THE “SUN TAX” – What does it even mean?
Over the past few weeks, there has been talk of a new “solar/sun tax” being introduced in Australia. There have been numerous Facebook posts, news articles and radio segments indicating that solar owners are soon going to be charged to sell back/export any excess electricity (instead of getting paid for it as you do now). This obviously created quite a stir within the solar industry as if it was true (spoiler: it’s not), it would impact the economic benefit of solar.
How did it all start?
Last year the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) allowed network providers (like Ergon and Energex) to charge solar owners for feeding their energy back into the grid at certain times of the day. This was previously banned by the National Electricity Market (NEM) in Australia.
So what does this actually mean? Energy providers like Ergon now have permission to charge customers for exporting back to the grid. They can, but this doesn’t mean they are! At the moment, nothing concrete indicates that energy providers will start charging people for exporting. Ergon/Energex has not released any official statements saying they will implement this in the future.
If it happened last year, why is everyone freaking out now? On June 15, 2022, Newscorp’s Courier Mail published a paywalled article titled “Energy crisis Qld: ‘Sun tax’ looms for solar customers”. The article pretty much said that soon people are going to start being charged for exporting excess solar power back into the grid. It quickly gained a lot of attention with many other news articles, Facebook posts and radio segments being published soon after. No wonder people were starting to panic!
Government officials and industry representatives were quick to make statements to deescalate the situation.
“There is no change to solar feed in tariffs in Queensland. The Opposition Leader should apologise for scaremongering at a time when Queenslanders should be encouraged to install rooftop solar.” – Mick de Brenni, Queensland Energy Minister.
“There has been no proposal put forward by Queensland state-owned network providers to charge households.” – Stephanie Gray, Deputy Director at Solar Citizens.