Media Release: Major power upgrade delivers boost for solar customers

1 September

Some of Victoria’s leading rooftop solar areas can now share more of their power, after a major works
program by electricity distributor Powercor.

Thousands of customers across parts of central and western Victoria are now benefitting from the
network upgrades delivered by Powercor, to better support the rise in rooftop solar installations and
enable more customers to get the most out of their solar investment.

Since March, Powercor crews have completed more than 500 different network alterations and other
activities across nine key regions identified as having high levels of rooftop solar under its Solar
Hotspots program. These areas include Ballarat, Bendigo, Bacchus Marsh, Point Cook, Sunshine,
Portland, Maryborough, Hoppers Crossing and Melton.

These areas were among the most constrained parts of the network, with a new solar connections
export approval rate of just over 60% at the start of the year.

Since Powercor’s works, these areas are now among the best areas for approval of new solar
connections to export, with approval rates now above 90% which is even higher than the Powercor
network wide average of 89%.

The works have improved export capacity for our customers and also reduce the tripping of
existing solar systems that can otherwise be caused by voltage issues when large amounts of
excess solar is exported into the electricity network.

The program is the first stage of a five-year Future Networks program designed to support customer
investment in solar, electric vehicles and battery storage.

Powercor General Manager Electricity Networks, Mark Clarke, said crews conducted activities at
over 30 sites a week for more than three months, upgrading infrastructure, adjusting tap settings
on street-level transformers, balancing voltage levels on powerlines and making adjustments at
zone substations.

“We’re seeing a real lift in the number of customers able to export excess solar back into the grid
in these areas, which were among the most constrained in our network only a few months ago,” Mr
Clarke said.

“These works are allowing most of our customers in these areas to export their excess solar, while
also supporting Victoria to reduce emissions and increase the use of clean energy generated by
customers at home.”

About 22% of residential customers (more than 161,000) on the Powercor network now have solar
power, with a total installed capacity of 631MW across the network today. In the past 12 months,
more than 24,000 new residential customers have connected solar to the Powercor network.

The Future Networks program will benefit all areas across the Powercor network and incorporates a
dedicated solar enablement initiative, while expanding the network’s digital capability to facilitate a
variety of choices for customers.

“We recognise the future of energy is being driven by customer choices and these works are part
of the ways we’re working to enable them” Mr Clarke said.

Powercor has contacted all customers within these areas to advise them that work has been
completed and to encourage them to consider reapplying for exports if they’ve been unsuccessful in
the past.

More information about the program and how customers can get the most out of their rooftop solar
is available at www.powercor.com.au/solar-energy

The Solar Hotspots Program is providing benefits in the following postcode areas:

 

Postcode Suburbs in postcode
– 3029 Hoppers Crossing, Tarneit, Truganina
– 3030 Cocoroc, Derrimut, Point Cook, Werribee, Werribee South
– 3551 Ascot (Greater Bendigo), Axe Creek, Axedale, Bagshot, East Bendigo, Emu
Creek, Eppalock, Epsom
– 3337 Kurunjang, Melton, Melton West, Toolern Vale
– 3340 Bacchus Marsh, Balliang, Coimadai, Darley, Hopetoun Park, Long Forest,
Maddingley, Merrimu
– 3352 Bonshaw, Bungaree, Bunkers Hill, Burrumbeet, Cambrian Hill, Cardigan,
Cardigan Village, Clarendon
– 3305 Bolwarra, Cape Bridgewater, Gorae West, Heathmere, Portland, Portland
North, Portland West
– 3444 Baynton, Kyneton, Lauriston, Lyal, Metcalfe, Redesdale, Tylden
– 3465 Alma, Bowenvale, Daisy Hill, Maryborough