What's a power purchase agreement? 


PPAs - what they are and how they vary.  


  • A power purchase agreement is a contract to purchase electricity. It's really no different from your current situation, buying power from a grid retailer - except that it's coming directly from solar panels on your roof that your PPA provider has paid for. They are growing in popularity now because of the growth of the renewables industry.


When the sun shines, you buy power from the panels. Overnight, your power comes from the grid like normal. A cloudy day can be a mixture of the two.


  • PPAs are not leases or loans. They are an agreement to buy electricity - not a solar system. The benefit here is that unlike with a loan, the expense of the solar system does not appear on the customer's balance sheet, which can be helpful for businesses. 


No need to worry about what kind of panels you're getting, or where the materials were made - you just buy the power, and the PPA provider is responsible for insuring and maintaining the asset.


There are two variations in the PPA market; Synthetic and Behind The Meter. We focus on the best value offering:

  1. Behind The Meter PPAs - the best value product on the market

Rooftop solar electricity has the rather marvellous advantage of generating energy right where it is being consumed. This means it eliminates all the network ('poles and wires') costs associated with how much power you use.

PPAs that focus on rooftop solar are called "behind the meter" PPAs because the electricity flows directly into a site, behind the point at which grid based electricity does - the meter. 


PPAs can be 50% cheaper than the best grid market rates. 


These structures are well suited for businesses, schools, and other organisations who love the idea of going solar and paying less for electricity, but don't want to pay anything upfront, and don't want to have to monitor or maintain the system. 


Businesses also like them because it's a lot less work than buying a solar system. No need to research providers and work with installers. No need to get a loan. 


Stay connected to the grid. Businesses rely on power to operate - so while it's great to save money, you need the comfort of knowing the grid is your backup, 24-7. 


How do I know I'm getting the best PPA available?


1. Ownership transfer at nil cost.

At the end of the term, ensure you receive the asset at nil cost. Some PPA providers insist on a balloon payment - which basically means you're paying for the asset twice, and it's a terrible outcome.


2. Pay only for what you use

Know the difference between production and consumption. Some PPAs are production based - the customer pays for all the energy produced, whether they use it or not. Upstream offers a consumption based agreement - pay only for what you use. This eliminates the risk of the provider installing more solar than you need. Upstream's PPAs are one of only a handful of consumption PPAs in Australia.


3. Fixed price

Some PPAs will increase the price per kWh over the life of the agreement to allow for inflation. Upstream offers a fixed price that will not change for the term of the agreement - it doesn't even include annual indexing or CPI. We consider this is the best value, as customers are tired of constantly having electricity prices increase. Upstream's PPA is the only offering on the Australian market with this feature. 


4. Flexible, shorter terms

Some providers insist on terms of 10-30 years, which makes the process unviable for many businesses.

Upstream can deliver PPA terms as short as 3 years, and we've done this for several customers. This means the upfront savings aren't as strong, but you own the system quicker.

We design each system based on the unique requirements of each customer. This ensures installing the right number of panels with the right tilting to deliver the energy they need.

It also means tailoring the agreement - a typical term can range from 6 years to 12 years or more. As mentioned, sometimes longer agreements are attractive because the price per kWh is generally lower, it's locked in for longer, and because some customers would prefer to have us maintain the solar systems for as long as possible. 


Solar for Commercial Tenants

The majority of our customers are tenants. We work with the landlord to design a roof licence structure that allows you to vacate the property on lease expiry - we'll manage, maintain and insure the solar system until a new tenant moves in.


Monitoring & Maintenance

With each installation, we include a smart meter which helps us with faster billing but also with alerts for dips in power delivery. If an alert comes up you may not know it, but we'll see it and schedule maintenance to fix it. 


We're Australian

We're 100% Australian owned and operated. And we use local CEC accredited installers around Australia - so our customers help to drive the local economy when they work with us. 

We're real people

When you call us, a human answers the phone. Our offices are in Sydney, Brisbane and the mid-north coast of NSW.


Why is Upstream the best choice?

Don't take our word for it. Ask our clients below and check out our case study page.

  • Jaycar
  • Road Tech Marine
  • Beacon Lighting
  • Pillow Talk
  • World Gym
  • Tradelink
  • Petbarn
  • Greencross Vets


Want to know more? 

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