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 for all our customers.
In many areas though, the ability of the network to absorb the solar PV exports can be limited. It doesn’t stop anyone from installing a solar PV system but it can affect the amount of exports available.
Either way, we encourage you to check with us early in the decision-making process to make sure you can do everything you want to make the investment stack up.
Get the facts
There is great information available to help you understand the costs, benefits and technical requirements associated with investing in solar PV. We’ve tried to save you time and money by giving you everything you need to know in one place.
This includes information on:
- getting the right smart inverter so you can export when this is available
- ensuring you’re on the right energy plan and tariff to minimise your electricity costs
- how to find an accredited installer or solar retailer
- all the things that need to be considered in the financial case for your solar PV investment.
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.
To help you on your journey
Other useful information is available through government, industry and consumer bodies that have tools and tips for you to make sure you make the right electricity choices for your home:
Your steps to solar success
If you’re new to solar, you’ll probably have a few questions about how everything works. To help, we’ve made this easy guide to support you through every step of the journey – from installation to removal and everything in-between.
1. Check before you connect
As your network distributor, we manage the poles, wires and meters associated with delivering electricity to your home. We are the only source of truth on the health of the electricity network in your area, so you need to make sure that your installer gets a solar pre-approval through our eConnect portal. This is critical because there are a variety for factors your neighbourhood that might affect the amount of solar you can export and can influence how much solar you choose to put on your house. These are key inputs into your investment costs. Depending on where you live, you may choose to also invest in a battery or get a different size solar system.
2. Choose an accredited installer
Installers and retailers of solar can be accredited by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) through a program with the ACCC to bring about better standard of service within the solar and storage industry. Learn more on choosing an installer.
3. Make sure you have the right inverter with the right settings
This is something you need to make sure your installer does. Since 1 December 2019, all Victorian Network Service Providers are mandating the use of “smart inverters” on all rooftop solar PV systems.
A smart inverter has power quality response mode settings (i.e. ‘Volt-Watt’ and ‘Volt-Var’ applied). That means, it makes sure your system doesn’t trip-off when the power voltage fluctuates. Otherwise, when trips happen it means your system will not be generating power anymore for your home or for export.
So make sure your scope of work with your installer specifies the need for a smart inverter and make sure your installer signs off that the settings have been applied and turned on when the system is connected.
4. Review your contract
Your installer will submit a contract with us on your behalf letting us know you’re 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 is connected, then you won’t be able receive the feed-in tariffs you may be expecting and we won’t be able to tell if there are issues with your connection.
There are three major types of solar panels: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film. Each type has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, and the solar panel type best suited for your installation will depend on your situation. Monocrystalline for example has high efficiency, but also higher cost while thin-film is portable, lightweight and looks good aesthetically but has the lowest efficiency.
All of them need to be connected to a smart inverter to make sure the system performs best.
Learn about solar panel types.
The cost of your solar system will depend on many factors. A small solar set up will start at around $3,500 while a larger setup can cost up to $15,000. In the long run, solar can help you save money as all your appliances will draw power directly from your solar panels before buying energy from the grid.
But when assessing the financials, make sure you’ve checked on the ability to export into the grid from your system. Sometimes there may be additional costs associated with network connections.
Importantly, there are rebates available through the Victorian Solar Homes Program to reduce the cost of your investment. To find out more, visit:
There are two main things you’ll need to do each year to maintain your solar panels and make sure they are working efficiently.
First is to keep them clean. Any build-up of dirt and grime should be removed. To ensure this is done safely, we recommend enlisting the services of a professional. When assessing a solar installer for cleaning and maintenance, ask for a thorough run-down of what services they provide.
Learn how best to clean your panels
Second, you’ll need to have the wiring checked and replaced regularly, review the inverter display panel for recorded faults and ensure the emergency procedures for shutdown are displayed.
Learn how to maintain your panels
Solar systems can now be found in 20% of homes and have become a popular feature in the real estate market. To help prospective buyers and sellers understand how this could affect them, we’ve put together a few answers for the most common questions when it comes to buying, selling or renting a property with solar power.
Learn how solar can affect your property.