Solar Pre-approval Requirement – Customers

At CitiPower and Powercor we support the uptake of solar generation that can be interconnected with our network. If you’re thinking of putting solar on the roof of your home or business, make sure you get a solar pre-approval and follow these simple steps to make sure you get the most out of your investment. o Understand how much solar makes sense for your needs AND how much export the network can support in your location. o Make sure your solar installer has quoted on getting you a smart meter and that the settings comply with Victorian Standards. o Make sure your solar is registered through AEMO to get ensure you can export and receive your Feed In Tariff (FIT). o Get an accredited Clean Energy Council certified installer. o After you’ve installed, check your retail plan with Victorian Energy Compare to make sure you’re getting the best rate and FIT.

The number of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems continues to increase with a trend toward larger capacity (kW) installations. Concentrations of solar PV systems connected to the network  can lead to power quality issues if it isn’t managed properly.

In some instances, parts of the network may not support new solar connection exports as we can’t ensure that the network will operate reliably for all consumers if additional feed in occurs.

The best way to make sure that you can maximise your investment and ensure that power quality in your area is maintained  make sure that you or your installer gets a pre-approval before the system is either installed or upgraded.

CitiPower and Powercor Pre-approval Requirement

The solar pre-approval assessment takes into account:

  • The customer’s proposed inverter capacity (kW) regardless of the number of solar panels or wiring of the premises.
  • The total capacity of all embedded generators (including solar PV systems) connected to a transformer, which is generally limited to a proportion of the transformer capacity.
  • The distance between the premises and the transformer. Significant distance could cause voltage fluctuations outside the statutory range.

Requirements for Solar Inverters

The maximum inverter system capacity (kW) permitted to be connected is determined by the transformer capacity the premises  is connected to.

As a general guide customers can expect the following limits to apply:

General GuideInverter system capacity (kW) per premises, subject to available transformer capacity
Single PhaseUp to 5 kW. For single-phase transformers, the maximum inverter which can be connected is 5kW. Depending on the transformer size and existing inverter connections an inverter smaller than 5kW may be required.
Three PhaseUp to 10 kW per phase. Inverter systems need to be balanced across phases. For single phase connections to three phase transformers, the maximum inverter which can be connected is 5 kW. For three phase transformers, assessment of larger inverter systems can be undertaken; fees may apply.

To apply for pre-approval for systems up to 5 kW single phase and up to 30 kW three phase please visit eConnect.

Note:

  • The applicant applying for pre-approval can either be the installer, product seller, electrician or the customer.
  • Pre-approval expires after 90 days. For solar PV systems less than 30 kW there is no fee for pre-approval

Pre-approval Assessment Results

There are 3 result types that can be returned and outlined below are your options for each result.

1. Approved as Applied For

A)  Proceed with the connection.

  • REC submits the Application for Small Inverter Connection in eConnect accompanied with the Certificate of Electrical Safety (CES) and Solar Pre-approval request.
  • CitiPower Powercor contact the Customer’s electricity Retailer to obtain a service order to fulfill their request.
  • Customer’s Retailer submits a service order request to CitiPower Powercor.
  • CitiPower Powercor arranges for PV capable (smart) metering to be installed or reconfigured and a compliance check.

Note: Pre-approval expires after 90 days.

B)  Applicant decides not to proceed any further.

2. Approved Reduced Capacity

A)  Connect an inverter with the approved reduced capacity.

  • Applicant submits the forms as described in ‘Approved As Applied For’ column.


Note: Pre-approval expires after 90 days

B)  Request a technical assessment as described in ‘Further Assessment Required’ column.

C)  Applicant decides not to proceed any further.

3. Further Assessment Required

A)  Request a Technical Assessment. This may result in a different outcome to the initial assessment.

  • Applicant receives the Technical Assessment request form with the pre-approval outcome.
  • Applicant submits the following documentation to the CitiPower / Powercor:
    • Completed Technical Assessment request form
    • A copy of the Solar Pre-Approval Request form.
  • CitiPower / Powercor complete a technical assessment to determine what changes, if any, would be required to the network to connect the requested solar installation.
  • If network augmentation is required and the customer wishes to proceed, the augmentation charged for the application.

Note:

  1. Larger inverter systems require more detailed assessment and are more likely to require network augmentation and financial contribution from the applicant.
  2. Augmentation costs and lead times vary depending on the level of work involved.

B)  Applicant decides not to proceed any further.

It is recommended that no commitment be made to install a solar PV system until pre-approval is received from CitiPower and Powercor.

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