OpenSolar has an extensive tariff database, but there may be utility departments or specific rates that are not in the database yet. If there is a tariff you would like to model with that is not in the database, feel free to create a Help Center ticket with the tariff details attached, and the support team will add it for you. You are also able to create the tariff yourself by following the steps below.
In summary this article will help you:
- Where to create your utility tariff rates
- Understand the OpenSolar tariff rate fields
- Create bill charges within a tariff rate
- Differentiate and model different types of tariff rate structures
- Use the Time-of-Use scheduler
- Design a simple flat rate within the project's energy page
Where to Create Your Utility Tariff Rates
In order to create a new tariff, go to the Control section of the app, and then go to Other > Utility Tariffs on the left-side bar.
From here you can search through all of the existing tariffs in our database, or to create your own tariff rate you can go to the top right hand corner and click on "Add Utility Tariff".
When creating a new project, OpenSolar will automatically select a tariff based on the country, and service area of the distributor and utility. If the default tariff applied does not match what your customer is on, you can:
- Select another tariff from the database,
- Edit and modify an existing tariff selected from the database by clicking on the link to open up the tariff edit form,
- Create your own tariff rate directly in the project Energy Page.
Tariff Rate Fields
Once you've created a name for the utility tariff, you can add edit all of the tariff information. Description of each Utility Tariff field is shown in the table below:
|Mandatory Fields (Except when customizing an existing tariff in Energy Page)
|Name of the tariff rate|
|Rate code prescribed in the utility tariff book or in your sample bill.|
|The country in which the utility tariff is offered.|
The periodic interval in which a customer is billed for their electricity usage. There are 3 options:
|Solar Compensation Mechanism||
The mechanism in which solar energy is compensated. There are currently 3 main types of solar compensation mechanisms as listed below. For further information, refer to What is Solar Compensation Mechanism on an Electricity Tariff Rate?
|Optional Fields (That you should set if you have the data for it)|
|The company that offers the utility tariff plan. May also be known as the energy supplier/retailer.|
The electricity distributor (or grid operator) that serves the area where the utility tariff is offered.
Sometimes the Distributor is the same as the Utility
|Refers to the customer type that is served by this tariff (e.g. Residential or Commercial). If not selected, will default to Unspecified.|
(Set this only if it is applicable)
A minimum amount that must be paid on that utility rate.
This field has units $/day, however some minimum charges are the same as the billing frequency (i.e. monthly, quarterly, ..). In a case like that, convert the minimum charge amount to $/day amount.
Note that this is NOT THE SAME as the fixed charge on a utility rate. You can set fixed charges under Discounts & Surcharges.
|Description that can be provided about the tariff.|
Transition To Proposed Tariff
|The tariff that the customer will be switching to after acceptance of the proposal.|
Valid From/Valid To
|The dates in which the tariff is applicable.|
|Tax||Indicate if the pricing declared in this rate is inclusive or exclusive of tax|
How to Create Tariff Bill Charges
You can incorporate the billing costs an electric utility is charging you in the Pricing section. Under this section, there are various types of bill charges you can input in.
|Bill Charge Type||Available Units||Description|
|Energy Charge||$/kWh||Usage rate based on energy consumed.|
|Fixed rates that are charged to the customer regardless of how much energy they use.|
Charge based on the maximum power drawn from the grid for a given time period.
OpenSolar currently support demand ratchet.
|Export Credit||$/kWh||Amount credited for excess generation exported to the grid. Only applies for rate where the Solar Compensation Mechanism is NOT set to Net Energy Metering (NEM).|
|Controlled Load Charge||
Charge based on energy consumed by control load applications which are separately metered to other usages (Note: these are added in the Project Page).
|PV Capacity Charge||
Additional charges for having an installed PV system which can either be a fixed amount or varying depending on the size of the PV system.
Tariff Rate Structures
There are various types of rate structures such as i) flat rates, ii) tiered or blocked rates and, iii) time-of-use (TOU) or time-of-day (TOD) rates. You can model them in the platform by clicking on the appropriate rate structure.
