Rooftop solar

We’re seeing huge growth in the number of customers in our network installing rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

It’s a popular way of taking control of energy reliability and costs in your home and there are great incentives available through the Victoria Solar Homes Program.

On the days when you generate more solar electricity than you need for your home, then you may be able to export this excess power back to our network and receive money in the form of a feed-in tariff shown on your electricity bill.

Our networks take electricity to and from your home. This means we need to balance the amount of power flowing from large-scale generators as well as private solar PV systems, in order to keep the electricity supplies reliable. In many areas, our network is limited in the amount of solar PV exports it can absorb. It doesn’t stop anyone from installing a solar PV system but it can affect the amount of exports available.

We encourage you to check with us early in the decision-making process to make sure you can do everything you want to make your investment stack up.

To help you on your journey

We are members of the Clean Energy Council which is a not-for-profit organisation that represents and works with Australia’s leading renewable energy and energy storage businesses as well as rooftop solar installers to further develop clean energy in Australia.

They have a  range of information available for consumers  about buying solar including useful guides and tools to finding a solar retailer or installer in your area.

Other useful information is available through:

Your steps to solar success

1. Check before you connect

Your installer will lodge a solar pre-approval application with us through our  eConnect portal.

We aim to enable most customers to export the amount of excess solar they are looking for. But sometimes, this is not possible depending on the capacity of the network in your neighbourhood. It doesn’t stop you from installing solar for your own self-consumption. But it might make a difference to the size of the system you contract.

Please make sure your installer provides us with your contact details on the application form too. That way we can keep you both informed of the outcome of the assessment

2. Choose an accredited installer

Installers and retailers of solar are accredited by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) to bring about better standard of service within the solar and storage industry.

3. Make sure you have the right inverter with the right settings

This is something you need to make sure your installer does. A smart inverter is one of the essential features of your rooftop solar system. It is the device that converts your solar energy into power you can use in the home. It also links with our electricity network and is a safety device. For example, the inverter will automatically switch off your solar system (or ‘trip’ the system) if something goes wrong.

A correct installation is one where:

  1. The voltage and power quality settings are fixed to – Australia A.
  2. Exports have been capped to the export limit agreed through the pre-approval application process conducted online
  3. The inverter is internet enabled to ensure remote access is available.
  4. The inverter is on the Clean Energy Council’s list of compliant inverters

These are all things your solar installer should do. If your installer is not sure on the three steps above, then they can find out more here.

If you’ve applied for a Solar Homes Program grant, then you need to know that having an approved inverter that meets our network requirements is a compulsory condition of getting the rebate.

4. Review your contract

Your installer will submit a contract with us on your behalf letting us know your system is installed and has the right smart inverter settings working.  This contract is called the Model Standing Offer and essentially registers your solar connection with us.  If we don’t know it’s connected, then you won’t be able to receive the feed-in tariffs you may be expecting and we won’t be able to tell if there are issues with your connection.

5. Maintain your solar panels

Once your system is installed, there are two main things you’ll need to do each year to maintain your solar panels and make sure they are working efficiently.

  • Keep them clean.  Any build-up of dirt and grime should be removed.
  • Follow the regular maintenance schedule that your installer will provide to make sure everything is operating correctly and safely.

Solar tariff information

A solar feed-in tariff is a rate paid to customers who put electricity back into the grid. Households and small businesses that generate electricity using solar panels, wind turbines, or other small-scale generators, can feed back any unused electricity into the electricity grid for other customers to use. In exchange, the customer receives a small rebate on their bill for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) they export.

There are a number of different solar tariffs including premium feed-in and current feed-in tariffs.

Premium Feed-in Tariff

The Victorian Premium Feed-in Tariff (PFiT) is a jurisdictional scheme funded by electricity networks. PFiT started in November 2009 and is closed to new applicants. Existing customers may remain on PFiT until the scheme is closed in November 2024. The maximum installed capacity for PFiT customers is 5kW and eligible customers will receive a minimum of 60 cents per kWh for their exports.

Current Feed-in Tariff 

The Victorian feed-in tariff scheme commenced in 2013 and the minimum feed-in rate was revised in July 2017. The revised rate considers the following factors:

  • wholesale electricity market prices
  • distribution and transmission losses avoided by the supply of smale scale renewable energy generation electricity and;
  • avoided social costs of carbon and the avoided human health costs attributable to a reduction in air pollution

For further information regarding eligibility and the current feed-in rate please refer to energy.vic.gov.au

What happens if a customer switches electricity retailer, moves house or increases their installed solar capacity?

PFiT customers can switch electricity retailers and continue to receive their payments. Customers should check with their retailer prior to switching if there are any exit fees under their existing contract.

Any house signed up to PFiT will remain eligible for the scheme regardless of whether the house is sold and new residents move in. If a customer increases their solar capacity they will no longer be eligible for PFiT payments.

Closed Feed-in Tariffs

Standard Feed-in Tarrif (SFiT) and Transitional Feed-in Tariff (TFiT) were closed in December 2016.

Distribution Code requirements

The distribution code regulates distributing and connecting electricity to customers. It also covers embedded generating units, such as solar panels and transferring electricity between distribution systems. Under the Electricity Distribution Code owners of small embedded generators must comply with the code under its generation license.

  • Ensure that your generating source is capable of continuous uninterrupted operation at the system frequency of 50 Hz (or within any allowable variation that applies).
  • Ensure that your generating source and any associated equipment that is connected to the electricity network complies with Victoria’s Electricity Distribution Code, the Electricity Safety Act 1998 and all relevant Australian Standards and is maintained in a safe condition.
  • Ensure that your generating source’s electrical protection device meets the requirements of our electricity distribution system at all times. All grid interactive solar inverters which are connected to the Powercor network have to comply with AS4777 Australian Standard.

To help you understand and meet these obligations, we recommend the Clean Energy Council’s guide to solar and battery storage for consumers.

The safety of the community and our employees is our top priority. Therefore we may disconnect or ask you to disconnect your generating source if it is not safe, interferes with the local network or does not comply with the regulatory requirements referred to above.

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