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Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS)

The Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS) was launched by the State Government on 31 August 2020. It is available to eligible residential, not-for profit and education customers and offers a buyback rate for electricity exported back into the network, which appears on your bill as a credit. DEBS will replace the existing Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (REBS) for eligible new and upgraded systems.

View the DEBS Pricing Schedule

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

  1. Are looking to install a new eligible renewable or distributed energy system;
  2. Are looking to upgrade their existing renewable or distributed energy system;
  3. Are moving into a property with an existing renewable or distributed energy system on or after 6th November; or
  4. Are an existing REBS customer who want to switch to DEBS.

All systems need to be eligible as per the DEBS Terms and Conditions.

If you are an existing REBS customer, you can choose to stay on REBS subject to the REBS terms and conditions. If you make changes to your distributed energy system, you may not be eligible to continue to receive REBS.

Apply for DEBS

Apply to Synergy to start the process. For customers installing a new system, you or your supplier can simply complete the Distributed Energy Scheme application form.

Apply to Synergy

Frequently asked questions

Want to learn more about the Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme? Take a look at these frequently asked questions:

What is the Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS)?

The Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS) was launched by the State Government on 31 August 2020. It is available to eligible residential, not-for profit and education customers and offers a buyback rate for electricity exported back into the network, which appears on your bill as a credit.

Under DEBS, electricity can now be exported from other sources of distributed energy technology, for example home battery storage and export-capable electric vehicle batteries.

Small (no more than 5kW) renewable energy systems (i.e. solar PV) will continue to be able to export electricity to the grid. DEBS does not limit the size of consumer battery installations.

DEBS will replace the existing Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (REBS) for eligible new and upgraded systems.

I am an existing REBS customer and want to upgrade my system, how will this affect me?

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

  • 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
  • Install a home battery storage system at their premises, including an electric vehicle that is set up 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 Synergy.  Provided we receive your eligible completed application on or before 7 September 2020, you will receive REBS.

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Why is the scheme changing?

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 installation of west facing panels, producing solar power for longer in the day so households can make the most of the peak rate under the new scheme.

What will be the DEBS rate?

From 6 November 2020, a time of export DEBS Buyback Rate will apply for eligible DEBS customers.  The new rates are:

  • Electricity exported at peak times between 3pm and 9pm will earn 10 c/kWh;
  • Electricity exported at all other times will earn 3c/kWh.

The DEBS Rate will be reviewed each year by the State Government, just like other regulated electricity prices.

The DEBS Rate applies to the first 50 units exported from a customer to the grid each day.  This is more than a 5kW solar PV system would be expected to generate daily, even in ideal conditions.

The DEBS Rate will be the same for the export from batteries as export from solar, recognising that batteries will be a growing component of our energy system.

Prior to 6 November 2020, the DEBS Rate will be 7.135 cents per unit of energy exported to the grid – including energy exported from home batteries.  This is to allow time for us to complete software and technical upgrades.

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How do I maximise value from my DER system?

All customers with a DER system (solar, battery or EV) will get the most value by self-consuming the energy they generate and/or store.

By consuming the energy your panels produce first, you’ll save on the cost of electricity you’d otherwise draw from the grid. To get the best return on your solar investment, customers should switch their appliance usage for things like the dishwasher, dryer, pool pump or washing machine to the middle of the day. 

  • Drawing power from the grid 28.8229 cents* per unit (A1 residential tariff)
  • Selling excess electricity (REBS) 7.1350 cents* per unit 
  • Selling excess electricity (DEBS) between 3pm and 9pm: 10 cents^ per unit
    before 3pm or after 9pm: 3 cents^ per unit

*Effective as at 01 July 2020
^Effective as at 06 November 2020

For customers looking to install a new solar system, talk to your installer about the potential for installing west facing solar panels. That way your panels can make the most of the afternoon sun and the peak DEBS export period to export excess energy back to the grid when you are not self-consuming power.

If you currently have, or are looking to install, a home battery or electric vehicle, contact your installer about how you can maximise the value of your system.

Who is eligible for DEBS?

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

  • Are an existing REBS customer who want to switch to DEBS;
  • Are looking to install a new eligible renewable or distributed energy system;
  • Are looking to upgrade their existing renewable or distributed energy system; or
  • Are moving into a property with an existing renewable or distributed energy system on or after 6 November 2020.

All systems need to be eligible as per the Terms and Conditions.

I am looking at purchasing solar/home battery storage/electric vehicle, how will this affect me?

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 Synergy, 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 Synergy.  Provided we receive your eligible completed application on or before 7 September 2020, you will receive REBS.

I have an existing solar system and receive REBS, what do I need to do?

Customers who are already receiving REBS, and make no change to their system, will continue to participate in REBS (subject to the REBS terms and conditions).

However, if customers wish to apply for DEBS, they can do so, subject to the DEBS terms and conditions.

I already have a home battery and want to apply for DEBS, how do I do this?
Customers wanting to apply for DEBS will be able to submit their application for DEBS to Synergy.
I have moved into a premise with an existing solar and/or battery system, am I eligible for DEBS?

From 6 November 2020, customers moving into a premises with an existing DER system installed will only be able to apply under DEBS, subject to the terms and conditions.

Prior to 6 November 2020, customers moving into a premise with an existing DER system installed can choose to apply under either REBS or DEBS, subject to the terms and conditions.

Can I choose to stay on REBS?
If you are an existing REBS customer, you can choose to stay on REBS subject to the REBS terms and conditions. If you make changes to your distributed energy system, you may not be eligible to continue to receive REBS.
How long do I have to install my system and still be eligible for REBS?

Customers who have applied to Synergy for REBS on or before 7 September 2020, and have received a Synergy reference number (RRN), will have 90 days to apply to Western Power for system approval.

Once Western Power approves the application, customers will then have 6 months to have their system installed.

If any of the above timelines are not met, the customer will need to reapply under DEBS.

I am a premium Feed-in Tariff (FiT) customer. Does this affect me?

The current FiT customers will not experience any change.

You will have recently received correspondence from Synergy advising that your FiT payments are due to end when the ten-year period of your FiT contract expires.

You will continue to receive REBS payments after that date (subject to the REBS terms and conditions).

You may choose to switch to DEBS if you are eligible, however moving to DEBS will result in your FiT scheme being terminated.

Why is the buyback rate for DEBS less than what you charge me for power?

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.

Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap

Distributed Energy Resources (DER) is the term given to rooftop solar systems, batteries, electric vehicles, microgrids and other small-scale energy technologies. These resources are transforming our electricity systems, here in WA and across the world.

Learn more