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What It's Like Being Part of a ShineHub Virtual Power Plant

This blog walks you through what joining a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) is like day-to-day so you can understand if it's right for you.

Managed to get your head around the whole Virtual Power Plant (VVP) thing yet? Well, if you haven’t, maybe start here.

If you have, you’re probably starting to wonder which VPP option is best for you. Some VPPs offer you a single upfront payment for joining, others offer you a payment each time your battery is used. All rates of payment differ and most importantly, not all VPP models guarantee you win in the end.  This blog walks you through what joining a VPP is like day to day so you can be confident in choosing whether or not to join a VPP.

At ShineHub, our VPP model is very simple and the moral of the story is – you always win.

 

What are the different Virtual Power Plant options that ShineHub offers?

 

In South Australia and Victoria we currently have two VPP options:

1.    SA Virtual Power Plant offer, with the retailer Powershop

·      Every time power is drawn from your battery, you receive a payment from Powershop up to $7.05/kWh.

·      This payment is a variable ‘market price’, which goes up to a whopping maximum of $7.052/kW

·      The variable price will always be higher than the going rate for power at minimum.  That way, you are always financially ahead if 

·      This option is only available for Powershop customers with an Alpha-ESS battery 

 

2.    ShineHub Community VPP, with any retailer of your choosing

·      Every time power is drawn from your battery, you receive a payment from ShineHub

·      The payment amount is fixed at 0.45/kWh

·      On top of that, you also receive your normal solar feed-in tariff from your energy retailer (usually around $0.10/kWh to $0.15/kWh)

·      You can be with any energy retailer of your choosing, but you must have an Alpha-ESS battery

 

In NSW, we’ve just launched a brand new VPP offer in partnership with Ausgrid:

ShineHub Ausgrid VPP

·      Every time power is drawn from your battery, you receive a payment from ShineHub

·      The payment amount is fixed at 0.45/kWh

·      On top of that, you also receive your normal solar feed-in tariff from your energy retailer (usually around $0.10/kWh to $0.15/kWh)

·      You can be with any energy retailer of your choosing, but you must have an Alpha-ESS battery and be within Ausgrid territory

 

What to look out for when signing onto a VPP

 

On the whole VPPs are great, but like anything you have to be careful. There are some companies out there that are misleading and their contracts are full of ‘gotchas’. You won’t get that with ShineHub. Our whole business is built on a promise of providing straightforward solar solutions that are good for you, the community and the planet.

Here are some things to look out for:

  1. Companies that offer you an upfront payment rather than per kWh market rate

Most virtual power plants will give you a yearly credit in exchange for complete control of your battery. This seems great and shiny on the surface, but once you open the hood it could be a very bad deal. Often, these VPPs will take full control of your battery and only offer you the standard solar feed in tariff in return (typically half or a third of the price of grid power).

That means every time your battery is accessed, you’re losing. Soon, you will erode away that upfront payment and you may even lose money in the long run.  

 

  1. Companies that have the option to ‘freeze’ your battery

A ‘freeze’ prevents your battery from powering your home, even if it is full! If a ‘freeze’ is placed you on your battery when you need it at night, you will be forced to pay full price for grid power and worse yet, you won’t be receiving any benefit in return. Make sure you don’t allow companies to use your battery at their own will, without providing any benefit to you. Make sure you read the fine print!

This is exactly why we started ShineHub, we were sick of the same old electricity ‘gotchas’. With the ShineHub VPP, you always are financially better off whenever your battery is used – it’s a simple approach to a complex concept where everyone wins in the end.

 

FAQs

 

What happens in a blackout?

During a blackout, the entire solar panel and battery system will disconnect from the grid. If the power is out, no power can go back and forth from your home to the grid – so VPP services cannot be activated. If you have blackout protection as part of your battery system, you can still use your battery power during a blackout.

 

Can I limit how much power is used for the virtual power plant?

Right now we don’t have the ability for a home to limit how much power goes back onto the grid. This is why we structured the deal to mean you are always financially better off when your power is used for the VPP – so you don’t have to worry about it.  Use the power yourself, or make extra money when your battery power is used for the VPP.

 

How much will a solar battery save me on my bills?

We get this question a lot so we wrote another blog post on it - you can read that here

 

Want to chat with a solar expert about panel, battery, or virtual power plant options for your home?  Click here to book in a time to chat. 

Alex Georgiou
Alex is a home energy expert with experience across virtually every area of the industry, ranging from energy efficiency and smart home gear to the latest solar and battery technologies. As co-founder of ShineHub, he is responsible for delivering the best digital experience in the industry for customers as well as managing customer-facing communications.
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