In Victoria, an average residential solar electricity system (1.5 kilowatts in size) can produce over 2,000 kilowatt hours of energy per year. Even if only 500 kilowatt hours were returned to the grid per year, the owner would be eligible to receive feed-in payments of $300 per annum. The system would also be reducing the amount of electricity consumed in the owner's household by 1,500 kilowatt hours per year, saving about $300. So in total, these solar households would be about $600 better off per year.
The amount a household returns to the grid will depend on how much energy is consumed and when the solar panels are generating power. Owners will be able to maximise the credit from their solar system by improving their energy efficiency and returning more power to the grid.
For example, people can switch off appliances which aren't needed, shift some tasks to the evening, shade windows to minimise the need for air-conditioning and so on. For more advice on ways to save energy go to www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au.
The amount of electricity exported, and thus the amount of feed-in tariff received from solar panels for community groups and small business depends on the electricity usage pattern at those premises.