Who will give me advice about how to use my energy better in my home or business?

Starling Energy Group will assist you with education about how to use your energy more effectively. You will also be able to monitor your own energy use on the Redback System Portal App.

Who organises approvals from Western Power and Synergy?

Starling Energy Group will arrange all approvals for installations.

Who will be installing the systems?

Local installers have been trained on how to install the Redback System by the Starling Energy Group management team.

When will installations begin?

Installations will begin in March 2019, which our operations and management team will be coordinating with participants. You will be contacted by them to arrange installation.

Has this project received professional legal advice?

Yes. SUSI uses International law firm Ashurt for their contractual arrangements with both Plico Energy and Starling Energy Group.

Plico Energy uses law firm Jackson MacDonald regarding the contract document and overall company structure. We have spent a great deal of time and effort to ensure Plico Energy has expertise and advice that will enable success for many years to come.

Can I buy out the system under this contract?

Yes. The buy out clauses will be detailed in the contract document.

Can I exit the contract?

Yes . This process will be detailed as part of the Contract Terms and Conditions.

I’m building a house and it won’t be finished until after December 2019. What happens?

While SUSI has not put a cap on their financial contribution, but we all do have a set time in which to sign on. We need to have people signed on and installations finished by 31 December 2019.

Unfortunately, this may affect some people. SUSI have a definitive 10-year period with Plico Energy that begins 2019 and ends 2029. We can assist as many households and businesses who want to join, and SUSI will finance all of them.

However, to provide SUSI with a clean exit in 2029, all households and businesses need to be signed on by the end of 2019.

What will happen if I stop paying the $36.50 per week?

Firstly, please contact us if you’d like to discuss your options. The contract document clearly details the procedure that will be taken to manage non-payment.

If there is not a significant life event and you have simply decided to stop paying, Starling Energy Group can virtually disable your inverter from providing you with renewable energy. The inverter and battery will also be removed from the house.

I’ve lost my job and I’m having trouble paying my bills. What can I do?

As part of our company values of community first, we have set up a Utilities Support Fund to help participants in financial hardship.

Payments are paid to help prevent delinquency on the contract agreement. Once you are back on your feet, you will be required to pay the total amount paid back to the Utilities Support Fund so other participants can use it when needed.

You should contact your community energy team as soon as you know you will have difficulty making payments.

I’m renting, can I sign up?

Absolutely. You will need to discuss with your landlord for their permission to have the system installed.

The home owner will need to have their name on the contract, as they will need to continue to make weekly payments if you decide to move out. The home owner can simply increase your rent by $36.50 per week.

What happens if I sell my house or business?

We would encourage the payment of the system will be included in the total selling price, so the new owners can take over the remainder of the contract agreement. Otherwise the system can be bought out at the point of selling your home.

If you’re looking at setting up Plico Energy at your new home or business premises, please contact us to discuss your options.

Will I save money on my energy bill? If so, how much?

The amount of money you can save is dependent upon your energy use. You can use this calculator to see what kind of energy user you are: low, medium or high.

Plus, you’ll have access to the Redback System portal app, which will allow you to review and adjust your energy use in real-time rather than waiting for a bill at the end of a certain period.

But, Plico Energy is more than just saving people money. It’s about empowering communities to take control of their energy use, ending our reliance on coal and creating a better sustainable future.

Will I get two bills or one?

You will receive two bills:

  • A weekly direct debit to Plico Energy
  • A Synergy supply bill, which you will receive via post or email (whatever your account preference states)

Do I still receive bills from Synergy or Western Power?

As a South West resident you will still pay for supply charges from Synergy, approximately $1 per day. If you are a household exporting excess energy to the grid as part of Synergy’s Renewable Energy Buyback System (REBS), Synergy will often take the amount owed to you off your supply charges. Unfortunately, businesses cannot participate in the REBS scheme.

Do I remain connected to the electrical grid?

Yes, as this enables us to provide the services to the grid as a Virtual Power Plant.

When do you start paying $36.50 per week?

You begin your direct debit payments once the Redback System has been installed to your home or business.

