It appears solar households currently participating New South Wales’ Solar Bonus Scheme (which closed to new applications in 2011) can upgrade their systems – but there are a few conditions.
According to information from the Clean Energy Council, gained via the NSW Department of Trade & Investment; those on either the 60c or 20c Solar Bonus Scheme can add extra solar panels and remain on the Scheme if certain conditions are met and relevant approvals granted.
For those on the 60c scheme, assuming the upgrade doesn’t take the system over 10kW capacity, the customer will be shifted to the 20c per kilowatt hour solar feed in tariff for all the electricity exported by their solar panel system.
Alternatively, the 60c rate can be retained if the additional capacity is from a separately metered system. In this scenario, the separate system will not be covered under the Solar Bonus Scheme; but may still be eligible for other feed in tariff incentives.
For Solar Bonus Scheme participants currently on the 20c feed in tariff, systems can be upgraded to as much as 10kW overall capacity and still remain eligible for the 20 cent rate with the permission of their distribution network service provider.
Alternatively, these households may upgrade their overall generating capacity beyond 10kW and retain the 20c tariff for capacity up to 10kW if a second separately metered system is connected for capacity greater than 10kW.
The additional overall capacity beyond 10kW not covered under the Solar Bonus Scheme may or may not be eligible for other feed in tariff incentives; depending on the customer’s electricity retailer.
In all situations, there may be a delay in relevant approvals from the customer’s electricity distribution network service provider.
Solar installation company Energy Matters recommends Solar Bonus Scheme participants wishing to upgrade their systems to contact their installer, or a firm that has an understanding of the situation, for further details. Energy Matters can be contacted on 133 SUN.
The New South Wales Solar Bonus Scheme accepted applications from late 2009 to May 2011 – it is no longer open to new participants. However, a feed in tariff incentive is still available to households installing solar power systems in NSW.