Panel Power: serving your energy needs, sunny side up

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The Octopus Energy for Business team have a unique new energy tariff for businesses that generate their own solar electricity: Panel Power. Let’s take a look at how the tariff works and who can reap its benefits.

What is Panel Power?

Panel Power is a smart export tariff and successor to the feed-in-tariff - perfect for businesses with solar. It serves as a combined import and export tariff, set at 5.5p/kWh for every unit of electricity exported back to the grid.

How does it work?

If your business has solar panels installed, you’ll always use your own solar electricity first before drawing any power (or ‘importing’ it) from the grid. This means that the energy generated by your solar panels will always be the first to run your coffee machine in the morning and charge your computers throughout the day.

However...

When you’re using more power than your solar generation can provide (probably when it’s cloudy, or late in the evening) our import tariff will supplement your energy needs, supplying you with grid energy matched with 100% renewable sources.

When your solar panels are generating more power than you can use (say, when the sun is shining strong or your operations are minimal) our export tariff will get to work and you’ll be paid 5.5p/ kWh for all the energy you pump back into the grid.

A diagram of a home, with solar panels on the roof.

What makes Panel Power unique?

Panel Power is bespoke, specifically designed for businesses that are generating their own electricity. It therefore differs from some of the other tariffs and schemes you might have heard about, let’s be clear about what they all mean:

What was the FiT (Feed-in Tariffs) scheme

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The FiT scheme was a government programme that closed to new entrants from 31st March 2019. It was designed to promote the uptake of renewable generation like solar panels. Those signed up to the FiT scheme receive quarterly payments from the government for the electricity their installation generated and exported back to the grid.

What is the SEG (Smart Export Guarantee) scheme

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To replace the FiT scheme, the government launched the SEG scheme in January 2020. SEG is a scheme whereby suppliers purchase your exported electricity without the need to be tied into an electricity contract. Our current business SEG export rate is set at 3p/kWh. In order to proceed with SEG, we require some more information regarding your current meter. Please contact business.seg@octoenergy.com for more information.

What is the OutgoingOctopus tariff?

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Outgoing Octopus and Panel Power are two completely different products. Panel Power is explicitly for businesses and Outgoing Octopus for domestic households.

Click here to find out more about Outgoing Octopus.

How does Panel Power stand out?

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In 2020 we launched Panel Power. Thanks to Panel Power, businesses are not only able to export their surplus energy back onto the grid, but are also supplied by 100% renewable energy when their solar panels aren’t generating enough to cover all of their electricity needs.

What’s the sign up process like?

The sign up process for Panel Power engages with many different energy industry systems, so there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes when you sign up.

In order for you to get signed up to Panel Power, we firstly require that you switch to Octopus Energy for your import tariff. Panel Power is a combined import and export tariff, so in order to qualify, you will also need to be on supply with Octopus. You can get a business quote here.

After switching, we will request both your MCS Certificate and proof of the DNO’s response to your installation (If your system generated capacity is <50kW). This allows us to confirm that your solar generation has been connected correctly, and that you’ve received confirmation from the local grid operator!

We use this information to:

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  1. Check for your Octopus Account.
    Because Panel Power requires you to have both import and export supplied by Octopus, the first step in the sign up process is double checking you have an active, on-supply business electricity account with us. If not, it’s super simple to sign up online. Feel free to click here for a quote.
  2. Check the FiT register.
    It’s not possible to receive both FiT export payments and measured export, so we always check the national FiT register to see what you’ve already got. This is a manual step where we look at your account and search for your meter identity on Ofgem’s FiT register. If this shows the property is already on a FiT then we work with you on the options such as ceasing the export part of FiT; this requires us to update the register manually.
  3. Check we have the right documentation.
    Aligned with the new Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) we need a copy of the MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) certificate, the DNO (Distribution Network Operator) Notification form and the DNOs response.
  4. Create a new Export Meter Point Administration Number (often called an MPAN).
    Using the central industry database, we request a new extra identity for your existing meter called an Export MPAN. Responses usually take a couple of days, but depending on demand this can sometimes be more than a week. If the steps above have been followed then there shouldn't be an issue (on occasion MPANs may receive rejections but we can work with you to figure out why).
  5. Add your Export MPAN to your account.
    Once we add your Export MPAN to your account, fixing it to the relevant tariff, we will begin receiving data of your solar export generation which will be used when billing!

