Back in the Grid: Selling Your Solar Energy in 2021

Jul 13, 2020
Solar Energy
By Staff writer

Are you looking for ways to save on your electricity bills? There’s plenty of advice out there from numerous sources on how you can save money on your power bill.

From being more diligent with appliance use to turning off the lights more often to closing the curtains at sunset, there are many ways that Kiwis can work on reducing their power bill. But what about making money back from your electricity company? By generating your own renewable energy - there might be an opportunity to sell your excess generation! You get to generate your own clean electricity through solar panels, and have the option to sell any excess energy that you haven’t used back to your power retailer.

Solar energy, right now, is one of the most promising clean energy options for New Zealand homes and businesses. As well as having a better impact on the environment, solar energy is an excellent way to help reduce your power costs. Let’s talk about solar energy and why selling power back to the grid can help benefit you and your family.

How solar works

While solar energy has been around for over 150 years, the technology used to harness the energy continues to develop faster than ever. Solar energy has gained popularity worldwide in the past decade, with many homeowners and business owners taking advantage of this free, renewable and clean source of energy. So how exactly does solar work? Solar panels generate electricity by allows photons - or particles of light - to knock electrons free from atoms.

This generates a flow of electricity. Simply put, the solar panel’s photovoltaic cells convert energy in the sunlight into electricity. Solar energy systems are now in great demand across the country - they have actually been known to increase a property’s market value!


How to sell solar energy back to the grid

Selling solar energy back to the grid - also known as a buy-back tariff - can be a great source of additional income.

Firstly though, it’s important to make sure that you’re generating more energy than you’re using. Study your latest electricity bills to determine your average use. Not all electricity companies offer buy-back tariff, so check with your current provider as to whether they have this option available. If not, you may want to consider switching electricity providers to one that does.

You’ll need to ensure that all electricity you generate is properly modified and controlled for supply to the national grid. This is through your local lines company and must be done by an approved meter contractor. Lastly, you’ll need a special meter which measures net electricity generated, which can generally be supplied and installed by your electricity provider.

How much can you make selling solar energy back to the grid?

In New Zealand, there are no regulations for setting the value of the excess energy you produce, or the minimum buyback rate you’ll receive. The terms and rates of the buyback rates will completely depend on your own power retailer. 

There are only a handful of New Zealand power retailers that buy energy back from their customers. These retailers include:

1. Contact Energy
2. Trust Power
3. Mercury
4. PowerShop
5. Meridian
6. Genesis
7. Nova Energy
8. Ecotricity
9. P2 Power.

Currently, the average buyback rates range from 7 cents to 16 cents per kWh. It’s definitely worth checking what your preferred power provider will offer and shop around for the best buy back rates.

Is it worth getting solar power?

Over 20,000 properties throughout New Zealand are now taking advantage of solar power systems - and this rate continues to increase.

It’s easy to see why so many Kiwis have switched to solar power energy, as it comes with many benefits.  Not only does solar power give you the ability to sell unused power back to the grid, you’ll be saving money on your monthly bill by using less power from the electricity grid.

While saving money on power would sound great to any homeowner, it’s important to account for the initial set up costs of your solar power system. As solar panels are not mass produced as of yet, the cost of the product and installation can be expensive. Be sure to not only budget for this, but to shop around and ensure you get the most competitive quotes.

Getting the best power deal

Not quite ready to make the commitment to having a solar panel system installed in your property? That’s okay - there are plenty of other ways to save money and get the best deal on your power. We recommend heading on over to our online power comparison tool where you can see the latest plans and deals from the best electricity providers in New Zealand. You could end up saving hundreds off your annual power bill!

Simply tell us a bit about your power usage and living situation and we’ll help to find the best power company for your needs. It’s easy and free to use, and allows you to compare the latest power prices and deals side by side. If you happen to find a better electricity deal than what you’re currently getting, we’ve made it easy for you to make the switch to a new provider.

Shane Egan (Popup) , 2023-07-10

Excellent service. Responsive and easy to deal with. Got me an awesome deal on Broadband. Well worth calling to see what they can do. 👍

Jamie Martin , 2023-06-18

Really great service, helped us save about 30% on power plus a free $100 sign up bonus. Very fast and efficient.

Kat W , 2023-06-20

Very helpful and informative. Lovely chatting with them on the phone, helped me find a power supplier, pretty simple and straight forward

Dee Painter , 2023-08-08

So easy to use, very helpful and got a great deal with my power and gas