Your battery installer will generally take care of this process for you. They should follow connection instructions provided by the manufacturer and your electricity distributor's (eg. Ergon Energy Network) connection requirements.
Before installing your system, they must submit an application with your electricity distributor to advise the intent to connect your battery storage system to the network.
Export or non-export system
When thinking about installing a battery storage system, you'll need to decide whether you would like to export electricity into the grid or not. There is a different connection process depending on what you decide.
If you do not intend to export electricity back into the grid
As you do not intend to export electricity to the grid from your battery storage system, the application and connection process is quite simple and does not require a technical assessment
If you originally go with a 'non-export' system and would like to be able to export electricity in the future, you will need to submit a new network connection application with your electricity distributor.
If you want to export electricity back into the grid
If you have more power than you need, you may wish to have your battery storage system export electricity back to the grid
Some battery storage systems are designed to allow this while others are not
There is a different connection agreement required for an 'export' system
Your electricity retailer may be prepared to pay you their own solar feed-in-tariff, but this will be through a separate negotiation process between yourself and the electricity retailer.
Options for charging your battery storage system
From the grid
You may decide to charge your battery storage system from the electricity grid. This may be a good option if you would like to take advantage of low-cost, time of use and economy tariffs to charge your batteries. You can then use the stored power during peak times.
Talk to your electricity retailer about the most suitable tariff to connect your battery storage system to. Time of use and economy tariffs charge less for electricity used to charge your battery, but are not available 24 hours a day.
With solar power
If you are considering charging your battery storage system with solar power, setting your connection up so you can also charge your battery off the grid will give you a safety net when there is extended overcast weather. You may be able to prioritise your battery storage system so that it charges first from solar and then from the grid, or from solar only
If you decide to connect your battery storage system to your solar PV system, you may require some rewiring of your switchboard and potentially some additional 'smarts' to support your battery storage system. Your battery installer will be able to assess your specific circumstances and provide advice.
It will be necessary to submit a new network connection application to your electricity distributor prior to this occurring.
This is a new area. There are some relevant Australian standards and areas where standards are still developing. We will update this information as new battery storage system connection standards become available.
Standards differ for off-grid and grid-connected battery storage system connections:
Off-grid battery storage systems: must meet Australian Standard AS4509 Stand-alone power systems
Grid-connected battery storage systems: must meet the Australian Standard AS4777 Grid Connections of Energy Systems via Inverters. These rules are the same for solar PV inverter connections.