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Partial export option to boost solar PV uptake

Published: 13 Dec 2016 9:38am

Ergon Energy customers can for the first time apply to connect solar PV systems with partial export capability to the electricity grid.

Ergon Chief Operating Officer Roslyn Baker said this would allow many applications to be fast-tracked with customers able to connect a system with the capacity they want and access a feed-in tariff.

Ms Baker said updated standards provide more options for residents and businesses wanting to install a solar PV system, rather than requiring them to be set up to either export up to the full capacity of their inverter or to not export to the grid.

“This new option for partial export is likely to benefit many customers, particularly those on sections of the network where there is already a high penetration of solar PV systems,” she said.

“For example, a solar PV system with panels on the roof capable of producing up to 5 kW and with a 5 kVA inverter can now be set to export up to 3.5 kVA.

“Up to this 3.5 kVA level, applications for premises connected to the main grid will not be subject to a full technical assessment.

“And even though the export capability is limited, this will typically have little to no impact on the amount of electricity the system exports to the grid.

“This is because most households and especially businesses will consume some or most of the electricity the solar PV panels produce, so the system is unlikely to be able to export more anyway.

“While this will vary depending on individual circumstances, households and businesses installing new solar PV systems benefit more from using the power produced by their systems than by exporting to the grid.

“So, in most cases, choosing to limit export capacity to 3.5 kVA on inverters up to 5 kVA will have little effect on the amount earned from exporting to the grid compared with a system with full export capability.”

Ms Baker noted that eligibility for the solar PV regional feed-in tariff continued to be based on the capacity of the inverter and customers with an ineligible inverter could not become eligible for the tariff by limiting its export capability.

Ms Baker said more than 120,000 solar PV systems were connected to Ergon’s network in regional and rural parts of the state, including about a quarter of the detached homes.

“This initiative will encourage and assist even more homes and small businesses to adopt renewable energy,” she said.

Media Contact: Rod Rehbein
Phone: 4153 9813 or 0407 031 072

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