6 months in to Trustpower’s new Solar Buddies plan, and it has quickly become New Zealands largest peer-to-peer solar power trading platform.
Peer-to-peer trading is a concept gaining global attention as renewable power generation expands. With Solar Buddies, Trustpower customers can chose to sell or gift excessive solar power to friends, family, neighbors, organisations or charities. Customers can choose to send their excess solar power back into the electricity grid via their power company, who will pay 7-8cents per unit of power. This is called the ‘buyback’ rate.
Alternatively, customers can sell to friends, family or neighbors at an agreed rate. This is likely to be less than what the customers pays for the power (around 25-30c per unit) but above the average buy back rate.
“Solar buddies is easy to set up, and being able to negotiate a price that really suits both of us means we both win and I save a lot on my power bill too.”
– Kristy Hoare, Trustpower customer.
Mark, a Tauranga Trustpower customer sells his excess solar power to his neighbor for 22c per unit. Mark pays a monthly fee to his solar panel company so it considers it a great way to save on the cost of having solar installed.
Cost associated with solar power have dramatically decreased over recent years, to the point where more than 4000 solar systems are installed annually across the country. There are currently nearly 18,000 solar panel owners in New Zealand, a number that is steadily increasing. “Solar Buddies is revolutionising the solar installation market,” says Tauranga-based panel installer for SkySolar, Richard Billington. He continues by saying that with Trustpowers Solar Buddies plan, customers can now make a decent return on their investment. “It’s completely changing the way we talk about solar energy generation.”
However, it is not only private solar panel users reaping the benefits of this system. Billington says that one of their clients is a community of kindergartens. He says of the fifteen kindergartens, four have solar panels installed, and they sell their excess power to the remaining eleven.
Nelson based property manager Janette Haunch is a Solar Buddies buyer herself, and also looks after two medical centres with solar panel installations. “The centre’s solar panels generate enough that they can sell to many local Solar Buddies, with more to spare. We now sell excess solar power to local friends, and to a Tauranga community group at a win-win rate of 15c per unit. It’s a no-brainer for us, and the business is very happy, there’s a dual benefit in making money and helping a community group reduce their running costs at the same time.”
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This is great news for our customers! Transpowers Solar Buddies plan gives our customers the ability and freedom to choose their own return rates, compared with the previous maximum of an 8 cent buyback rate. Investing in the installation of solar panels in your home will see your family reap the benefits for many years to come.