Powershop Australia has announced Victorians will now be able to trade solar power with their neighbours, a first in the Australian renewables energy market.

Powershop CEO Ed McManus said that for the first time in Australia, Victorians now have the ability to effectively trade solar energy with local solar panel owners.

“In August we trialled a new product called Your Neighbourhood Solar. We gave our customers the ability to buy a product linked directly to promoting the production of solar energy from the Powershop in their community who have solar panels and we sold out of our 100,000 trial Powerpacks in 48 hours. So now we’re making this product widely available to our Victorian customers,” McManus said.

“We know people want to be able to use renewable energy if they can. We surveyed all customers who purchased a Your Neighbourhood Solar Powerpack and found 89% of people purchased the packs because they wanted to support those with solar and 71% of people said they would buy the product regularly.”

Customers within the CitiPower distribution area who generated solar power during this period effectively earned a feed-in tariff that was 48% higher than Powershop’s current feed-in tariff of 7.2c/kWh.

While the neighbours buying the solar powerpack spent on average an extra $9.40 on their bill over the month.

“This is a genuine community project and our first step in demonstrating the value of peer-to-peer energy trading.”

“The new product means customers without solar can support those with solar in their local neighbourhood. Customers purchase a Powerpack online which has a premium of 4 cents per kWh attached to it. These premiums are then pooled together and redistributed to Powershop solar customers within that energy distribution area,” McManus said.

How it works:

Step One: Powershop customers with solar panels produce more solar energy than they need, this energy goes back into their energy distribution area.

Step Two: Powershop buys this extra solar energy from their customers with solar panels and sells energy to other customers in the energy distribution area that have bought a Your Neighbourhood Solar Powerpack.

Step Three: Powershop customers with solar panels then receive a credit on their bill for the extra solar energy they generate, in addition to Powershop’s feed-in tariff which is already substantially above the Essential Services Commission mandated minimum [Powershop Feed-in tariff is 7.2c/kWh. ESC minimum feed-in tariff is 5c/kWh].

This product is the first in a series of innovative peer-to-peer products that Powershop are developing to create foundations for Australia’s new energy future.