Octopus Energy's solar buyback is ray of sunshine for customer wallets and stretched power grid

Octopus Energy helps to balance the Texas grid during peak times and rewards customers with cash as they sign up for the solar buyback program. Throughout August, Octopus Energy hosted Sunny Money,' a 30-day pilot to help boost exported energy back to the grid during record high temperatures. 

Using software from Kraken, Octopus Energy automatically credits customers for any excess electricity they transmit back to the grid. The retailer pays customers real-time wholesale energy rates so that customers are rewarded with the best price for exporting power when the grid needs it the most.

Now is a crucial time for the Texas power grid, with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) having issued eight conservation appeal notices throughout August alone.

"Demand flexibility is the grid of the future," said Michael Lee, Octopus Energy US CEO. "By taking simple steps like pre-cooling your home ahead of peak energy use times, you can save money and strengthen the grid's resiliency. If you have solar, you effectively have a power plant and with load flexibility, you can maximize the amount you're sending back if you're flexible about your power consumption. This alignment of customer value to grid value can be the best way to allow for unlimited scaling of residential solar and move the industry beyond net metering."

Octopus manages the automated and flexible process through KrakenFlex, its cloud-based proprietary platform, by alerting customers to optimal export periods, taking solar readings from home smart meters and then automatically crediting customers - via bill credit or check - for the excess power that is exported back to the grid.

"If there were enough people that were exporting storage, we may prevent brownouts or blackouts in the future," said Chris Graf, Octopus Energy US customer. "I was exporting enough from my own solar system to power 10 other houses." There is no cap on how much Octopus buys back or how much customers can export and Graf earned approximately $908 at an average of 66 cents/kWh in August alone.

Solar credits peak in the summer when energy demand is also the highest, encouraging solar and battery customers to think of themselves not just as consumers of electricity but as producers, being rewarded just as any other power plant in the market would be. Many Octopus Energy customers have received up to five times compensation vs. traditional net metering since they were responding to the grid in real-time and exporting to reduce demand.

"My goal is energy independence, not to have a lower power bill," said Graf. "I want to know that all my energy is green and that we're self-sufficient on the property for what we're generating." 

About Octopus Energy:

Octopus Energy Group is a global energy tech pioneer, launched in 2016 to use technology to unlock a customer focused and affordable green energy revolution. It is part of Octopus Group, which is a certified BCorp. With operations in 14 countries, Octopus Energy Group's mission is going global. Octopus Energy entered the U.S. market in 2020, forming Octopus Energy US. 

In December 2021, Octopus Energy Group was valued at approximately $5 billion following investments from Generation Investment Management and Canada Pensions Plan Investments Board.

About Sunny Money:

Throughout August, Octopus Energy hosted Sunny Money,' a 30-day solar buyback pilot to encourage demand flexibility and optimal exports. Participating solar customers exported a total of 180,000 kWh, while earning $36,000 in solar buyback credits. The top 10 Sunny Money' customers exported 16,000 kWh in August, averaging $0.39/kWh, and all customers exported at an average of $0.219/kWh. Some customers averaged $1-2/kWh for the month (10-20x the rate to buy from the grid). The challenge demonstrated that the top earners were considerably more flexible with their energy usage than the average customer.

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