Applying is now easier!
In May 2017, we raised the technical assessment thresholds for connection applications for solar photovoltaic (PV) and other micro embedded generating (EG) units.
We’ve now aligned the maximum total inverter capacities (kVA limits) for our Basic Connection Services to match the technical assessment thresholds (see table below).
This means many more connection applications will be eligible for a Basic Connection Service, and a quicker application process.
For applications for inverter capacity between the old and new kVA limits, e.g. >3.5 and up to 5 kVA export on a single phase on the main grid, you no longer need to sign and return a negotiated connection contract. Instead, you’ll receive an email, typically within three business days, confirming that a connection contract (the Model Standing Offer) has formed and you can arrange for the micro EG unit to be installed.
The Electrical Partners Portal will be updated in the New Year to allow expediting of all offers up to the current kVA limits.
kVA limits for our Basic Connection Services
Network type Number of phases Maximum total inverter capacity(kVA) Maximum permitted export (kVA)
Main grid Single phase 10 5
2-phase 20 10
3-phase 30 15
SWER Single phase 10 2
Split phase 20 2
Note: The maximum total inverter capacity and export capability must be spread evenly across all available phases.
For more information see Schedule 1 (pages 14-16) of the current Model Standing Offer for Basic Connection Services (Micro EG Units).
Clarification on 44c FiT rule changes
The Amendment Bill for the 44c Feed-in Tariff (FiT) is on hold due to the State election. Importantly, the Amendment Bill has not been withdrawn, so we are processing applications as we have been in line with the tabled Bill.
Fees apply to applications >30 kW
Connection applications for inverter capacities greater than 30 kW must undergo a technical assessment.
These assessments are done to provide you with the required specifications such as voltage rise and harmonics if your system will be exporting, and to ensure the installation complies with our technical standards and there will be no adverse impact on our network.
Fees apply and are based on the type of pre-connection services required, which is determined by the scale, network-related location, export settings and complexity of the proposed connection. The fees are quoted once an application is received.
For more complex projects that may require network augmentation to support the proposed generating system, additional assessments may be required and incur further costs.
For more about our pre-connection and connection services for embedded generating systems, see reference items 40, 42–44, 46– 48, 51– 52 and 55, as examples, in the Microsoft Excel version of the Australian Energy Regulator-approved Alternative Control Services price list.
Clarifying change to regional Feed-in Tariff limit
In Solar Industry Update No.34, we advised that the inverter capacity limit under the regional Feed-in Tariff (FiT) payable by relevant retailers had increased from 5 kW to 30 kW. Some installers mistakenly interpreted this to mean the regional FiT is now only available for inverters between 5 kW and 30 kW.
To clarify, the regional FiT is available for total inverter capacities up to 30 kW for qualifying customers.
Clarifying 'Single Stage'
When submitting a Form A (EWR) for Embedded Generation (Including Solar) 30 kVA or less in our Electrical Partners Portal, there is a requirement in the Metering and Load Details section to define the Vmax setting as either ‘Single-stage’ or ‘Two-stage’.
Since the full implementation of AS/NZS 4777.2:2015 on 10 October 2016, a ‘Two-stage’ setting is required on all new inverters and should always be selected on the Form A.
The only case where ‘Single-Stage’ should be selected is when the application is to ‘Replace current inverter (no increase in capacity)’ under warranty and that inverter only has a single-stage Vmax setting.
Applying for Tesla Powerwall 2
The Tesla Powerwall 2 has been re-rated to 5 kVA and you can now apply to add this combined inverter/battery to an inverter rated up to 5 kVA on a single-phase premises, so that the 10 kVA maximum installed capacity is not exceeded. Note, only the inverter on the PV system can be set to export, and only if that has been approved by us.
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About Solar Industry Update
This newsletter will keep you informed about what's happening in the solar industry and any changes to compliance, rulings and legislation.
Clean Energy Target dumped by Coalition in favour of Malcolm Turnbull's new plan, a National Energy Guarantee
A meeting of the Coalition party room has agreed to ditch the Clean Energy Target (CET).
MPs today signed off on a new plan that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull argues will make power bills cheaper and more reliable while still cutting carbon emissions.
That plan replaces the CET with a National Energy Guarantee (NEG), which requires retailers to use a percentage of electricity from so-called dispatchable sources such as coal and gas, batteries or pumped hydro.
That would ensure they meet their obligation to deliver reliable power.
