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Solar Buyback FAQs

Indexed Solar Buyback FAQs

Champion Energy is proud to offer competitively priced electricity plans. All of our residential electricity plans include solar buyback so you can choose the electricity plan that best meets your household needs, and still earn solar buyback credits. Our solar buyback allows you to earn credits each month for the surplus generation your panels create that is returned to the grid. You earn at the current wholesale price, as determined by ERCOT. Wholesale pricing fluctuates depending on the time of day, seasonally with demand, and based on your load zone. It is possible you may earn at a rate higher than your energy rate for consumption, but it is not guaranteed. Please read the below frequently asked questions for more details.

Do I have to sign up for a specific plan to participate in the solar buyback program?

  • No, you do not have to sign up for a specific plan.
  • Solar buyback can be added to all residential plans, except for Free Nights.
  • If you have residential service from Champion and are not on a Free Nights plan, then Solar Buyback can be added today without changing your current price (you’ll just start seeing a credit on your bills).

Will my buyback price be the same as the price I pay for consumption?

  • No, there is a different price structure for the power you put on the grid.
  • Your consumption (the power you take from the grid) will be charged based on your regular contract price. Since Solar Buyback can be added to any plan excluding Free Nights, you have access to low competitive prices for your consumption.
  • The power you put on the grid (surplus generation) will be credited at whatever the wholesale price is for your zone during the moment the power is put on the grid.
  • Wholesale prices vary based on zone and they fluctuate every 15 minutes. That means the wholesale price you are credited for on Tuesday at 3PM may not be the same as the wholesale price you are credited for an hour later. Similarly, the wholesale prices you are credited for may not be the same as the wholesale prices someone else in a different zone is credited for at the same time.
  • Because you are potentially being credited at numerous price points throughout the billing period, your buyback price will be displayed on your bill as a single price point, which is the average of all the price points applied during the billing period.

How is the wholesale price determined, and where can I see it?

  • The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) determines the wholesale prices for each load zone.
  • You can view wholesale price information here: http://www.ercot.com/content/cdr/html/real_time_spp
  • When viewing details from ERCOT, please refer to the column headings starting with LZ which stands for Load Zone.
  • To help identify your load zone, please reference this ERCOT map: https://www.ercot.com/files/docs/2021/06/01/Load-Zone-Map_2021.jpg?
  • Please note the wholesale prices indicated on ERCOT are per megawatt hour (MWh), rather that kilowatt hour (kWh). To determine the price by kWh, just divide the price indicated by 1,000

What can I expect to see as a credit for my surplus solar generation each month?

  • Wholesale prices change a lot. The amount of the buyback credits vary based on the time the power is returned to the grid, the wholesale price for power, and by load zone.
  • For most months, customers will see effective prices range from $0.01 and $0.10 per kWh. The price range tends to be lower in the winter and higher in the summer. To see the historical solar buyback rates paid to customers, please view our solar buyback history page.

Why is the buyback price different from the price I pay for consumption?

  • The consumption price has to cover many costs, especially associated with reliability and transmission, which are in addition to the direct cost of power.
  • Timing and risk management also play a significant role. When you sign up for service Champion purchases power for your home for the contracted time period. The price you sign up for is indicative of the forward market price for your forecasted load.
  • If Champion were to buyback at the same price as we charge for consumption, we would have to raise prices for both, ultimately resulting in high total bills for most solar customers.

Will I get paid for all of the power my panels produce?

  • Not directly, no. Power generated by solar panels goes first into your home, reducing the power you are consuming from the grid.
  • The portion consumed by your home reduces the energy you take from the grid, lowering your bill.
  • If your panels are generating more power than your home is consuming at any point, the surplus generation goes back out through your meter onto the grid.
  • The portion of your generation exceeding the amount consumed by your home results in a solar buyback credit on your bill.

What happens if my buyback credit is higher than the charges for consumption in a billing period?

  • Solar buyback credits can be carried over from any bill to be applied against future charges.
  • Any remaining credits that have not been used to offset other charges when your account closes will be forfeited (no cash payment will be made).

How will I know that a buyback credit has been applied to my bill?

  • You will see a line item on your bill under Champion Energy Charges that is labeled Solar Buyback.
  • The “Solar Buyback” line item will contain the quantity of kWh that you put back onto the grid, the average real-time wholesale rate across the time periods when you were generating, and the total credit amount that was applied to your bill.
  • Remember, because you may be credited at numerous price points throughout the billing period, your buyback price displayed on your bill is a single price point, which is the average of all the price points applied during the billing period.

Will I be able to track my solar panels and see production on the weekly Smart Track reports?

  • A solar dashboard is in development to show charts for consumption and generation separately, along with weather influencing factors such as daylight hours and temperatures. Usage history in the customer portal and on the weekly Smart Track reports no longer show generation.
  • Bill projections shown in the portal and on weekly reports do not include solar buyback. It is only calculating what your cost is for consumption before solar buyback credits are applied.

Why can’t I find the solar buyback details on my EFL and other contract documents?

  • The EFL is specific to your electricity plan and the energy rate you pay for consumption. Champion Energy does not offer a specific solar buyback plan, rather each of our electricity plans include solar buyback credits.
  • To see the details about the solar buyback offering, please view our solar addendum page.