Name: Darren McCoubrie
Location: Haberfield, NSW (Ausgrid network, two way trial tariff)
Energy set up: 6.6kW solar, 13.5kWh Tesla Powerwall
Household: Two adults, two children.
Darren McCoubrie first joined Amber in September 2022. Prior to this, his energy bills per quarter with EnergyAustralia averaged around $800 a quarter in winter and summer, and about $400 in autumn and spring.
Once he joined Amber, Darren’s bills fell to $54 a month. Upon enrolling his battery in Amber for Batteries, Amber’s battery automation and control technology, Darren’s bills fell again, from $54.17 a month to $15.21 for the month of October, and then -$8.17 in November.
In November 2022, Amber informed Darren about a new, innovative tariff in his network, Ausgrid, that he could take advantage of to earn an even higher FiT. This tariff provides export rewards of 27.8c/kWh for solar energy sent to the grid between 2pm and 8pm. As an Amber customer, this bonus FiT is applied on top of the wholesale feed-in tariff that Darren could access and Amber for Batteries optimises his system to make the most of the bonus FiT.
For Darren, this meant that his bill quickly shifted to a credit of $171.30 in December, and another credit of $122 for January. As of February, Darren is in credit with Amber by $302.42.
“To anyone who’s got an EV, or solar and a battery, I’d definitely say check these guys out. If Amber manages your battery, you’ll be better off. If Amber manages your battery and your car, you’ll be even better off. If they can change your tariff to one of these trial tariffs like the Ausgrid one I’m on, you can shoot for the stars. Talk to Amber because the old retailers are dinosaurs and need to move on. Change is needed and you're delivering that, and I 100% support it," says Darren.
When did you first install your solar and battery?
We put the solar at our place a little over a year ago. We ran it through winter last year and had a look at what the performance was like and the bill benefits. We didn’t feel it was good enough, so we went and got the battery.
The battery did what they do - pumped our solar into the battery during the solar period, then spread it out into the evening period. But the feed in tariff was really poor - about 7.5c/kWh.
Why did you decide to join Amber?
I saw the opportunity to charge and discharge my battery in line with wholesale pricing with you guys and have seen a step down in my costs from that.
When you suggested I join the Ausgrid two way tariff, that added on a $150 in credit a month, which is a huge opportunity.
What were your expectations/hopes when you joined Amber?
I was really hoping to improve my FiT. The gap of 15c a kilowatt hour between the price you buy and sell at on retail energy plans was really annoying me, and I hoped to do better than that.
I’m now expecting we’ll get to a net zero bill on energy over the year, so that overall we pay nothing for energy.
What would you say to others considering a battery and Amber?
The ROI analysis that a lot of people do is that a battery doesn’t work on its own but it certainly does on Amber and the revised Ausgrid tariff.
As long as that’s around there’s an incentive to do more with your renewable contribution - I’m even considering putting another battery on.
How often do you take control of your battery with Amber?
I haven’t really done it much. Broadly I think the algorithm in SmartShift is doing its job and charging and discharging when it should.
What would you say to a family member, friend or colleague who asked you about Amber?
To anyone who’s got an EV, or solar and a battery, I’d definitely say check these guys out. If Amber manages your battery, you’ll be better off. If Amber manages your battery and your car, you’ll be even better off. If they can change your tariff to one of these trial tariffs like the Ausgrid one I’m on, you can shoot for the stars. Talk to Amber because the old retailers are dinosaurs and need to move on. Change is needed and you're delivering that, and I 100% support it.