Energy Buyback Schemes

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

Contents

  1. Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS)
  2. DEBS rates
  3. Who is eligible for DEBS?
  4. Historical Information on Energy Buyback Schemes

Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS)

The Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme 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 DEBS 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. 

DEBS rates

DEBS provides 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.

DEBS rates for Synergy customers as of 1 November 2021:

  • Peak-rates: Electricity exported between 3pm to 9pm earns 10 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh);
  • Off-peak rates: Electricity exported between 9pm and 3pm earns 2.75 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

DEBS rates for most Horizon Power customers as of 1July 2021:

  • Peak-rates: Electricity exported between 3pm to 9pm earns 10 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh)
  • Off-peak rates: Electricity exported between 9pm and 3pm earns 3 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

DEBS rates are higher in Horizon Power areas as the cost to generate electricity in these areas is higher. Some Horizon Power towns have considerably higher generation costs and customers from those towns will receive a corresponding DEBS rate. More information is available at www.horizonpower.com.au/DER.

The 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 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-hand side 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).

Applying for DEBS

If you are installing a new system or upgrading your existing system, then you or your solar installer need to apply through your retailer (Synergy or Horizon Power) for the buyback rate via the retailer’s website.

Historical Information on Energy Buyback Schemes

Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (REBS)

As of 8 September 2020, DEBS replaced the previous Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (REBS) for new and upgraded distributed energy resources installations.

If you are currently signed up to REBS, you will continue to receive the REBS rates unless a change is made to your solar PV system or you contact your retailer and request to switch to DEBS.

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, with contracts associated with the scheme 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 on the Feed-in tariff, visit Synergy FIT Changes

Page reviewed 25 November 2021