Creating a Flat Rate
A flat rate (also known as a single rate) is a charge that applies to all time-periods of the tariff.
To create a Flat Rate:
- Click on
- Set a Rate Name and Price. Select the appropriate unit applicable.
- You may ignore the "+ Add Tier" and the setting of schedule as the rate is automatically assigned to all time periods, for flat rates.
- To create another flat rate or a rate with different structure to represent other surcharges, click on the
Creating a Tiered (Block) Rate
A Block Rate is based on incremental usage prices. For a given Block Period (the cycle before the tiering of the charge resets), the Price per kWh will vary based on which Limit (kWh) has been exceeded.
To create a block rate:
- Click on
- Set the appropriate Block Period. There are two options (Per Day = resets the tiers every new day, or Per Billing Period = resets tiers at every new bill, or same as the bill cycle/frequency).
- Set the Price and Tier Quantity (Limit) for each block. Select the appropriate unit applicable.
- Ensure that the Limit for the last block is empty.
- If your want to add more tiers, click on
Note: Do NOT put a limit on the last block as any usage that is past that limit will have no rate assigned to it, and hence be charged at $0/kWh.
Creating Time-of-Use (TOU) Rate
A Time-of-Use (TOU) rate is a rate that has different charges based on the time of day.
In order to add TOU Rates:
- Click on
- Set a Rate Name and Price for every Time-of-Use Period. Make sure to select the appropriate units. To add additional TOU periods, click on
- To designate the time periods applicable for each TOU rate you have created, click on
Note: You may also create block charges within a TOU rate. Just click on the and follow the steps above on how to model tiered rates.
How to Use the Time-of-Use Scheduler
Once you have clicked on the , the TOU scheduler will popped up.
- Define the applicable date range for the selected TOU rate. You may create multiple date ranges within the same TOU rate by clicking the . The date ranges you have specified will be highlighted in green on the timeline while the unselected ones will remain light grey. In cases that you have already selected a time range on a different TOU rate, those months will be highlighted in dark grey specifying that they are unavailable time blocks.
- Proceed to selecting the time frame in which the corresponding rate gets applied on the schedule matrix. When a time block has already been selected on a different TOU rate, it will be shaded in dark grey. Hence, you cannot assign these dark grey time blocks to the current TOU rate you are working on the scheduler.
- To assign time, select . If you wish to unselect some time blocks, click then click on the blocks you want to remove from your current selection.
- If you want to mass remove everything you have assigned on this chosen TOU rate, click . Note that by clicking "Clear", it will only clear out those assigned time blocks for this currently selected TOU rate. The shaded time blocks for the other TOU rates will remain.
- Once done, click
- Repeat the same procedures for the rest of your TOU rates.
Setting of Percentage Adjustments
You may also incorporate surcharges expressed in percent increase as well as those percent discounts offered in special programs of various utilities, under the percentage adjustments section. Make sure to select which will these declared percentages be applied into:
- Energy charges
- Demand charges
- Fixed charges
- All charges
Extra Fields contains various parameters that you can set for a tariff rate. These include:
|Minimum Annual Export Credit||
This shows up when Net Billing or Net Billing with Credit Carryover is selected as the Solar Compensation Mechanism. This sets the minimum amount of export credit that can be received on that tariff rate. If the total annual export credits does not exceed the minimum amount set, then the customer will be compensated for the difference. This is generally offered as an incentive to join some energy program. It contains two fields:
|NEM Applicable Duration||
This field is ONLY applicable when the solar compensation mechanism is set to "Net Energy Metering (NEM)".
It sets the duration that NEM applies before it switches over to a Net Billing compensation model. It contains 2 fields:
|Non Bypassable Charges||
$/kWh portion of the usage charges that can't be offset by solar credits.
Simple Flat Rate
When working on a project and you just want to simply align the billing charges with the sample bill on hand, you may also choose to just declare a simple flat rate within the Energy page. To do this,
- Make sure to fill-up the necessary details on the Electricity Rate section including the price of electricity, bill frequency and the appropriate solar compensation mechanism.