Meridian Energy's plans to change their Grid Tie Plans
27th June 2012 10:43AM
We have just had word from Meridian Energy and can confirm that they are indeed in the process of modifying their feed-in rates.
This would normally mean concern and dread for any grid connected PV generating customer (but don't panic yet!)
This from Meridian:
"We have conducted a review of supply and pricing attributes for 'small scale renewable generation schemes" (this includes PV) and we intend to launch a new product into this sector of the market in the next couple of months that will be based on a '2-part tariff' with options for a 3-year or 5-year fixed energy rate. As this has not yet been "signed off" - I am unable to provide the exact "numbers" on this today. In the meantime - standard published rates apply on a 'one to one' basis."
At S4SOLAR, we like to keep our customers as informed as possible, so while we would love to say that we have crunched some numbers on this, the problem is that we don't actually have any numbers to crunch!
But that's not good enough for us - or for you (especially if you are wanting to buy a PV power system now while the prices are so good)
So... here is my guess: (follow me on this...) Your power usage is split into two sections, day and night. If you put a solar power system in that provides 95%of your power and you are being paid 1:1 for power fed into the grid then you can "store" your power for later use, much like a 100% efficient battery that you 'rent' for $30/month (lines charge)
My guess is that Meridian will allow this to continue but will cut back on the feed in rate at a point when you become a net provider to the grid. The big question is this; what is the cut-off timespan for this measurement?
If it is yearly, then there is no problem because you will not end up being a net provider due to the winter months of high usage and low production from your PV system. However if they measure it monthly (which is my guess) then from my calculations for the average home you will probably lose about 5-10% of your value or the electricity you produce - call it inefficiencies in the 'grid-battery' - call it what you want, it still adds about one year to your payback time.
This is not a train smash.
But this is:
If they start tallying up every day, or worse kwh by kwh, then the return drops even further - the calculation would need to be done for each individual home.
But all is not lost - Automation can save the day!
A very simple level of appliance automation combined with customer training can help to pull a lot of those night-time energy units into the daylight, basically so you use them when you generate them and don't feed so many back into the grid.With a few hundred dollars and a little thought about when you use the diswasher, washing machine or clothes drier and you could pull your system back into the 8 year payback realm.