All registrations require $292 up-front fee, two months advance payment, which is required at the time of signing the Plico Energy contract.  If for any reason your installation does not eventuate, your $292 will be refunded in whole.

This is not an additional cost and it is not a bond; it is simply to ensure future payments do not fall behind.

Do I need to clean the solar panels?

Usually a heavy rain will clean your panels, however if we identify your system is having issues we might suggest a quick clean.

With everybody having the same system, it’s easy for us to pinpoint if any households or businesses are under performing and act quickly to rectify.

Shadows can affect your panel efficiency, but we can help you manage this. Tree shading can be managed by regular pruning of trees around the house.

How can I see how much energy I’m producing?

The Redback System is linked up to a portal app, which you can access from your desktop computer or smart device.

The app provides information on your energy use in your home via easy-to-read graphs and data. This enables you to educate yourself on what is happening in your home and adjust your behavior or appliances in real time to save money and energy.

Is the system rated for extreme conditions?

The solar panels we use have a cyclone rating, work well in hot conditions and the Redback Inverter is weather rated for outside use. These systems are used in northern WA in regions that are subject to severe weather patterns.

Can the inverter be installed on the outside of my house?

Definitely. The system is weather rated for outside use, however we do recommend that you install it in a garage or under a protected eave to limit any damage to ensure longevity.

Can I get all black panels?

You can get all black panels, they are slightly more expensive than the ones we use but because they look so good, we are hoping to get a good deal on bulk buying the black panels.

If I already have solar can I still sign up to Plico Energy?

Absolutely. Solar energy is a great way to harness the energy of the sun to power your home. However, peak times are generally before and after the sun is at it’s power-producing best, which is why battery storage is so beneficial.

To ensure you were getting the most out of the Redback Battery System, we would review your current panels and replace any old panels that aren’t performing to their peak. If your current panels are performing well and reach 6.6kw, we can add extra battery storage for no additional cost to make the situation fair.

Western Power has told me that I can’t have more solar on my roof. What can I do?

Western Power have some limitations on solar export if the roof area is constrained in any way. However the Redback Inverter and Battery solution can overcome a lot of these problems.

It will be Redback Energy’s job to discuss this with Western Power and assist with approvals for your home.

How many solar panels is 6.6kw?

It is between 22 and 24 panels on your roof.

Who developed the Redback System?

The Redback Inverter is owned, designed and developed in Australia.

The technology was developed out of the University of Queensland by Redback Technologies’ engineers, while their staff in China oversee the production line.

This is the same production model that worldwide tech phenomena Apple undertakes, where Redback Technology manages its own supply chain on the components of the inverter, as well as their own Quality Assurance and Quality control.

What happens to the profits made by the Virtual Power Plant?

When profits come back to Plico Energy, the community – through their local Project Committee – will decide how they will use these additional funds. This is called the Community Fund.

What happens to the solar energy I produce?

Plico Energy is about empowering you to produce and use your own energy.

The goal is to consume as much of your own renewable energy as possible, ending your reliance on coal-powered energy. And there are so many benefits of switching to greener energy:

  • Less pressure on the grid, making it more reliable and blackouts less likely
  • Better reliability during peak energy times (5am-9am, 5pm-10pm)
  • Any excess energy can be sold back to Synergy as part of the Renewable Energy Buyback System (REBS) – that’s more money in your pocket!

If you are a household, you are permitted to export excess energy back into the grid, of which Synergy will pay you 7c per kwh. Unfortunately, businesses are unable to participate in the REBS scheme.

Will Plico Energy become a retailer in the future?

It isn’t possible for us to become a retailer due to current WA regulations; however, this is not our main goal for Plico Energy anyway.

Our main priority is to provide households and businesses access to up to 90% renewable energy. Secondly, we want to offer a valuable infrastructure service to the current electrical grid.

These two objectives are far more important for us to assist in the transition to a more renewable future. As community members ourselves, we’re passionate about always being on the community’s side. Should retail contestability become a viable option, it’s our ambition to act as a buyer’s advocate and negotiate with all retailers to get the best deal for your energy.

What do I get as a Plico member?

