Trustpower's Solar Buddies

SEANZ Member Trustpower has just launched Solar Buddies, a scheme for Trustpower customers who have Solar Panels to sell or gift surplus power to other consumers who are, or become, Trustpower customers.

The volume of power that can be provided by the panel owner to each buddy is currently capped at 50 kWh per month. But there is no limit on the number of buddies a panel owner may have and a smart meter isn’t required.

Trustpower marketing communications manager Carolyn Schofield told Energy News that the buy-back rates offered by the major retailers have been a bone of contention with many solar customers for a long time. The company wanted a simple way of improving that for customers now, recognising that real-time, peer-to-peer trading will develop longer term.

“As far as we are aware, this service is a first for New Zealand,” she says. “Customers who are buddies appreciate the chance to receive some of their electricity at a reduced price from someone they know with solar. Trustpower simply facilitates the payment at the price the seller agrees with each buddy.”

How it works:

If you've got solar panels, you may sometimes produce more power than you can use. If you don't have storage capacity, your only current option is to sell this surplus power back to your energy retailer at market buyback rates (currently 7c per unit* for Trustpower customers). With Solar Buddies™, instead of selling your extra power to your energy retailer, you can sell it to people you nominate as "buddies" at a rate you agree with them. Your buddies can be on different rates and you can even set a rate of 0c per unit if you’d like to give some of your spare power to someone you know.

As long as you have extra power, your buddies can buy a portion of their power every month at a price that is less than they would pay Trustpower. And you can sell your extra power for more than the 7c per unit you currently receive selling back to Trustpower.

You can allocate your power to your buddies in case you do not have enough extra power for all of them every month.

  • You can set an order of priority so that one buddy always gets their power first, or
  • Each buddy can always get a set percentage of your excess power. For example... Buddy 1 always gets 50%, Buddies 2 and 3 always get 25% each (up to the 50 units per month maximum). 

Trustpower recommends a maximum of five buddies. You will want to check how much spare power you are currently exporting each month as this will indicate how many buddies you are likely to be able to supply with up to the 50 unit per month maximum per buddy.


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