Recommended energy retailers for solar & battery storage
Picking the right energy retailer can make all the difference when it comes to getting the most from your solar system.
When deciding, think about whether your main objectives are:
Also, think about what’s going to work with your setup. Do you have solar only or solar and a battery? Think about what the big electric loads are for your home and what time they come on. Do you have electric hot water, an EV, or a pool?
Here are our four recommended electricity retailers for solar in New Zealand:
If sustainability is your main driver, then you can’t look past Ecotricity. They are committed to sustainability and renewable energy.
Ecotricity is the only retailer in New Zealand to offer 100% carbonzero certified electricity, so you can further reduce your carbon footprint, even with imported electricity.
As they pass on the cost of line fees, they offer really competitive rates for buying electricity, as well as very good solar export rates.
Currently there is no variable pricing(On peak / Off peak), so the cost of power is the same 24 hours a day. This is really good if you want to have a simple plan and a good match if you have solar only.
With solar only you should try to match your power use to when the sun is shining. For example you can use a hot water diversion, like the Ohm Pilot or a Catch Power Relay. If you have an EV and want to charge it from your solar, a Zappi or WattPilot is key.
If you’re armed with a battery and want to be more in control of your power bill, then Octopus offers a great variable plan.
They break down the day into time periods. For each one of these periods they will allocate a different cost for electricity. High in peak times, low in off peak and even cheaper overnight.
Depending on your location, they also offer plans with no daily charge.
If you have a battery like the Tesla Powerwall 2, you are able to program in the variable charges throughout the day. The battery can then make decisions for you on when to charge and discharge, as it knows your usage patterns and the plan pricing.
For example the morning peak period is 7am to 11am. If you usually use half a battery’s worth of energy in that period, the battery will foresee this and charge from the half price overnight grid power. Then when you put the jug on, the battery will be ready to cover your usage avoiding peak rates.
Octopus also offers one of the highest export rates. So with your summer solar export you can rack up a good credit to chip away at in Winter power bills.
Octopus is a great plan if you have a battery and want to be more in control of the price you pay for power.
Just like Octopus, Electric Kiwi offers variable rates. If being in control of your power bill is important, Electric Kiwi is a good choice to allow you to do that.
When it comes to charging your battery from the cheap overnight rates, Electric Kiwi’s movemaster plan works really well with Tesla’s ‘Time based control’ function.
Their rates are a little higher than Octopus, but you get a free hour of power, which you can choose to use outside the peak periods.
The solar export rate is pretty competitive. If you manage to rack up enough summer export credit, Electric Kiwi will actually pay you out in real money for it.
The 3 hours of free power is the main attraction to Contact. Between the hours of 9pm to midnight, you can draw as much power as your connection will allow for 3 hours straight.
You’re probably already thinking “wouldn’t that be good to charge my battery back up?”. You’re exactly right, with Tesla’s ‘time based control’, you can program in this free period and your Powerwall will charge up, ready to power the toaster and jug in the morning.
It’s worth noting that Contact doesn’t offer the best export rates, but the free power at night might outweigh that for you.
To make sure you are always on the best plan, remember, you can shop around and change energy retailers throughout the lifetime of your solar system.
We recommend you wait to change energy retailers until after your solar system is installed and commissioned. To get your solar system live as soon as possible, it’s best to avoid any possible paperwork delays.
We are looking at this stuff everyday and can help you choose the right retailer for your solar system and energy profile. This is part of the service we offer, whether you are just getting onboard with solar, or have had your system for 10 years.
There is also a website that can also help you compare retailers, check out Powerswitch.
If you are interested in installing solar panels or batteries then fill out the form below and one of our team will get in touch with you to see how we can help.