Rooftop solar underpins free electricity offer in Western Australia


From pv magazine Australia

Excess energy from Western Australia’s booming rooftop solar sector will be used to help households struggling with cost-of-living increases with the state government unveiling a new Community Energy program that will provide free electricity to Synergy customers during off-peak times.

The Western Australian government said the new scheme will provide free electricity throughout the day to Synergy customers who are experiencing ongoing financial hardship and are being case managed by the state-owned utility.

Western Australian Energy Minister Bill Johnston said the program will provide eligible households with 10 units of free electricity – which is about 75% of an average household’s daily usage – in off-peak periods. Johnston said the electricity will come from excess power generated by rooftop solar systems connected to the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), the state’s main grid.

More than 400,000 Western Australian homes and businesses, about 36% of customers, now have PV systems connected to the SWIS and collectively rooftop solar is the largest generator in the state.

Johnston said the new scheme will help to address the new generation dynamic and stabilize the grid by incentivizing customers to shift their electricity consumption away from evening peak demand periods to the middle of the day when solar generation is high and household usage is traditionally low.

Popular content

“The Community Energy product, introduced by Synergy, offers 10 units of electricity at no cost during the day to those on the case management program,” he said. “This will bring the cost of electricity down for those experiencing financial hardship while also making use of the energy being generated by solar panels during the day.”

Johnston said the new program also provides households doing it tough with an alternative to installing solar panels, giving more Western Australians access to the benefits of cheaper electricity during the day.

pv magazine print edition

In the latest issue of pv magazine we turn the spotlight onto European solar with a comprehensive review of the state of the PV industry across the region’s key markets and a look at the legislation which aims to drive a solar rooftop boom. We also examine the difficulty of establishing a solar panel recycling industry in Australia, where industry backbiting isn’t helping matters.

To be eligible for the program, financial hardship customers must have an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meter and not have solar panels installed on their property. It is estimated about 9,100 Synergy customers are currently eligible.

The state government has forecast the scheme will save participants between AUD 200 ($137.80) to AUD 500 on their electricity bills a year.

This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: