From the AFR website: Nick and Nicole Jansen of Melbourne set out to install a typical 5 kilowatt-hour solar panel system when they built their new home in Northcote. But their builder encouraged them to go large. They would have plenty of corrugated iron roof, as he points out, so why not bolt on 15 kilowatt-hour worth of solar panels?
The Jansens agreed to it, but with the recent sunny weather, they found they were producing as much as 70 kilowatt-hour of solar power every day and selling a lot of it back to the grid at the modest feed-in tariff of $0.72/kilowatt-hour. So when their retailer Powershop invited them to join a trial 6 weeks ago and sell their surplus power to a neighbour for an extra $0.04 above the feed-in tariff they are getting, they went for it.
By selling their excess power, the Jansens joined a new front in the revolution challenging major energy companies which is peer-to-peer trading of solar power.
Nick Jansen said that system was very simple. It’s basically an app-based invitation. Powershop estimated its solar customers across Melbourne generated about 100,000 kilowatt-hours of surplus solar power within 6 weeks, thus it offered it to other customers – people without solar power and relying on regular electricity grids at the start of the trial.
Even though they would pay 4 cents more than Powershop’s regular tariff for grid power, they snapped up the 100,000 which they call “Your Neighbourhood Solar” in the commercial market.
The result was a resounding validation of three planks of the Australian energy revolution. First, there is a high need for solar power; second, the appeal of neighbour-to-neighbour trading of solar power is real; and lastly, it’s a real threat to energy distributors and retailers like AGL Energy, Energy Australia and Origin Energy, who also need to offer such behind the meter services in offsetting the declining demand for grid power.
Many consumers have been trying to crack the secret to peer-to-peer energy trading. Perth power firm PowerLedger is running trials in Perth, New Zealand and Western Australia. Ed McManus, chief executive of Powershop considers the company is the first to offer it commercially across a large market like Melbourne. He also said that consumers are choosing solar and it is sending an economic signal back to the market to build more solar.
Featured Image Credit: Acid Pix