Ergon Energy now has more than 100,000 customers with solar PV connected to its network. Five years ago, when planning for Ergon’s 2010-15 submission to the Australian Energy Regulator, there were only 1917 premises with a solar PV connection.
The growth of solar PV in regional Queensland has been partly attributed to the state government’s original 44 cents per kilowatt hour feed-in-tariff (FIT). In the 2013/14 financial year, the cost of FITs was $118 million, a cost which is ultimately passed through to customers in future prices.
The original 44c FIT, which remains in place to 2028 for eligible customers, was more than 10 times the wholesale cost of energy when it was introduced. Ergon advocated for its reduction due to cost impacts on all customers and the tendency for it to influence behaviours that added to the peak demand and therefore increased network costs.
At the same time, the average residential customer without solar has dropped their energy use from 7789 kilowatt hours to 6396 kilowatt hours; an 18 per cent reduction over five years. Solar PV connected customers incorporate 16 per cent of Ergon’s entire residential customer base, accounting for approximately 21 per cent of all detached homes in regional Queensland.
Ergon Energy will continue to power Queensland’s future economy and meet the challenges of the 21st century evolving grid, while maintaining an effective, safe, and reliable network for their customers.