Each standard installation* includes:

  • 5.5KVA Redback Inverter System
  • 6.6kW Suntech 300w Solar PV (Photovoltaics) Panels
  • 7.2 kW Pylontech (LiFePo4) Battery

As part of your package, you will also receive:

  • Equipment installation
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Upgrades (as required)
  • Operation Centre monitoring and advice
  • Ongoing education on energy use
  • Access to the Redback Energy Portal (desktop and smart device)
  • Contribution towards Community Fund Projects

Who is Starling Energy Group?

Starling Energy Group is responsible for managing the Virtual Power Plants, operations management, installations, engineering, procurement and construction.

Read more…

Who is SUSI?

SUSI Partners is a Swiss infrastructure fund manager specialising in sustainable investments supporting the energy transition.

Read more…

Can I purchase a Redback Inverter system up front, but still be part of the Virtual Power Plant?

Absolutely. The entire system, including Redback Inverter System, Suntech 300w Solar PV (Photovoltaics) Panels and Pylontech (LiFePo4) Battery, costs approximately $12,000 up front.

After that, if you would like to continue to benefit from the Plico movement, you will be charged $10 per week. Those benefits include:

  • Maintenance & system repairs
  • On-going education sessions
  • Replacement parts (Inverters, control system and batteries)
  • Access to an Operations Service Centre
  • Contibutions towards Community Fund projects

What are the benefits of a Virtual Power Plant versus doing it by yourself?

There’s power in numbers! We know one person has little chance to change the future of energy, but a large movement has a far better chance.

Being a large community energy movement allows us to negotiate with utility authorities and Government regulators as one body.

Psychologically and literally, we have more power together. The more Plico people, the more renewable our grid becomes.

What is a Virtual Power Plant? 

A Virtual Power Plant (VPP) is a network of solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery systems working together to generate and store energy. This allows participating households and businesses to achieve 90% renewable energy consumption and end reliance on the traditional grid.

The systems are connected by advanced aggregation and control software that was developed by Australian engineers.

With 1,000-plus households and businesses involved in the movement, the VPP can provide 6.5MW of solar at peak, 7.6GWH of energy per year and displace 7KT of carbon emissions (CO2-e) every year.

However, the real value of a VPP is about supporting regional infrastructure reliability, voltage issues and reducing energy peaks.

Read more…

How can I get involved?

We’re currently recruiting households and businesses throughout the South West region to the Plico Movement. Depending on numbers, we expect systems to roll out across 2019 and 2020.

Once you have joined the movement, our Plico people will be in contact with the next steps – including signing the Contract Agreement.

Is there any risk of bankrupcy?

As opposed to other projects with varying levels of debt finance, Plico Energy is based on Equity Funding from our investor SUSI. Therefore, it is unlikely that our movement will run into difficulty.

This is because Equity Funding is paid in dividends, and can only be paid in any year by CEPCO when sufficient funds are available.

Plico Energy will continue to be reviewed by a Board of Directors and subject to normal Australian accounting and governance principles. As a result, we have established an accountable and transparent structure with clear responsibilities to the consumer as well as our Investor.

Who makes up Plico Energy?

We are a professional team made up of experts from the energy, building and construction, finance, accounting and governance, legal and resource sectors. All members from Plico Energy, SUSI and Starling Energy Group have years of experience in the energy industry.

Our financial investors, SUSI Partners, is a Swiss infrastructure fund manager specialising in sustainable investments supporting the energy transition. They have invested into extensive legal, commercial and technical Due Diligence in order to make this investment.

Our legal documents have also been created by a well-respected law firm, Jackson Macdonald, in Perth.

Do you have a maximum sign-up number?

In short, no. There is no physical cap with both SUSI and Starling Energy Group providing a strong financial structure to ensure the movement is very scalable and not dependent on local subsidies or conditions.

However, there is a set time frame to sign up to the Plico movement with the Virtual Power Plant system commencing towards the end of 2019.

I don’t live in Dunsborough or Yallingup, can I still sign up?

Yes, we are now accepting households and businesses from Bunbury through to Augusta.

If you’re based elsewhere in the South West region, please give us a call to discuss how we can help your town as we look to push the movement across both WA and Australia.