The Premium Feed-in Tariff (PFIT) started in late 2009 and closed to new applicants at the end of 2011.
The scheme offered eligible households, businesses and community organisations with small-scale solar systems of five kilowatts or less a credit of at least 60 cents per kilowatt hour for excess electricity fed back into the grid.
More than 88,000 Victorian households, small businesses and community groups are now benefiting from the PFIT.
Eligible properties with an effective PFIT contract will continue to receive this rate until 2024, provided they do not add extra solar panels to their system.
Switching electricity companies
You are able to switch electricity companies or contracts and continue to receive the PFIT once you have established your eligibility. Before switching, check if there are any exit fees under your existing contract.
Adding extra solar panels
You will become ineligible to continue receiving the premium rate if you add additional solar panels, boosting your generating capacity after scheme closure, even if the overall system size remains 5 kilowatts or under. This ensures the cost of the scheme for all Victorians does not increase.
If you have an oversized inverter (for example a four kilowatt inverter with 1.5 kilowatts of solar panels) you will still forfeit your access to the premium rate if you upgrade your existing generation capacity after scheme closure. The existing generating capacity is based on the total nameplate capacity of the panels as measured under standard conditions by the manufacturer.
If you would like to install additional panels or another form of renewable energy system and forfeit your premium rate you may instead be eligible to apply for the current Feed-in Tariff which is set at a minimum of 5 cents per kilowatt hour for 2016.
Replacing damaged panels
You can replace existing panels for maintenance reasons, for example, due to storm or fire damage, without losing the PFIT. You just need to make sure the replacement panels do not exceed the original generating capacity of your system. Net metering must continue.
Renovation/demolition of house
You can remove your solar panels due to renovations or the demolition of a house without forfeiting the PFIT. Under the PFIT, as long as the capacity of your solar panels post-renovation/demolition is equal to, or less than, the capacity before the renovation/demolition, you can maintain your eligibility. Additionally, the solar PV system must continue to be net-metered after the work has been completed. 'Net-metered' means that the electricity generated by the solar PV system at the property is offset by the electricity consumed at the property. For residential properties, the newly renovated or constructed house will still need to be your primary place of residence.
There may be a requirement for you or your installer to re-lodge the Certificate of Electrical Safety with the distribution business after the panels have been reinstalled. There may also be a requirement for other paperwork to be re-lodged including the solar connection form and the Electrical Works Request. We advise that you check with the relevant distribution business regarding this.
The PFIT is linked to the property where the solar panels are installed, so when moving house you cannot take the PFIT with you. But any house which is signed up to the premium scheme will remain eligible until 2024, even if the house is sold and new residents move in.