As part of their unique business strategy, Newcastle-based electricity retailer Urth Energy has made it easier than ever for Australia’s solar system owners to get the most value out of the energy that they generate, providing SME businesses owners and home owners with access to the prices that big businesses receive.
In September 2016, the company launched an innovative package called Urth Trader, which allows homes and businesses with solar systems to receive the going spot price on the National Electricity Market (NEM) for their excess solar energy.
Wholesale spot prices can soar as high as $14 per kilowatt-hour ($14/kWh); most electricity retailers offer a solar feed-in tariff of only $0.06 to $0.08/kWh. Even when not hitting the $14/kWh price ceiling, high price events do occur with relative frequency.
In NSW, for example, there were have been over 150 pricing events over $0.25/kWh during daylight hours in 2016.
As of December 2016, homes and businesses with solar panels can now access the NEM spot price on the Urth Energy website, allowing them to determine at a glance when it makes the most financial sense to send their solar energy into the grid. The live spot price data can be found here.
Spot price data is available for each of the states where Urth Trader is available – New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.
Director Richard Hermens said Urth Energy has received press nationally (such as SMH and The Age) and internationally (on the popular cleantech blog Cleantechnica.com) for the Urth Trader package, which changes the relationship between solar panel system owners and the electricity grid.
“Through Urth Trader, we offer the opportunity for solar system owners to be treated as the generators that they rightfully are,” Richard said.
“Instead of receiving a low, fixed, flat rate for their solar energy, solar system owners on Urth Trader have the opportunity to take advantage of high spot prices just like the big coal plants, gas plants and wind farms do.”
“Now, anyone can visit our website to help determine when might be a good time to sell their solar into the grid, or when to use it directly.”
Urth Energy says that it has further technological advances planned for 2017, including an app that notifies customers of impending high-price events. They also have plans to offer a holistic energy management platform that will give customers unprecedented insights into their energy consumption and production – and will even automate the trading process to ensure that system owners get the most out of their solar energy at all times.
“Australia is slowly but surely shifting away from an antiquated energy system comprised mainly of large, centralised electricity generation to one where many consumers are also producers,” Richard continued. “The rise in the popularity of battery storage is only going to accelerate this transition.
“With Urth Trader and open access to the spot price on our website, Urth Energy is one of the companies leading the charge in the energy revolution.”