New Zealanders have been getting short-changed when it comes to buy back rates for solar power. For the uninformed, a 'buy back rate' is the price paid by electricity retailers for excess solar power being exported to the grid (i.e. a solar power home generates energy but doesn't use it or store it). Most energy retailers pay per unit; 7 to 8 cents. This is for feeding electricity into the grid, a pretty lousy rate to be honest and salt in the wound when you're paying 30 cents for electricity off them! But, Trust Power has a nifty new arrangement, enabling customers, or solar power sellers, to sell excess solar power at any price they choose fit.
Trust Power calls this program 'Solar Buddies', and as the title suggests, you need a buddie to take advantage of the scheme.
How it works
Once solar power has been installed on the customers roof, (and the said customer has signed up with Trust Power accordingly), the seller can ask anyone if they'd like to buy solar power, at a rate both seller and "buddie" agree on. The seller pays solar energy out at the rate of 16 cents for example, and the sellers buddie will be buying solar generated power cheaper than what they would pay for power from traditional energy retailers.
Solar Buddies is available nationwide; solar sellers could be in Whangarei selling power to a buddie in Invercargill. They could sell power to a neighbor, a workmate, or a local dairy owner. Sellers can even give away solar power for free; a parent, a local charity, it's your choice, and it's a unique selling point that is quite appealing.
What's the catch?
- Both the solar power seller, and the buddie, need to be signed up with Trust Power.
- The solar power seller can only sell a maximum of 50kWh of power to each buddie, per month. But sellers can have more than one buddie, they could have 30 buddies if they so wished. They could also sell back half their generated solar if they wanted to. A pretty nifty idea indeed.
- As a purchaser you can only buy from one buddie. This limits you to only one solar seller (buddie), so make sure you are happy with the terms of your individual agreement.
To get started on the Solar Buddies programme you'll need to download the sign-up form from the Trust Power website, and you'll be guided as to what to do next. Trust Power don't charge a fee to be a member in the scheme, and there are no tariffs for customers with solar power.