Octopus Energy has announced it is adding solar PV and solar battery installation to the services it offers customers, adding that it hopes to install 5,000 across the UK this year.
Those customers that do sign up to the solar PV installation – as well as existing homes with solar panels – will also be able to sell the green energy their home generates back to Octopus Energy at a rate of 15p per kWh on their Fixed Outgoing rate. The idea is this should help customers move towards "zero" energy bills with household heat ideally generated by a electric heat pump rather than gas or oil boiler.
The new solar installation scheme, which is part of Octopus Energy Services, will also create 200 new "green" jobs, the energy company said in a statement. These will mostly be solar engineers and surveyors.
How to sign up for solar PV and battery with Octopus
Right now, the energy company is offering solar PV installations in the Midlands and the South. It's not clear when installations will be offered to other regions of the UK, but the company hopes to roll out this service to other areas in the first year.
To sign up you can express your interest on the Octopus Energy website here. You will be required to answer a few questions, such as whether you home is detached, the roof angle and covering, as well as if you plan to install a heat pump.
Once you have registered your interest, a survey will be carried out and a tailored quote for your home's needs created. If you decide to go ahead with solar PV, Octopus Energy claims their solar panel installation will take two to four days. (You may also need to factor in whether you need planning permission for your solar panels.)
Octopus haven't given an idea on how much they'll charge yet, but claim that with a mass roll out means prices can be pushed right down to make it much more affordable.
Octopus Energy's market-leading buyback tariffs
Octopus Energy is promising to buy back at 15p per kWh on its Fixed Outgoing rate scheme and wholesale rates (fixed a day ahead) on its non-fixed Agile Outgoing scheme.
The fixed rate is currently estimated to be "three times more than any other UK energy supplier (the next best tariff offers 5p/kWh)," according to Octopus Energy.
The Agile Outgoing rate might be a good option for those who opt for solar batteries for storage, so you can choose when electricity wholesale prices are high before selling it. However, you will need a smart meter to qualify for this.
Apparently you can also sell your energy to your neighbours to keep everything super green and hyperlocal, in what Octopus Energy is claiming would be the first mass "peer-to-peer" energy trading services in the UK.
Those with solar panels and solar batteries on their home already can also join the tariff, which is available to sign up to here. That's as long as they aren't already locked in to an export tariff.
Octopus energy claims that being able to sell excess energy, as well as generating your home's energy itself, will help its customers reduce their electric bills by up to 90%. This is based on a typical UK home with solar panels and batteries on the Agile Outgoing scheme. Without solar energy, this example home would be spending £1,154 a year on energy, but with solar energy they'd save £1,039 of that.
Why is Octopus Energy moving towards solar energy?
John Szymik, CEO of Octopus Energy Services, explained why Octopus was moving towards solar installations in a statement.
He said: “Given the success we have had in scaling and installing huge swathes of smart, green home energy tech, we are champing at the bit to begin installing the last piece of the puzzle, solar photovoltaic.
“If more homes in the UK produce clean, green solar energy, we will be able to accelerate the energy transition and bring down system prices for everybody by lowering system costs.
“In true Octopus style, we’ll focus on reducing solar installation times down to record levels, hoping to soon make solar panels affordable for everyone.”
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Amy spent over a decade in London editing and writing for The Daily Telegraph, MailOnline, and Metro.co.uk before moving to East Anglia where she began renovating a period property in rural Suffolk. During this time she also did some TV work at ITV Anglia and CBS as well as freelancing for Yahoo, AOL, ESPN and The Mirror. When the pandemic hit she switched to full-time building work on her renovation and spent nearly two years focusing solely on that. She's taken a hands-on DIY approach to the project, knocking down walls, restoring oak beams and laying slabs with the help of family members to save costs. She has largely focused on using natural materials, such as limestone, oak and sisal carpet, to put character back into the property that was largely removed during the eighties. The project has extended into the garden too, with the cottage's exterior completely re-landscaped with a digger and a new driveway added. She has dealt with de-listing a property as well as handling land disputes and conveyancing administration.