Will I receive credit as soon as I switch over?

No, we will not be able to credit you for export as soon as you switch over. The timeline for completion will vary case-by-case depending on multiple factors. The sign up process for Panel Power engages with many different energy industry systems and requires action from external electricity bodies. As a result, we cannot quantify the sign up journey but will aim to complete the set up within 2-months.

What about a smart meter?

If you have a first generation SMETS1 or current SMETS2 smart meter or an Automated Meter Reading (AMR) device (which is remotely configurable) then we will be able to get all the data needed to bill you correctly as part of the Panel Power offering. If you are unsure on what meter type you currently have, get in touch and we will be happy to help panelpower@octoenergy.com.

The benefits for you

So, what’s in for you? Firstly, if you are a business getting paid for the energy you use (and at a competitive rate of 5.5p per KWh), this hugely improves your return on investment of your solar panels. For comparison, other SEG tariffs are currently offered at 3p per kWh.

Also, having both an import and an export tariff in the same place from the same supplier will make your life that little bit easier. Having one touchpoint for your energy supply, and having both your incoming and outgoings on one bill, means you can clearly see your consumption and just how cost effective your solar panels are.

Are you a Solar Installer?

Then partner with us to provide a more inclusive solution that you can take to your customers. You’ll be able to offer potential business customers more than just solar panels, but a complete energy deal.

Supporting the future of energy

In 2016, Octopus Energy was created with a mission to disrupt the old-school energy market. What better way to achieve this goal than empowering businesses to become energy producers in their own right?

Panel Power FAQs

We've laid out every imaginable question you could have about Panel Power below. If you've got any others, just email panelpower@octoenergy.com and we'll help.

How long does it take to get onto the Panel Power tariff, and what's involved?

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It's hard to quantify how long it will take. As the first supplier to offer a smart export tariff, we know there’s quite a few things to iron out before we can get you onto Panel Power.

There are four main steps:

  1. Check the FiT register. As it’s not possible to receive both FiT export payments AND measured export we always check the national FiT register to see what you’ve already got. This is a manual step where we look at your account with us and search for your address on Ofgem’s FiT register. If this shows you’re already on a FiT then we work with you on the options such as ceasing the Export part of FiT; this requires us to update the FiT register manually.
  2. Check we have the right documentation. Aligned with the new Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) we need a copy of the MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) certificate, the DNO (Distribution Network Operator) Notification form and the DNOs response. For older installs we’re seeing a high level that haven’t been notified to the DNO which can cause several weeks’ delay and frustration.
  3. Use the industry systems to request a new, extra, identity for the meter called the Export MPAN. This is another system that we log on to and manually enter all the details. Responses take between 2 days and 2 weeks. If the DNO notification isn’t recorded the request gets rejected, or if the equipment installed is not compliant it gets rejected.
  4. Set up our billing system with the new Export MPAN, preferred tariff and (where relevant) line up the FiT Export end date. Typically it takes 2 to 4 days for the different industry systems that our platform connects to to complete everything.

In addition, as export requires a smart meter, we'll arrange the install in parallel for anyone that doesn't already have a supported smart meter. Typically we aim to install smart meters within one to two months. Once the meter is installed, it takes up to 10 days for the various industry systems to catch up and for our platform to start to receive half-hourly data.

What do I need to sign up?

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In order to onboard onto Panel Power, firstly we require that you switch to Octopus Energy for your import tariff. Panel Power is a combined import and export tariff, so in order to qualify, both need to be on supply with Octopus. You can get a business quote here.

To create your export MPAN we then require the following;

If your system generation capacity is <50kW

  1. A scanned copy of your MCS Certificate (you can read more about this here.
  2. Proof of the DNO’s response to your installation (You, or your installer, must notify your Distribution Network Operator (DNO) of your renewable install in order for us to set up your meter for export measurement. This is done using a G59, G83, G98 or G99 DNO Notification form. The DNO will process this and write back to you with their acceptance of the install). We require the DNO response letter, not the DNO Notification form.

