1st April saw the start of the ground breaking Sunshine Tariff in Wadebridge, North Cornwall. Customers pay a very low rate of 5p per unit of electricity between 10am and 4pm every day until 30th September 2016 for signed up customers, with a higher rate (18p) at other times of the day.

The Sunshine Tariff is a trial to see how much customers can shift their electricity usage into the cheap daytime period and save money – the more they shift, the more they save. To measure electricity usage accurately, new smart meters were installed at participating properties during March.

The project is looking for a second wave of volunteer participants in Wadebridge to sign up for the Sunshine Tariff. Jerry Clark, WREN project manager, said: “We can continue to take people on up to 15th April, and their 5p tariff will start as soon as the smart meters can be installed.”

The Sunshine Tariff trial is a collaboration of community energy group Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN), local network operator Western Power Distribution, innovative electricity supplier Tempus Energy and sustainable energy champions Regen SW. It is unique in Great Britain in offering cheap electricity at fixed times every day, when solar power drives down electricity wholesale costs.

WREN Chair, Professor Stephen Frankel, said: "The Sunshine Tariff is an innovative project designed to explore the potential of renewables and smart energy in bringing down the cost of electricity to consumers, offering a daytime rate in summer of only 5p per unit. On the basis of customers who have signed up so far, we have found estimated savings on average of around 20% are possible.”

Funding for the project comes from the Network Innovation Allowance, administered by Western Power Distribution, which has seen the amount of renewable electricity generated in the Southwest increase hugely in the last few years. By matching demand and generation locally, the network can be utilised more efficiently and potentially allow the connection of more generation. Through the Sunshine Tariff, benefits of this are passed to consumers. While this particular project is restricted to Wadebridge, the benefits and what is learned can be applied throughout the country.

To get involved and sign up for the Sunshine Tariff, visit: www.wren.uk.com/sunshine