The number of rooftop solar installations in the Powercor network has hit a record high, increasing by 13 per cent in the past year, according to Powercor statistics.
The number of homes and businesses with solar PV increased from 110,522 in 2017 to 124,759 in 2018. Since the start of 2019, 1,186 systems have already been installed which brings the total number of solar installations in the Powercor distribution network to 125,945
Daniel Garvey, Head of Network Planning and Development, said 86 per cent of Powercor customers seeking to install systems of between 5kW and 30kW in capacity are automatically approved for their targeted solar exports, depending on the penetration of solar PV in their community.
“We are seeing more customers making the choice to install solar panels on their homes as a way to reduce their power bills and export clean energy to the grid,” Mr Garvey said.
“Our customers expect the network to accommodate their energy choices so we are looking at different ways to develop a flexible grid and facilitate the shift towards distributed energy generation.
“We know the key is to ensure that the network has the capacity to manage the exported electricity to support customers’ investments in solar.”
Mr Garvey said technology and data available through smart meters to monitor and manage electricity exports is helping both Powercor and customers to plan.
“Powercor conducts regular assessments on the network and forecasts potential growth of solar to make sure we are able to deliver reliable power to households and businesses and support electricity exports,” he said.
“In areas where there is already a high penetration of solar PV, we may need to adjust voltage set-points in the field or engineer a solution to enable more exports.
“We are also working closely with Solar Victoria to make use of new solar inverter capabilities to enable customers to install as much solar PV as possible without causing issues to their electricity supply, the network or their neighbour’s electricity supply.
“We encourage people looking to install solar panels to install a ‘smart’ inverter with appropriate settings to enable continuous export without inverter trip-offs.
“We also advise customers considering installing solar at home or at their business to thoroughly research their options and seek advice from organisations such as Solar Victoria and the Clean Energy Council.”
Information about the solar pre-approval process can be found on the Powercor website.