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Get more for your extra
solar power with
Solar Buddies

What is Solar Buddies™

Solar Buddies is a scheme for Trustpower customers who have Solar Panels. If you've got solar panels, you may sometimes produce more power than you can use. If you don't have storage capacity, your only current option is to sell this surplus power back to your energy retailer at market buyback rates (currently 7c per unit* for Trustpower customers). With Solar Buddies™, instead of selling your extra power to your energy retailer, you can sell it to people you nominate as "buddies" at a rate you agree with them.

*1 unit = 1 kilowatt, hour (kWh)

Download sign up form now



It's a win-win

As long as you have extra power, your buddies can buy a portion of their power every month at a price that is less than they would pay Trustpower. And you can sell your extra power for more than the 7c per unit you currently receive selling back to Trustpower.



Your buddies can be on different rates and you can even set a rate of 0c per unit if you’d like to give some of your spare power to someone you know. For example:

You could sell to Buddy 1 at

10c

per unit

And Buddy 2 at

15c

per unit

And Buddies 3, 4 and 5 could get it

FREE

The only restriction is that you can sell a maximum of 50 units to each buddy each month.


What happens if I don’t have enough power for all my buddies every month?

You can allocate your power to your buddies in case you do not have enough extra power for all of them every month. 



A podium illustrating how you can prioritise your buddies

You can set an order of priority so that one buddy always gets their power first. 

OR

Pie chart showing how you can allocate your energy to your buddies

Each buddy can always get a set percentage of your excess power. For example... Buddy 1 always gets 50%, Buddies 2 and 3 always get 25% each (up to the 50 units per month maximum). 

Signing up is easy

Simply download the application form, complete with your details and those of your buddies email it back to solar.buddies@trustpower.co.nz and you’ll be ready to go.

Download sign up form

Who can register for Solar Buddies?

Any residential or small business Trustpower customer can apply to register for Solar Buddies. If you are not already with Trustpower just call us on 0800 78 95 02 or click here to switch.

Your buddies also need to be Trustpower customers. If they are not already with us, just get their consent so we can contact them, indicate on the registration form that they are not currently with Trustpower and we’ll contact them to sign them up.

Other things you need to know


  • We would recommend a maximum of five buddies. You might want to check how much spare power you are currently exporting each month as this will indicate how many buddies you are likely to be able to supply with up to the 50 unit per month maximum per buddy.
  • There are no restrictions on where your buddies are located, so they don’t have to be based in the same region as you.
  • Your buddies can be on low or standard user rates.
  • In some cases, depending on the Trustpower meter read and billing cycle, your credits may appear on every second monthly invoice. This will not affect your total credits.

If you have any questions contact us on 0800 78 95 02 and ask for Solar Buddies™ or email us at solar.buddies@trustpower.co.nz. You can also click here for further information that you can download, including an explanation of how the billing works. 

For the Solar Buddies terms and conditions for sellers click here

For the Solar Buddies terms and conditions for buddies click here

Frequently Asked Questions

I have solar panels and would like to become a Solar Buddies Seller. How do I set the price with my Buddies?

The price you set is entirely up to you and your Buddies. You can have different prices for each Buddy and give them each a different priority to allocate your surplus power. Some sellers are agreeing prices around 15c per unit with their Buddies, others more and some are gifting their surplus power to a family member or charity at a rate of 0c.

The ability to agree your own price is a key feature of Solar Buddies as a peer-to-peer power trading system.

What if my Buddy isn’t a Trustpower customer?

They will need to switch their electricity account to Trustpower. All Sellers and Buddies must have their power accounts with Trustpower to enable the correct billing.

Do I need a smart meter to belong to Solar Buddies?

No. All you need is a simple import/export meter (smart or not) which should be set up already as part of your solar installation.

Does my Buddy have to be using power at the same time as I am generating it?

No. We will read your accumulated export meter and allocate that total volume to your Buddies (subject to the maximum 50 units per Buddy per month) regardless of the time of their usage.

I have solar panels and would like to become a Solar Buddies Seller.
Can I sell more than 50 units per month to a Buddy?

