Energy Buyback Schemes

This section includes information about the Government's Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS) as well as other historical energy buyback schemes.

Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS)

The Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS) offers eligible customers a time of export payment for electricity they export to the grid, including from rooftop solar PV systems, batteries and electric vehicles.

The electricity system is changing. Western Australians are taking up rooftop solar PV at a rapid rate, with around one in three households having a rooftop solar PV system. This is expected to grow to one in two over the next decade.

With new technological developments enabling distributed energy resources (such as solar PV, batteries and electric vehicles) to either use, generate or store electricity forming part of our grid, we are in a prime position to take advantage of Western Australia’s abundant sunshine and new technologies.

With DEBS, the new pricing structure encourages households to either use or store their solar energy generation in the middle of the day when it is plentiful and to install west facing panels that will generate electricity later in the day - that is, producing more renewable energy later in the day when electricity demand is typically higher. Recognising the growing role of household storage in our electricity system, DEBS will extend buyback payments for rooftop solar PV to now include exports from battery storage and electric vehicles.

DEBS replaces the previous Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (REBS) for new and upgraded distributed energy resources applications

DEBS rates

DEBS introduces time of export payments. These rates better reflect the cost of electricity at different times of day, with a higher price paid for electricity exported during the late afternoon and evening period when electricity demand and the wholesale cost of electricity are higher.

The DEBS rates commence from 6 November 2020:

  • Electricity exported between the 3pm to 9pm peak time will earn 10 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh);
  • Electricity exported at other times will earn 3c/kWh.

Prior to 6 November 2020, DEBS customers will be paid the current REBS buyback rate for their exported energy (including home battery exports). This is to allow time for retailers to complete software and technical upgrades.

The new rates encourage households to use more of their own solar energy generation in the middle of the day when it is plentiful, and to install west facing panels that will generate electricity later in the day i.e. producing more renewable energy when it is in high demand. These new incentives will enable the grid to become greener by integrating more renewable energy systems whilst keeping our electricity system reliable and secure.

Buyback rates paid for exports into the grid are lower than the residential tariff rate that households pay for electricity. This is because the residential tariff includes other components in addition to the cost of the electricity such as those associated with building and maintaining the electricity network (poles and wires), and maintaining sufficient generation capacity to meet peak demand.

DEBS rates are reviewed and adjusted each year, just like other electricity prices. To find out more about the rates and the terms & conditions for DEBS visit your retailer's website on:

Energy Policy WA has also developed a range of information sheets and collection of frequently asked questions targeted at consumers and the solar industry. Links to these can be found at the right handside or bottom of this page.

Who is eligible for DEBS?

The Western Australian Government established the requirement for retailers to offer a buyback scheme through the Electricity Industry (Licensing Conditions) 2005.

These regulations define an eligible customer as:

  • a residential customer who consumes not more than 50MWh of electricity per annum; or
  • a customer that is a school, university or other educational institution; or
  • a customer that is a non-profit-making organisation.

For a renewable energy system to be eligible for DEBS, it must have a generating capacity of between 500W and 5kW. A 6.6kW solar PV system with 5kVa inverter is accepted as having a generating capacity of 5kW.

There is no eligibility limit on home battery or electric vehicle battery size, but retailers are only obligated to offer buyback payment for 50 units (kWh) per day per premises (which is more than a 5kW solar PV system would be expected to generate on any given day).

Historical Information on Energy Buyback Schemes

Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (REBS)

The Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme was superseded by DEBS for new solar installations or system upgrades from 8 September 2020.

If you are installing a new system or upgrading your existing system, then you or your solar installer need to apply to your retailer (Synergy or Horizon Power) for the buyback rate via the retailer’s website. If you are already in the process of finalising your application for buyback payments for your solar export, then you will have a week’s grace to finalise and submit it to your retailer. Provided your retailer receives your eligible
completed application on or before 7 September 2020, you will receive REBS.

If your application has already been made under REBS, then you will receive REBS unless you choose to contact your retailer to switch to DEBS.

If you receive REBS you will continue to do so unless a change is made to your solar PV system.

Please contact your retailer for REBS rates and relevant terms & conditions:

Feed-in Tariff Customers

Western Australia’s residential Feed-in Tariff scheme was open for applications between 1 July 2010 and 1 August 2011. The Feed-in Tariff scheme provided customers with a premium buyback rate for 10 years, so contracts associated with the scheme are now coming to an end.

Feed-in Tariff customers who upgrade their system will be eligible for DEBS if they meet the DEBS eligibility requirements.

For more information of Feed-in tariff visit this section on the website at Synergy.

Announcements

News story

WA Government launches Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme

Energy Minister, the Hon. Bill Johnston MLA today announced the Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS) which introduces payments for energy exported from eligible home batteries and electric vehicles.
Page reviewed 23 September 2020