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What It's Like Being Part of the 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.

When you connect to our VPP, delivered in partnership with Powershop, you will be provided with a payment every time power is discharged from your battery to the grid. The payment you receive will vary, depending on market conditions (supply and demand). It will be somewhere between the minimum rate of $0.379/kWh and the maximum of $7.052/kWh. However, you can rest assured that you will always get paid more for your battery power than what it costs to buy grid power, so you’re always guaranteed to come out ahead.

 

Let’s go through a few ‘day in the life’ examples to see how this plays out.

 

For the following examples, we’re going to assume that you have a 10kWh battery (which has been the most popular size on the current battery + VPP offer in South Australia). Let’s also assume that you are on the Powershop Lite plan with fixed grid electricity charges of $0.346/kWh.

 

 

Worst Case Scenario (moderate demand for your energy):

  • Your 10kWh battery is fully drained and you get the minimum VPP payment of $0.379/kWh.  You also use 10kWh from the grid at night.
    • You get $3.79 in total credits on your bills (10kWh * $0.379/kWh in VPP credits + Feed in Tariff credits)
    • You pay $3.46 in grid electricity charges (10kWh * $0.346)
  • Net benefit to you is $0.33
    • $3.79 credits minus $3.46 in payments

 

Best Case Scenario (high demand for your energy):

  • Your 10kWh battery is fully drained and you get the maximum VPP payment of $7.052/kWh.  You also use 10kWh from the grid at night.
    • You get $70.52 in total credits on your bills (10kWh * $7.052/kWh in VPP credits + Feed in Tariff credits)
    • You pay $3.46 in grid electricity charges (10kWh * $0.346)
  • Net benefit to you is $67.06
    • $70.52 credits minus $3.46 in payments

 

What you can see from these examples is that whenever the VPP uses power from your battery, you are always financially better off.

 

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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