If your system generation capacity is >50 kWp

  1. G59/G99 or G83/G98 certificate.
  2. DNO response letter.
  3. Electrical Installation Certificate. 
  4. Full name and installers accreditation. 

I'm in the process of installing solar PV, can I get a Panel Power quote?

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Panel Power export rate is 5.5p/kWh. In order for us to process your request we would need your MCS certificate and confirmation from the DNO that they have agreed to the installation. If we apply for your export MPAN before this, it will get rejected. 

We can certainly get you started with an import tariff quote which will help speed up the process for when your solar installation is live and fully commissioned. You can get a business quote here.

I already have solar, is Panel Power suitable for me too?

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Absolutely! Panel Power isn't reserved just for new installations. If you have an existing solar PV installation and are interested in having your import and export supplied by Octopus, then feel free to get in touch to find out more. We'd love to speak with you.

What is the upper limit for solar installations?

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Panel Power supports all businesses with a solar PV installation up to 150kW peak capacity. However, it is important to remember you will need to have your import also supplied by Octopus for us to buy any exported electricity you may have.

If you are just interested in Octopus just purchasing your exported electricity please email business.seg@octoenergy.com as this falls under SEG.

If your solar PV installation is over 150kW then please email ppa@octopus.energy and our procurement team will be in touch!

What is my import tariff?

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Your import tariff is the fixed term tariff agreement relating to your energy consumption. In order to onboard onto Panel Power, we require that you switch your import contract over to Octopus. You can get a business quote here.

You are free to choose the best import tariff that suits you. To compliment your solar generation we will the add our Panel Power export tariff which credits you 5.5p for every unit of electricity exported back to the grid!

How does Panel Power differ from SEG?

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For businesses, we have two offerings; Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) and Panel Power. 

SEG is a scheme whereby we purchase your exported electricity without the need of you being tied into an electricity contract with us. Our current SEG export rate is set at 3p/kWh. In order to proceed with SEG, we require some more information regarding your current meter. Please contact business.seg@octoenergy.com for more information. 

Panel Power, in contrast, is our combined business solar tariff which requires that both your import and export are on supply with Octopus. The export rate for Panel Power is set at 5.5p/kWh.

I've heard about Outgoing Octopus, can you tell me more?

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Outgoing Octopus and Panel Power are two completely different products. Panel Power is explicitly for businesses and Outgoing Octopus for domestic households.

For more information, check out our Outgoing Octopus webpage.

Will I need a smart meter?

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Depending on your current set-up, you may be required to have a SMETS smart meter installed to record any electricity not consumed on site. It really varies case by case but we are able to help out and assist with the set-up.

If you are half-hourly metered it is fairly simple, we will just need to make some small virtual changes to your meter in order to record both your import and export.

Does this work with three-phase meters and split-phase meters?

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We’re rolling out three-phase and split-phase smart meters in 2021 once we’ve completed testing these meters with our billing system and the DCC smart meter infrastructure.

What will my export tariff statement look like?

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Your energy statement will have your consumption information, just the same as you’re used to seeing.

It'll separately show the half-hourly breakdown of your export for the month. Don’t worry. We’ll give you all the detail you need to keep on top of your bills.

What happens if I switch to another supplier?

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First of all – no exit fees or tie-ins. Switching away will be just the same as if you’re just on one of our consumption tariffs. We’ll work out a final bill based on closing export and consumption readings. If your final balance is in credit, we’ll refund it. Your new supplier will let you know if they are able to provide any equivalent export tariff.

Under FiT you cannot change your export during the first 12 months and after that, can only change once every 12 months.

What happens if I do not own my solar installation?

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We credit you for your exports via your electricity bill. Therefore, if the solar installation on your roof is not registered in your name (e.g. you currently rent the system or the previous owner has not transferred it to you yet), to proceed, we will require confirmation of approval from the systems owner that export credits will be added to the properties electricity bill. 

Published on 7th May 2020 by:

image of Eloise Moench

Eloise Moench

Octopus Energy for Business

Hey I'm Constantine, welcome to Octopus Energy!

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