No, sorry. Our current policy limits the sale to 50 units per month per Buddy. If you are exporting a surplus of more than 50 units each month then you have 2 choices:

  • Find a second Buddy (or third, or fourth …) to use up the extra surplus; or
  • Remain on the standard buyback rate (currently 7c/unit + GST) for the surplus above 50
I have 2 properties, one with solar panels and one without.
Can the first property sell to the second property under Solar Buddies?

Yes, provided that:

  • both properties are Trustpower power customers, and
  • the second property is not already registered as a Buddy to another Seller
I am a Buddy buying from a Seller. Can I buy from a second Seller at the same time?

No. A Buddy can only be supplied from one Seller.

My neighbour and I both have solar panels. Can we sell power to each other under Solar Buddies?

No. Solar Buddies is designed to benefit all Trustpower customers, both those with solar panels and those without. Hence a registered Seller cannot simultaneously be a Buddy (buyer).

If a customer with solar panels wishes to be a Buddy (buyer), they could not be a Seller, and so would need to remain on standard buyback rates for their exported solar surplus (currently 7c per unit + GST).

I am thinking of selling power under Solar Buddies to a friend in another region.
Is there any restriction on where my Buddy can be located?

There are no current restrictions. Your Buddies can be located anywhere in NZ, as long as they are a Trustpower customer for their power. We do reserve the right to change this policy, but currently we wish to keep the Solar Buddies opportunity open to as many customers as possible.

I am registered as a Seller and one of my Buddies is thinking of installing solar panels for themselves. Can I still keep them as a Buddy?

Yes, provided they do not wish to become a Seller under Solar Buddies in which case they would have to be removed as a Buyer (Buddy). Meantime, they can continue as a Buddy and their own solar surplus will be purchased at our current buyback rate (currently 7c/unit + GST).

I am a member of Solar Buddies, but my latest power bill does not show any credits. What should I do?

Check the bottom of your bill under “Other Charges”. You should see a message there that gives details of the Solar Buddies purchase/sale.

If there are no credits showing, it may be because we have not been able to read the Seller’s solar export meter this particular month. This happens sometimes, depending on the visiting cycle of our meter readers and whether the seller has a smart meter or not. In these cases, you should see a message saying that your credits are waiting to be calculated the following month when the meter is read. Don’t worry, no credits will be lost, they will simply be accumulated onto your next bill.

If there is some other problem, for example, you do not receive any message about Solar Buddies on your bill, or you believe the calculations are wrong for any reason, please contact us and we will investigate..

How was the number of units shown on my bill calculated?

The number of units depends on 4 things:

  1. The maximum credits per month set by Trustpower (currently 50). In practice, this is allocated at a daily level of 1.643 units per day;
  2. The number of days covered by the most recent Seller’s bill. For example, if the Seller’s bill covered the period 1 March to 2 April, that would be 33 days inclusive, which means 54 units per Buddy could be allocated as a maximum (33 x 1.643).
  3. The actual quantity of solar power generated and exported by the seller. For example, if the seller exported 108 units during the 33 day period, then each of two Buddies could receive the maximum of 54 units on their next bill. But if the Seller only exported 90 units, then each of two Buddies could receive 45 units (assuming they had equal priority).
  4. The priority of each Buddy. In the above example, the two Buddies were equal priority so each received 50% of the 90 units generated. But a Seller can also give Buddy one a higher priority, so that Buddy one receives their full entitlement first (54 units) and Buddy two receives the remainder (36 units).

 
If you have any questions about the quantity received as a Buddy, please refer to the above examples and then get in touch with your Seller to confirm. If you still have questions, please contact us.

How do I add/remove/change Buddies?

Fill out a new Seller form from our website, and email it to solar.buddies@trustpower.co.nz. Make it clear whether you are adding or replacing Buddies. We will contact your new Buddies and bring them on board.

I own a shop with solar panels and would like set up my staff and customers as Buddies.
Is there any limit to the number of Buddies I can register?

Solar Buddies is designed for domestic and small commercial customers. Typically a shop would be a small commercial customer, and we would welcome your participation in Solar Buddies with as many Buddies as you could supply. If you have a large solar installation (typically greater than 30 kW) please get in touch for us to assess your eligibility and discuss your options.