The Battle of Solar and the Grid

Posted by Sam Quennell on 05-Feb-2020 14:21:12

There’s no doubt Australia is playing its part in embracing renewable energy and contributing to the fight against climate change. After all, we as a country did commit to the Paris Agreement. What we didn’t plan for…was the grid being overloaded and network distributors placing export limitations on residential solar systems. Thus, the debate started as to whether it’s fair that two houses side-by-side don’t have the same benefits of solar purely because of the date of installation. The reality is electricity was never meant to move in two directions.

So, what are export limiters all about? It comes down to your distribution network (Ausgrid, Powercor, Ausnet, Energex etc) and how much solar (kWh) is being sent back to the grid. If you happen to live in an area where it is overloaded, you may receive a ‘reduced capacity’ as to how much you can export. We’re seeing it happen more often, as many distributors in Australia make it compulsory for a solar retailer to conduct a ‘network pre-approval’ before installation commences.

It’s kind of a double-edged sword. On one hand solar is and should always be encouraged, but on the other hand the grid isn’t coping as well as it should be. Thus, restrictions are beginning to be put in place. It’s not necessarily a big issue now, but it’s certainly something to think about for the future because the more kWh is being sent back to the grid, the more its going to be maxed out and the faster limitations will be implemented.

Our recommendation? Install solar as soon as possible and reduce the risk of your neighbourhood being restricted by your distributor for how big the solar system can be. At the end of the day, we want to be using as much of the solar system as we can throughout the day. But it does help (financially) being able to export excess production to the grid – during peak and off-peak times.

Topics: incentives, electricity retailer, grid connection, voltage, electricity price