Once your have a Solar Panel and Storage System, the electricity company you are with and the tariff you are currently on, will probably not be the best way to maximise your returns. The three questions you will want to ask will be:
As a Solar Panel and Storage System owner you will want to be on the half hourly variable rate. This
tariff for decades was only available to very large commercial consumers, because of the expensive
metering that was required. These days with many homes having smart meters, access to this tariff is
far more widely available.
Octopus Energy at the time of writing, in our opinion offers the best of these tariffs, the tariff is
called Octopus Agile. As a variable tariff Octopus cannot tell you more than 24 hours in advance what
your electricity costs will be, as they are based on the wholesale markets. However, on average, over
time, savvy solar panels and storage system owner have done extremally well on this tariff.
Whilst wholesale energy prices can be high in daytime hours, solar panel owners are not concerned
about this, as they rarely buy energy during the day, and in fact most are selling any excess, after
storage to the grid most days.
The real benefits of the Agile tariff are the night rate and the export rate.
When you buy energy on this tariff Octopus make a margin, however at night the grid wants to
dispose of energy, to reduce the need to reduce supply, as fluctuating supply is expensive. So many
days the grid will pay Octopus to take energy between around 1am and 5am. Octopus then passes
this deal onto the consumer, by paying them to use, or download and store energy. This is called
negative or plunge pricing.
To be absolutely clear, you can be paid to use or store energy from the grid in the early hours.
When it comes to export rates, many of the large electricity companies are only paying between
three and five pence per unit. Octopus pay people with other electricity companies seven and a half
pence to sell their export, using their export MPAN number. Octopus pay their own fixed tariff
customers fifteen pence for their export units.
Where the Agile tariff varies is that Octopus pay the market rate, minus their margin to their
customers, at the time of writing, this has regurily been between twenty and twenty six pence per
You may be asking yourself, why would I want to buy energy, I have solar panels and a battery, I
thought the idea was to be almost off grid.
If you have the right set up, you will use your solar energy all day, you will store what you do not use,
in the evening you will use what you stored. When you go to bed your battery will be at about 15-
20% full, depending on time of year and usage. All your battery will usually be doing late at night and
very early in the morning is trickling out enough energy to run your fridge and you iPhone chargers.
Savvy solar owner choose to recharge their batteries from the grid at this time, often they are paid
for this, but certainly the energy is a small fraction of the usual cost, they then resell this energy the
next day, often for 20 -25 pence more than they paid for it.
Using the methods outlined above can generate hundreds of pounds of additional returns from your
system, and increase the speed at which it pays for itself. This can be done with set and forget
technology, so this does not require constant tampering with the system.
The information outlined on this page was correct at the time of writing, you should of course go to
the Octopus website for up to date details. Furthermore, there is a Facebook group with 30,000
Octopus customers in called Octopus Energy Unofficial, in that group some searching will find Agile
tariff customers posting images of their apps and detailing their returns.
Further information on Octopus can also be found in Which magazine which highly recommends
Green Solar World are not affiliated with Octopus Energy