Since November 2020, Australia’s energy consumers have had the change to drive their bills down to zero with Social Energy’s tech, 100% green energy packages and home battery systems.
The UK-based smart energy company brings savings to homeowners with its game-changing tech, its competitive plans and its generous solar feed-in tariff.
Social Energy customers could save anything up to $2,200 in the first year alone if they buy a solar-plus-battery system from an approved supplier.
Bringing tech into energy trading
The energy retailer uses its own AI platform and its virtual power plant (VPP) tech to optimise solar battery storage.
Steve Day, Social Energy’s chief technology officer, says that the company’s customer network forms a VPP that creates and maintains the energy grids in the areas they’re in. This means the company can trade customers’ energy to generate income as well as power.
This combination can, Day said, reduce some households’ bills to zero as Social Energy shares this revenue with its customers, giving two thirds of the money to its battery owners.
Very intelligent artificial intelligence
Social Energy’s AI platform monitors and learns all about a customer’s energy usage and uses the information – 600 million annual data points – to decide how best to store, manage and distribute their energy.
Here’s how it works
A new customer connects their battery to Social Energy’s VPP
The company’s AI gets to know all about their energy usage so it can decide when to sell their excess energy to the grid and when to charge the battery from the grid.
Each customer’s battery can respond to instructions within 0.2 seconds, allowing high flexibility of trading and lower bills. All of the decisions are made automatically by the AI, so customers don’t have to do anything once the system is up and running.
Very generous feed-in tariffs
Social Energy offers solar-and-battery customers a 40c per kWh FIT, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in Australia for a decade. This rate is four times the rates paid in NSW (7.67c/kWh) and almost six times the average in QLD (7.01c/kWh).
This tariff goes to the first 300kWh per quarter and then falls to a secondary FIT which is standard but still higher than the regional average.
Pay-outs for larger systems
Customers with batteries of 9.6kWh and over will get a minimum $450 annual top-up for any power they don’t use, which might see some customers getting a quarterly payment instead of a bill.
Social Energy is also offering very competitive rates for buying power from the grid, so overcast days and night time usage is very affordable.
Turning the retailer-customer relationship upside down
As a result, the energy retailer is aiming to flip the typical relationship with customers on its head, paying them more for selling their unused solar energy than what they’re charged for the energy they buy.
Social Energy will be paying its customers more for their excess energy than it charges them for buying from the grid. The higher FIT is 40c/kWh while the buy-in rate is 21.5c/kWh.
The company is working with global battery giant Duracell, so its customers have the Duracell Energy Bank 2 at their disposal. This battery is scalable to fit the needs of individual homes and also for outdoor use. More battery brands are set to be available soon.
The costs of being Sociable
The average cost for a 6.6kW, Tier 1 solar installation with an 11.6kWh battery connected to Social Energy Hub is around $12,000. The company offers a $0-deposit finance package with terms of up to ten years, with the savings and/or income from the installation helping to make the repayments.
If a household qualifies for government grants or incentives, the customers can expect to see pay-back within four years and possibly negative bills soon after.
Giving everyman (and everywoman) access to big energy players
Social Energy is, according to Steve Day, democratising energy by letting domestic users trade in markets that were once only open to major energy players.
The company’s home market in the UK has seen energy prices driven down by challenges to the so-called Big Six from newer and greener suppliers and Social Energy hopes to bring this to Australia.
Helping homes to go greener
Social Energy’s mission is to effect real change in an industry that’s “helped” to drive climate change. If customers can be financially rewarded for making green choices, then there’s little reason not to.
Customers can connect to Social Energy whether they have an existing solar system or whether they’re new to PV. Social Energy is available throughout NSW, SA, QLD, WA, ACT and Tasmania, with new areas being rolled out throughout Victoria over the coming months.