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Get more for your extra
solar power with
Solar Buddies

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find a Buyer?

You can start with your friends and family, or workmates. Unfortunately, Trustpower do not match Sellers with Buyers - this is to maintain the relationship between the Seller and Buyer. 

How do I add/remove/change Buyers?

You'll need to complete a new Seller sign up form, which you will find on our website. Then, email it to us at solar.buddies@trustpower.co.nz and make it clear whether you are adding or replacing Buyers. We'll send you and your Buyers an email to confirm you're all signed up. If you don't receive this within 14 days, send us an email to the above address.

Can a Buyer purchase from more than one Seller?

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

How do I set the price with my Buyers?

The price you set is completely up to you and your Buyers. You can have different prices for each Buyer. Some Sellers agree to prices around 15c per unit with their Buyers, others agree to more and some are gifting their surplus power to a family member or charity for free. 

Can I sell more than 50 units (kWh) per month to a Buyer?

Our current policy means you can only sell 50 kWh per month, per Buyer. 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 kWh.

Is there any restrictions on where my Buyer can be located?

Your Buyers can be located anywhere in New Zealand, as long as they are a Trustpower customer for their power. We do reserve the right to change this policy, but currently we want to offer Solar Buddies to as many customers as possible.

My friend 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. So, a Seller can't also be a Buyer. 

If a customer with solar panels wishes to be a Buyer, they can't also be a Seller and so they would remain on our standard buyback rates for their exported solar surplus power (currently 7c per unit + GST). 

I own a business with a lot of solar panels. Is there any limit to the number of Buyers I can register?

Solar Buddies is designed for domestic and commercial customers. There is no limit to the number of Buyers under Solar Buddies. However, if you have a large solar installation (typically greater than 30 kW) then you may have other options. Get in touch with us via email to discuss your options.

What if my Buyer isn't a Trustpower customer?

In order to be a Solar Buddy, they will need to switch their electricity account to Trustpower. All Sellers and Buyers must have their power accounts with Trustpower so that we are able to bill them correctly. Just call us on 0800 78 95 02 or click here to switch.

Does my Buyer 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 Buyers (subject to the maximum 50 units per Buyer per month) regardless of the time of their usage.

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.

How were my Solar Buddy credits calculated?

The credits that appear on your bill depend on these factors:

- The actual quantity of solar power generated and exported by the Seller.
- The priority of each Buyer.
- The maximum number of units per month that can be sold to each Buyer, as set by Trustpower (currently 50 units per month).
  In practice, this is allocated at a daily level of 1.643 kWh per day.
- The number of days covered by the most recent Seller's bill.
- If you still have questions, please refer to the Solar Buddy Flyer.

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

You should see a message on your bill that gives details of the Solar Buddies purchase or sale. 

If there are no credits showing, it may be because we have not been able to read the Seller's 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 next time the Seller's meter is read. 

Don't worry, no credits will be lost. They will simply be back dated to the Seller's last read. For example, if there are two months between the Seller's reads, two months' worth of credits will be processed. 

If there is another 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.