Why rooftop solar is perfect for large format retailers.  


If you manage a large format retail store, switching to rooftop solar could save you a significant amount of money.


And with Upstream, you can get going without any upfront investment. Just as a mortgage helps home buyers move in straight away, so our Power Purchase Agreements help you get panels on your roof straight away. 


To illustrate how it works, we can look at a real example. This is a customer of ours - they're a well known Australian retailer who installed panels in 2018.


The chart below shows how we were able to bring their annual costs down from $67,583 to $56,449 - a reduction of $11k (16%). Note that all these numbers are before GST. 


The grid provider's costs on the left were taken from a power bill provided to us by our customer. The costs on the right are from the power purchase agreement we proposed. 


Both options deliver the same amount of electricity. 


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Each colour in the chart represents a different charge. You might recognise them from your current power bills. Let's look at each one...


Network charges (red). Reduced 52%. 


The network charges relate to the cost of getting the electricity from the power station to the premises. They are charged based on the number of kilowatt hours consumed. 


This cost is usually between 40% - 50% of all traditional electricity bills. It's high because the cost of maintaining the grid is very high. With over 5 million power poles around Australia, it's no small task. 


There is still network charge with our PPAs because most of our proposals keep a connection to the grid to ensure a smooth supply of power when the sun doesn't shine. We minimise the use of the grid because it costs more, but keep it connected for power security until the cost of batteries comes down enough to make a grid connection unnecessary. 


Supply charges (green). No change. 

Like network charges, supply charges are based on the cost of maintaining the grid. 


However, supply charges are a fixed fee charged per day. Since we're staying connected to the grid in both scenarios, this charge doesn't change. 


Other charges (purple). Reduced 37%. 


This includes: 


Environmental charges

Charged on all non-renewable electricity bills in Australia, the money goes to fund rebates the Australian government is offering as part of the Renewable Energy Target scheme designed to reduce greenhouse emissions. We claim these rebates as part of our PPAs on behalf of our customers. Environmental charges can be up to 10% of any non-renewable power bill. 


AEMO charges 

The Australian Electricity Market Operator levies fees to cover the cost of operating the largest electricity markets in Australia (The NEM and WEM). It's based on the number of kilowatt hours consumed. 



As well as managing electricity markets, AEMO reports on electricity consumption with some very interesting dashboards. For these and other tasks, they require all market customers to install equipment to record their electricity consumption. AEMO registers, accredits and audits a range of metering services which are then provided by local network service providers. 


Retail service fee

Different providers will charge different fees - in this case we saw a retail service fee. 


Energy charges (blue). Increased 33%


The energy charge relates to the number of kilowatt hours consumed. 


In this case, the best price per kWh we could offer was higher than the existing rate. Often this is not the case, particularly with installations using systems rated under 100kW. Regardless, we're able to deliver an 16% cost reduction. 


The savings improve over time


The price per kWh of electricity from non-renewable providers is expected to increase by at least 2.5% every year. But our PPA has a fixed price which we do not increase over the term of our agreements. Over time this can be a big saving. 


Also, our agreements run for between 10 - 25 years (depending on what suits the customer), after which we transfer ownership of all solar assets to our clients. From this point on, there is no monthly solar bill to pay so costs go down to just maintenance of the panels, and grid or battery costs. This is the real goal of the whole exercise. 


Why LFRA members are a well placed to benefit
The chart above does not include energy storage. While the cost of solar panels has come down significantly, the cost of batteries is still relatively high.

But since retailer stores generally shut down at night, there is less need for storage right now, so moving to cheaper, cleaner solar is possible. 
PPAs are great for centre managers, landlords and tenants alike. 

Landlords can sign agreements to gain sustainability credentials, to attract tenants with lower power rates, or sometimes to sell the power to tenants for profit. 


Centre managers can propose Power Purchase Agreements to tenants as an added service. It's also possible to generate positive PR by promoting sustainability credentials acquired. 


Lastly, tenants often sign PPAs with us directly. They are sometimes concerned about being locked in to an agreement, but there are a number of options:

  • move the system to their new business location, or
  • re-wire the system to the proprietor / building common areas, or
  • transfer to the incoming tenant, or
  • terminate the agreement. A fee may apply (see contract options page)


How to get started


We're very happy just to have a chat on the phone to see if a PPA is a good idea for you. If it's not, we'll let you know. Call us on 02 8226 8616 or email us on hello@upstreamenergy.com.au


If you're keen to see a more detailed proposal, send us a recent power bill. All the information we need is in there. You can upload a scan in the form below. There's no obligation and you'll be able to see how much you'd save. 


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