Vector offers to top-up solar power buy-back rates

Move follows retailers cutting the amount they will pay solar households who can sell power back to the grid.

Lines company Vector says it will top up its new solar customers' buy back rates to 16c per kilowatt hour (kWh) through to January 2016.

Recently power retailers' slashed the amount they are willing to pay solar panel households who want to sell surplus power back to the grid.

Vector says it recognised the move caused concerns for consumers interested in solar. Hence its plan to top-up its new solar customers' buy back rates.

For example, if you are with company A, and they currently pay a buy back rate of 5.46c, when you purchase a new Vector Solar system, Vector will pay you 10.54c per kWh to top that up to 16c.

Solar power users were reportedly outraged in November when Meridian Energy said it will pay customers 7 cents per kilowatt hour in the summer and 10 cents in the winter for energy being sent back to the grid from 1 December — a steep reduction on its previous buyback rates of 25 cents a kilowatt hour for the first five per day and 10 cents thereafter.

Contact Energy earlier cut its buy-back rate from 17 cents for kilowatt hour to 8 cents.

Similar moves overseas have seen commentators speculate that traditional power companies now feel threatened by the rise of renewable alternatives.

Vector's offer launches tomorrow.

The company says the average household consumes around 8000 kWh per year.

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