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Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme

Energy Minister Bill Johnston today announced the Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS), which will introduce buyback payments for energy exported from eligible home batteries and electric vehicles.

DEBS also introduces higher export payments for electricity between 3 pm and 9 pm, which is when it’s in high demand for most Horizon Power customers.  This will encourage households to make the most of this solar resource by using or storing the electricity they produce during the middle of the day and to produce more renewable energy later in the day, when households need it most, by installing west-facing panels. 

The new scheme will apply to eligible customers – households, schools and other educational institutes, and not-for-profits – installing an eligible new solar PV system or battery, or upgrading the size of their existing PV system (up to a 5kW maximum size).  It will also apply to some customers moving into a premise with existing solar PV installed.

Under DEBS, from 6 November:

  • Electricity exported between 3 pm and 9 pm will earn 10c/kWh; and
  • Electricity exported before 3 pm or after 9 pm will earn 3c/kWh.

For our customers in towns with high generation costs, the rates will be a higher corresponding buyback rate.

Between now and 6 November, DEBS customers will receive the current Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (REBS) rates for their exports – including any exports from batteries, giving DEBS households time to adjust to the new pricing and switch their electricity consumption to the middle of the day where they can, to make the most of their solar generation.

REBS will continue for customers who are already signed up to it, but these customers will have the option to switch to DEBS to take advantage of the higher 3-9 pm buyback rate if they wish.

For more information, visit https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/energy-policy-wa/energy-buyback-schemes​

Frequently Asked Questions

The Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS) was launched by the State Government on 31 August 2020. DEBS offers a buyback rate for electricity exported back into the Horizon Power network, which appears on your bill as a credit.

Small renewable energy systems (like solar) up to 5kW are eligible for DEBS.  The scheme also allows for customers exporting from the home battery or electric vehicle-to-grid systems even if these systems have a capacity greater than 5kW.

DEBS replaces the previous Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (REBS) and will be offered to eligible customers with new and upgraded eligible systems, and those moving into a property with an existing system. (For customers already in the process of finalising their application for REBS, there will be a week’s grace to submit their application.  The customer will receive REBS provided that Horizon Power receives their eligible completed application by 7 September 2020).

Rooftop solar systems, batteries, electric vehicles, microgrids and other technologies are transforming Western Australia’s electricity system.  These small-scale devices, known as Distributed Energy Resources (or DER) present both challenges and opportunities for the way we produce, manage and consume electricity in our State.

DEBS has been introduced to give customers the ability to harness value from the DER technology, such as batteries, and sell excess energy back to the grid.

With the WA Government’s introduction of DEBS, the price paid for electricity exported by eligible customers will better represent the actual cost of electricity at different times of the day.

The new pricing structure will encourage households to make more use of their solar in the middle of the day and encourage the installation of west-facing panels and batteries, producing solar power for longer in the day so households can make the most of using the renewable energy or exporting at the peak rate under the new scheme.

DEBS is available to households, schools, educational institutions and not-for-profits in WA who:

  1. Are an existing REBS customer who wants to switch to DEBS;
  2. Are looking to install a new eligible renewable or distributed energy system;
  3. Are looking to upgrade their existing renewable or distributed energy system; or
  4. Are moving into a property with an existing renewable or distributed energy system.

All systems need to be eligible as per the Terms and Conditions and meet the Horizon Power technical requirements.

If you are already exporting power and receiving the REBS buyback rate, there will be no impact to your buyback rate, and you will remain on REBS (subject to the REBS terms and conditions) if no changes are made to your renewable energy system.

Before 5 November 2020
The DEBS Buyback Rate will be the same as the current REBS Buyback Rate for your town – including for energy exported from other distributed energy sources like home batteries and vehicle-to-grid electric vehicles. This will allow time for us to complete software and technical upgrades.

From 6 November 2020
The time of export DEBS Buyback Rate will apply for eligible DEBS customers.

That means if you have applied to install or upgrade a renewable energy system and export any power before 6 November 2020 then you will be paid at the existing REBS rate for your town. Any power exported from 6 November 2020 onwards will be at the DEBS rate for your town.

 

If you are using our online move-in form, you can apply to receive a buyback rate as part of this process. You will be applying for REBS if:

  • IYou are moving into the property by 7 September 2020, and
  • You agree to the REBS Terms and Conditions by 7 September 2020.

All other applications will be DEBS applications.

Before 5 November 2020, the DEBS Buyback Rate will be the same as the current REBS Buyback Rate for your town – including for energy exported from other distributed energy sources like home batteries and vehicle-to-grid electric vehicles.

From 6 November 2020, a time of export DEBS Buyback Rate will apply for eligible DEBS customers.

DEBS has two time of export rates. The time you export power determines the buyback rate that you are paid.

Off-peak

Before 3 pm, after 9 pm

Peak

Between 3 pm – 9 pm


The DEBS rates will depend on the town where your system is installed. The DEBS rates vary between towns across our vast service area, because of the different costs of generation supply to each town, and that means in some towns the peak and off-peak rates are the same.

The DEBS rate will be reviewed and adjusted each year, just like other electricity prices.

The wholesale electricity (power generation) cost only makes up about 20% of the total cost to supply electricity to residential customers. The remaining 80% of the cost to supply includes network costs (building and maintaining poles and wires), capacity costs (maintaining enough generators to meet peak demand) and other costs such as those associated with renewable schemes and retail.  These costs contribute to the reliability of the grid, so that power is available whenever you need it.

When we purchase electricity from our customers we don’t receive any of the other services such as network, capacity and retail services that are needed to supply electricity to another home. Therefore, the DEBS is closer to the wholesale electricity cost rather than the total electricity supply cost.  In some towns this wholesale cost is very high, and therefore higher buyback rates apply. 

Customers looking to install a new eligible distributed energy system or upgrade their existing system will be eligible under DEBS if they submit a completed application with Horizon Power, meeting all the other terms and conditions of the scheme.

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 Horizon Power.  Provided Horizon Power receives your eligible completed application on or before 7 September 2020, you will receive REBS.

Customers who undertake the following changes to their systems will be required to apply for DEBS;

  1. Increase the size of their renewable energy system up to the maximum permitted size (e.g. upgrade a 2kW solar PV system up to a maximum 5kW solar PV system); or
  2. Install a home battery storage system at their premises, including an electric vehicle that is or isn’t set up to be able to export energy to the grid (vehicle-to-grid, or V2G).

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 Horizon Power.  Provided Horizon Power receives your eligible completed application on or before 7 September 2020, you will receive REBS.

No, we are not able to offer an extension for new REBS applications beyond 7 September 2020.  

 

If you are already on REBS you can request to change over to DEBS.

We offer buyback rates for each town which reflect our cost of electricity generation and distribution in that town. Because these costs vary greatly between towns across our vast service area, the rates differ. The DEBS rate will be reviewed and adjusted each year, just like other electricity prices.

Yes, if you’re on a MyPower plan, and you’re eligible then you will receive the applicable DEBS buyback rate for your town.

The DEBS rates will be paid based on when your system exports power to the grid.

No, as long as you don’t make any changes to the size of your system.

If you are a FIT customer, you will still be governed by the respective FIT terms and conditions and will continue to receive FIT payments until your respective FIT scheme end date.

If you do make any change to your system you will receive any future payments under the DEBS scheme, provided your system still meets the eligibility criteria under DEBS.