The decision came after the Cabinet last night agreed to dump the CET recommended by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel.
The CET would have seen electricity companies forced to provide a set percentage of their power from low-emissions technology such as renewables and efficient gas.
The increased costs of sourcing energy from these types of providers would have been passed on to consumers.
The new scheme does not provide subsidies for renewable energy, but does include an energy intensity calculation.
What is the NEG?
Malcolm Turnbull unveils his shiny new energy policy, complete with its own three-letter acronym. Here's what it all means.This calculation would mean retailers will have to buy power that is efficient enough to ensure Australia is on track to meet its Paris target.
Compliance rules for companies that fall short of their obligations have not yet been set, but it is likely they would be able to make up a shortfall the following year.
The head of the Government's Energy Security Board, Kerry Schott, explained how this would help in terms of reducing emissions.
"The obligation to have a reliable power system is now intimately linked with an emissions reduction target," Dr Schott said.
"And if you don't have those two things linked together, you have a danger of an increase in intermittent renewables without having a reliable and dispatchable power to go with it.
"And it's very important that you always have dispatchable power where you have intermittent resources."
We asked if you thought NEG could reduce power prices while also cutting carbon emissions. Read the comments below.
Questions over how much NEG would save consumersIn a video shared to the Prime Minister's public Facebook page, he pitched it as a plan that would deliver "cheaper, more reliable electricity for Australian families and businesses".
Unveiling the new policy alongside Mr Turnbull, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said: "This is a credible, pro-market policy that delivers lower electricity prices. It means no subsidies, no taxes, no trading systems."
The Government said its Energy Security Board estimated a typical household could save between $110 and $115 on average each year for a decade from 2020.
The average figure over a decade leaves open the possibility it would be much lower in the early years.
PHOTO: A National Energy Guarantee is central to Malcolm Turnbull's new policy. (ABC News: Matt Roberts)
Dr Finkel called today's plan "a credible mechanism" and said he was optimistic that power bills would go down as a result.
While the Government has not adopted his exact recommendation of a Clean Energy Target, he said there were multiple ways to achieve the same outcome.
"What we are looking at is logical," he said.
He told reporters that the exact implementation had changed, but not the intent.
Look back at the reaction to the Coalition's announcement in our live politics blog
Abbott claims win after CET dumpedDuring this morning's party room meeting to discuss the new energy plan, 30 members of the Coalition spoke, including two who expressed opposition to the policy.
What is 'base load power'?
Base load power is a term we're hearing a lot in discussions about our energy future. But what does it mean, and is it really relevant?
One backbencher was pleased about the CET being dropped, but still had concerns about prices. They called for the Government to build its own coal-fired power station.
The other, a Nationals MP, expressed concern about the plan maintaining the Paris emissions reduction commitments.
Coalition backbenchers including Mr Abbott and Craig Kelly had been publicly critical of the CET before this morning's meeting.
A party room source told the ABC that Mr Abbott pushed for a "political debate" after the "policy debate", but was met with silence.
The former PM took to Twitter shortly after the meeting to claim "progress" in the energy debate.
Tony Abbott ✔@TonyAbbottMHRProgress at today's party room. The Clean Energy Target has been definitively dropped.
11:13 AM - Oct 17, 2017
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States weigh in on new planThe new plan would need the support of states and territories before it could come into effect.
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill denounced the plan as a "complete victory for the coal industry".
Mr Weatherill accused the Prime Minister of being unable to act in the public interest.
The Premier said it was a capitulation to former prime minister Mr Abbott, who supports a new coal-fired power station being built.
He said he expected the Federal Government would set the new mechanism at a level that would be too low to be effective and would ensure the only benefit would go to existing coal-fired power stations.
Queensland's Energy Minister Mark Bailey demanded the Federal Government explain how this plan would affect his State Government's renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030.
"Queensland remains committed to our 50 per cent renewable target," Mr Bailey said.
Meanwhile, John Grimes from the Australian Solar Council is threatening to run a multi-million-dollar campaign against the Turnbull Government over the plan.
"I will go back and talk to our industry but I think you will find there may well be an appetite to run a very pointed political campaign against this disastrous policy that finishes the job that Tony Abbott set out to achieve," Mr Grimes said.
He said ending the subsidies for renewables could cost more than 10,000 jobs in the sector.
Topics: electricity-energy-and-utilities, environment, energy, alternative-energy, government-and-politics, australia