By Ellen Morgan and John Pedler
Published: Monday, November 23, 2020
While there’s been a lot of discussion in the media lately about the new Smarter Homes Regulations, you can rest assured they’re not designed to interrupt your precious solar power.
When the regulations were released in late September this year, many South Australians were concerned the government could switch off their home solar power at any given time, leaving them with no power.
However, that’s not the case – they can merely switch off your export solar to the grid. The initiative is designed to minimise the potential for blackouts in peak periods when excess solar might overload the system.
South Australia has one of the highest levels of home solar in the world, meaning excess solar to the system can be experienced on occasion. But this doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll affect your hip pocket.
To help you understand the ins and outs of the initiative and how it might affect your solar system, we’ve answered some FAQs to get you up-to-speed.
If I’m about to get solar, how will the regulations affect me?
The regulations mean that all new solar systems must be able to be controlled remotely by a relevant agent. These agents are registered with the government’s Office of the Technical Regulator.
When purchasing solar through RAA, we can help you connect with an agent during the installation process, so you don’t have to think about it later on.
When can an agent switch my solar off?
The only time an agent will prevent your solar from entering the state’s electricity network is if the network is likely to be overloaded due to excess solar power.
While solar to your own home won’t be interrupted, they’ll stop solar going back to the grid as exported electricity. That being said, an event such as this would be rare.
What if I already have solar?
Regulations apply to all new systems, but if your existing system requires a new or replacement part, it must meet new standards. This doesn’t apply to parts replaced under warranty though.
If you’ve got solar through RAA, you’re looking to get an upgrade, or you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Will my feed-in tariff change?
The cents per kilowatt-hour you receive back from your energy provider will remain the same. The only time the overall cost of your solar will be affected is if the export of your excess solar power to the network is interrupted.
If the export of your surplus solar power back to the network is temporarily disconnected, you will not receive the feed-in tariff for the time the export is interrupted.
While it’s difficult to estimate the cost of this exactly, these interruptions will be very rare and may only be for an hour or two.
Is anything being done to increase the network capacity?
Yes, South Australian Power Networks (SAPN) is constantly working to improve the capacity of the network.
With solar power increasing in popularity, SAPN is hoping to increase the amount of power solar systems can export back into the network.
What if my system has a battery?
Any excess power stored in your battery can still be used, even if your agent has prevented your solar from being sent to the network. You’ll still be able to access power from the grid if you need it.