, and you want to power your home once the sun goes down (and it’s a safe bet we all do), you need to purchase energy from the grid at .28c per kilowatt-hour – almost 10 times what you will now sell it for prior to 3 pm.
Why will the rate be going down during the day time?
The idea that if you have solar panels on your roof, and your house is mostly empty during the day, you won’t be using much of the energy you produce from your panels, and (without a battery to store it) it has to go somewhere.
Solar energy coming from panels and being pushed back into the grid has reached a point that they are now dragging down the energy prices during the middle of the day and at times can even be negatively priced, due to the oversupply.
The idea of DEBS is to encourage people to use MORE of their energy between the sunshine hours of 6 am-3 pm, and export more back to the grid during the peak usage period of 3 pm to 9 pm, where prices are still high.
If you’ve got solar, you can use more power during the day – if you are not at home – by programming appliances to operate during those times (dishwashers, washing machines, pool pumps, and air cons).
This is dramatically improved by coupling it with a battery that allows the dynamics of managing appliances (and clouds) to be simplified.
A Plico house will draw from the panels first and is able to charge the battery at the same time. Your load will be managed automatically based on energy creation and consumption, with any grid requirements being the last option.
This encourages self-consumption and reduces the impact on the grid while helping you save the maximum on your energy bill.
Why is the WA government making these changes so fast?
The uptake of unmanaged solar in WA has been so successful that the grid is experiencing times where there is too much “unmanaged” solar which is being pushed to the grid at the same time. This excess power increases the local voltage and many solar owners will have seen their systems switch off as a result.
Energy Regulations forecasters are saying that if we don’t transition our grid to managed and controllable distributed energy resources soon, they will have to restrict new solar panels in our grid.
The changes the government has introduced are to incentivise new investments in smarter, managed solar with batteries, which will allow us all to have solar systems without the grid experiencing stability issues.
This is where a new future of “managed” solar – as part of a distributed community energy network comes into play.
REBS + Batteries for solar storage
One of the reasons behind the REBS change, which Plico founder Brian Innes and the team believe is just the first of many as the grid transitions to renewable energy, is to encourage the use of managed battery storage along with solar panels.
Adding a battery to your solar system (or better still, installing both at the same time) allows you to store your excess energy in a battery – for use when needed during the day and to power your home at night. This encourages self-consumption of as much of your energy as you can use, day and night.
Better still, having your battery connected as part of a fleet of systems, known as a Virtual Power Plant – meaning you are part of a community of others with solar and batteries, all managed together – means your system will also be able to support the grid, reducing the impact of unmanaged solar hitting it.
This is an example of a Distributed Energy Resource, which is the model behind Plico Energy systems and where the Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap, released by the WA Government earlier this year, is heading.
We see a time in the not too distant future, where those managing the Virtual Power Plants will be able to bid into stability service markets on the behalf of households allowing the owners of battery systems to be a critical part of our energy infrastructure and be rewarded accordingly with better subsidies that individuals (with or without batteries) will not be able to negotiate.
What does this mean to me? Do I need to do something before September 8?
Depends. Do you want to be paid 7.14c/kWh for what you export to the grid, or 3c/kWh?
The days of investing in solar due to the financial incentives of REBS is (almost) over. Solar technology is about transitioning to clean energy, reducing costs, supporting the grid, and helping the environment. Technology allows us to understand energy creation and use in a way that has previously been invisible to consumers, enabling us to become responsible users of energy, supporting the local community, the electricity grid and the environment, without sacrificing our creature comforts.
So while traditional installers of solar may still be touting the line that “batteries aren’t there yet”, the rest of us are getting on with the business of saving money, supporting the WA grid, and saving the environment for future generations as we power our homes with up to 90% of our energy requirements directly from the sun.
Remember, you have until the 8 September 2020 to be Grandfathered into existing REBS rates.
If you’re curious about whether this is going to be important for you, fill in our contact form and we’ll give you a call to have a chat about how much you can save.
We are left with a question: as they moved to time-based solar rebates, how long before they also shift to time-based energy costs?
Change Summary & What to Do
For anyone applying to add solar to their house after 11:59pm on September 7, the WA government is changing the solar subsidies from the current flat rate of 7.14c/kWh to:
- 3c/kWh from 6am-3pm (when most solar power is made and less power is used at home)
- 10c/kWh from 3pm-9pm (when less solar power is made and more power is used at home)
- Don’t currently have solar and have an electricity bill of over $150 per month
- Want to save the maximum amount on your electricity bill starting next month
Then it may be a good idea to at least have a chat to help understand what having a solar and battery setup at home will look like to you. If you fill in our contact form below, we’re more than happy to walk you through the maths with no obligation.
How are Plico different to everybody else selling solar & how does this simplify solar savings for you?
The answer is: very different.
We’re here to entirely manage and monitor your solar system (panels, inverter and battery) 24/7 so that you get the maximum savings every day – whatever the weather is doing, are prepared for blackouts and don’t have to worry about any malfunctions or issues with equipment.
We do all that for a simple weekly payment of $36.50. No extra fees for installation or extra special service or because of your postcode…or for any other reason!
Who would this be appropriate for? Do you:
- Have a power bill over $150 a month and don’t have solar with a battery?
- Want to save money on your electricity bill from day one?
- Want to have a system that automatically manages your energy – selling, buying it, negotiating with energy retailers on your behalf and recharging it at the peak times to save you the most money off your bill every day?
- Want to have no hidden fees, charge catches or tricky sales pitches?
- Want to have a team that is not only on call 24/7 if you have any issues but will also proactively reach out ASAP if they detect an issue remotely with your solar system?
- Like the idea of being a part of a community of solar owners helping to improve and stabilise the grid while also making positive local community contributions?