The New South Wales Solar Bonus Scheme Is Expiring!

Net / Gross and Smart Meters Explained

The New South Wales Solar bonus Scheme was designed to encourage the uptake of renewable energy and is responsible for over 146,000 households and businesses installing self generating solar power systems. The Scheme offered our customers on the Essential Energy Network generous Feed In Tariffs of up to 60 cents per kilowatt, but as they say – All good things must come to an end. The Solar Bonus Scheme is set to expire on the 31st of December, 2016 and if you were lucky enough to be a part of it, there are a few things you’ll need to be aware of, and act upon soon.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. From the 1st of January 2017 you’ll no longer receive your bonus feed in tariff. This means the power you feed in will be rebated at a rate determined by your energy retailer, usually between 0-6 cents per kilowatt. You can shop around for a better feed in tariff, but beware of charges hidden elsewhere in your contract. This change in Feed In Tariff is likely to have a significant negative impact on your electricity bill.
  2. Most likely, you will you have a ‘Gross Meter’ installed (A meter which pushes all the solar power generated back into the grid to receive the applicable Feed In Tariff) You should consider having the meter switched over to a “Net Meter” or “Smart Meter” which will allow you to use the power you generate for free first and only send excess solar power back to be rebated at around 6 cents.
  3. If you are considering changing over your meter, you might want to act now. Towards the end of the year there will be a rush to change gross meters over, and with only a limited number of authorised electricians able to complete the work, it may be some time before you can have the work completed. If you’d like to book in this service now, please contact Keen 2B Green as soon as possible on (07) 5520 6962 or contact us here .
  4. From 2017, you will benefit more from using your solar power rather than feeding it back into the grid, so changing your energy usage patterns to optimise day usage will help you generate more savings. For advice on how to maximise your solar savings, check this helpful article.
  5. You may need to consider expanding or replacing your solar system. Since the introduction of the solar bonus scheme, the cost of installing a solar system has fallen dramatically. The majority of systems installed during the Solar Bonus Scheme were between 1-3kW. It is likely that your household will consume all or most of the power that the system produces, and you may benefit more from installing a larger system. If you’d like a complimentary bill analysis and a return on investment document for a new or expanded system get in touch today!
  6. Some retailers may offer to install a smart meter that can continue acting as a gross meter and then be remotely changed over to a net meter on 31 December 2016. A smart meter is designed for you to be able to proactively opt in or out of different energy offers and access demand or time of use tariffs, without having to have a new meter installed. If you’re planning on installing a Smart Meter, shop around to see what’s on offer, and be sure to check the terms of contract. We expect that retailers may be offering the smart meter as part of a lock in contract or new tariff structure.


According to an article published in the Sydney Morning herald, “Smart meters provide data to allow customers to monitor how much energy they use, recording electricity usage every 30 minutes and sending it to a customer’s distributor. They can also allow customers to choose when to receive and pay their bills.”

Need more information about the end of the Solar Bonus Scheme? Visit the New South Wales Government Resource and Energy Page: