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. You are also able to create the tariff yourself by following the steps below.
In order to create a new tariff, go to the Control section of the app, and select Utility Tariffs, under Configuration on the left side bar.
From here you can search through all of the existing tariffs in our database by going to the top right hand corner and clicking , then choosing Search from the drop down menu. You will see a search bar and can type the name of the Utility or tariff that you are searching for.
If you would like to create a new tariff, go to the top right hand corner and click on .
Once you've created a name for the utility tariff and saved, you can add edit all of the tariff information.
- Sector - This is another way to sort and arrange utilities, it is not a required field.
- Country - The country in which the utility tariff will be used.
- Distributor - You must choose a distributor (owner of the electricity infrastructure) for your tariff which is in the same area as the project that you are designing for.
Note: For a given project, you will only be able to see tariffs that have a distributor that is based where the project is located.
- Utility - This is the company that buys and sells electricity, it is not required.
- Distributed Generation Rules - How the utility monitors metering.
- Valid From/To and Is Latest - Tariffs that are not valid can still be selected but this helps keep track of which tariffs are available.
- Bill Frequency - Whether the tariff is charged monthly or quarterly.
This is where you include all charges based on consumption: Usage Rate $/kWh, Demand Item $/Max 30 min kW /day, Export Rate $/kWh, or Controlled Load $/kWh.
Note: All prices entered should be inclusive of tax.
In order to create a new item, click on the button . Then click on the new item to expand the menu.
Under the heading Type, you can click on the type of charge you would like to define. You can chose one of four items:
- Usage Item ($/kWh) - charge based on energy consumed
- Demand Item ($/Max 30 min kW/Day) - network charge based off peak 30 min electricity usage
- Export Rate ($/kWh) - credit given for excess generation exported to the grid
- Controlled load ($/kWh) - charge based on energy consumed by control load applications which are separately metered to other usages (Note these are added in the Project Page)
These items can be configured to be Flat, Block or Time Of Use (TOU) rates.
Creating a Flat Rate
- Create a rate by clicking
- Set a Rate Name and Price
Note: For flat rates, no schedule needs to be set, as the rate is automatically assigned to all time periods.
Creating a Block Rate
A Block Rate is based on incremental usage prices. For a given Block Period (Daily, Monthly, Quarterly or Yearly), the Price per kWh will vary based on which Limit (kWh) has been exceeded.
For example, if you have a Default Billing Cycle Block Period with two blocks:
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.
- In a given billing cycle, the first 300 kWh will be charged at $0.20/kWh. All usage beyond 300 kWh will be charged at $0.25/kWh. This resets at the end of each billing cycle since.
- To make a Block Rate:
- Create an item by clicking and set it to be a Usage Rate.
- Click on to add another block
- Set the Price and Limit for each block (Ensuring that the Limit for the last block is empty).
- If this block rate applies to the entire year (is not broken up by season), then save and you will be able to model with this new tariff.
- If there are different blocks based on season or weekend/weekday, you can enable the Schedule, which allows you to assign blocks to times of the year.
Time Of Use (TOU) Rates
In order to add TOU Rates:
- Create an item by clicking and set it to be a Usage Rate.
- Then click on to add the number of different rates for each Time of Use period. (e.g. Create 3 separate rates for a TOU with Peak, Off-peak and Shoulder Rates).
- After setting the name and price of each rate, you will need to set the time period in which these rates are applied.
- First, click and then select the time frame in which the corresponding rate gets applied on the schedule matrix.
- Once the time frame is selected (indicated by the greened out cells), click next to the rate being assigned.
- Repeat steps for all other TOU rates.
- Ensure that both weekday and weekend schedules are assigned.
Discounts & Surcharges
These are set prices that you can add on or take away from the bill in a set time period.
- Click on to a new Discount/Surcharge
- Click on the drop down underneath Type to choose the time scale (i.e. $/day, month, quarter, year)
- Enter in a Discount as a negative number and Surcharge as a positive number.
So the example shown below will result in the bill having a surcharge of $10 per day.
To add an Extra Field:
- Click on the button
- Click on Extra Field Name drop down and choose an option
- Enter in the relevant value next to this
There are seven Extra Fields that you can add to a Tariff:
- Minimum Charge per Day - a minimum by which a user connected to this tariff must pay each day.
- Discount Usage Charges - A % discount on the usage charges (entering a value of 0.1 gives a 10% discount on the usage)
- Discount Supply Charges - A % discount on the feed-in rates (entering a value of 0.1 gives a 10% discount on the feed-in rate)
- Discount Demand Charges - A % discount on demand charges (entering a value of 0.1 gives a 10% discount on the demand charges)
- Tax (% inclusive) - the percentage of the usage charge which is tax. Entered as a value from 0-1 (ie 10% AU GST = 0.1)
- Net Surplus Compensation Rate - a rate which is applied to any net exported energy over a time period (generally compensated annually).
- Non By-passable Charges - Non by-passable Charges are set kWh charges on solar energy that is exported to the grid. For example, if a residency is producing solar energy that the home cannot consume (like mid day in summer), the energy is sent back to the grid. You are given a credit per kWh that is valued at the rate the utility is charging, less the non by-passable charge.