If you’ve been paying attention to any energy news networks lately, you might have seen a lot of discussion in WA about something called the DEBS, and how it will be replacing something else called the REBS. For the uninitiated, this can seem like just a hot mess of proper nouns and acronyms, so let us take a moment to explain what all this means and how you may be impacted or may be able to benefit from it.
What is the REBS
The Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (or REBS) is the current scheme in place for West Australians utilising solar in their homes but not benefitting from an exclusive Feed-in Tariff. On this scheme, homeowners receive 7.1350 cents per kWh exported back to the grid, regardless of the time of the export.
Those who are currently on the REBS will experience no change unless they would like to upgrade their system to qualify for the Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS).
What is the DEBS
The DEBS was launched on August 31st, 2020 and allows residential, not-for-profit and education customers to enjoy credit when exporting electricity to the grid. Unlike the REBS, the DEBS also allows for export of power from sources other than your solar PV system, including solar energy storage systems, and export-capable vehicle batteries. Small-scale solar energy systems (no more than 5 kW) will still be able to export to the grid and can also benefit from this scheme.
Further differentiating itself from the REBS, the rates the DEBS offers when exporting to the grid are variable and depend on what time the export takes place. Electricity exported between the hours of 3 and 9 pm will earn 10 c/kWh, whilst electricity exported at any other time of the day will see a return of 3 c/kWh.
The DEBS is available to households, schools, educational institutions and not-for-profits in WA who:
- Are existing REBS customers who want to switch to the DEBS;
- Are looking to install a new eligible renewable or distributed energy system;
- Are looking to upgrade their existing renewable or distributed energy system;
- Are moving into a property with an existing renewable or distributed energy system on or after November 6th 2020.
The table below outlines the difference in rates between the two schemes, as well as the current rate for purchasing electricity from the grid.
|Drawing energy from the grid||28.8229 cents per unit (A1 Residential tariff)|
|Selling excess energy under the REBS||7.1350 cents per unit|
|Selling excess energy under the DEBS||Between 3 pm and 9 pm: 10 cents per unit
All other times: 3 cents per unit
I am on the REBS and am looking at upgrading my solar energy system, will I need to change to the DEBS?
If you do any of the following whilst on the REBS, you will need to apply for the DEBS:
- Increase the size of your system to its maximum permitted size (e.g. increase your 2 kW system up to 5 kW);
- Install a home battery storage system or an electric vehicle that is set up to export power to the grid.
Can I choose to stay on the REBS?
If you are an existing REBS customer, you are welcome to remain on the scheme (depending on its terms and conditions) as long as you do not make any changes to your system, in which case you may no longer be eligible.
I was in the process of getting a quote, am I still able to go on the REBS?
Those who would like to benefit from the REBS must have completed an application with their electricity provider and received their retailer reference number (RRN) before September 7th, 2020. They will then have 90 days to apply to Western Power for approval, and 6 months to have the system installed.
Therefore, if you have a pending quote or would like to be sent one, Solargain will aim to get you approved for the REBS if that is your preference, as long as you can accept the quote and provide us with the information required by the 7th of September 2020. If you are unable to fit into these deadlines, you will have to reapply under the DEBS.
I am on a Feed-in Tariff, what does this all mean for me?
Nothing! For now. If you are on the REBS, then you will remain on it. If you are one of the lucky West Australians enjoying the REBS in conjunction with a Net Feed-In Tariff of 40 cents per kWh, your Net FIT will end ten years from your application date. This will not affect your REBS; however, should you take the opportunity to use some of your solar profits to upgrade your existing system to a larger one, you will be moved from the REBS to the DEBS unless actioned before the 7th of September 2020.
Why the change?
This change has come about due to Perth having one of the largest amounts of residential solar installed anywhere in the world. It is an important step in managing the massive influx of electricity. With solar only continuing to grow in popularity all around the world, this is a change we are going to see continuing globally, with rates rewarding customers for exporting power when it is most needed in peak hours and incentivising households to consider solar batteries. WA is a pioneer in this new legislation, but they will hardly be the last in its adoption.
How can I best benefit from this new scheme?
To get the most from the new rates, we recommend solar energy batteries. These will allow you to retain the large amount of power generated during the day that is going unused, and either consume it all at home during the evening when it’s most needed, or export it to the grid at the more opportune periods (between 3 pm and 9 pm) at the higher rate of 10 cents per kWh.
So, there you have it, we hope that this has helped you make sense of this complex issue, but if you would like to discuss it further, go through your ongoing quote and potential changes to it, or look into solar to make the most of this new scheme, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Solargain team.