Future Network - emerging challenges with solar

11 December, 2017
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The Jones family, featured in the Future Networks film below, want to increasingly take control of how and when they use energy, and where they get it from. They are considering rooftop solar.


If the Jones’ invest in solar, we would typically expect them to save around $500 each year by reducing the amount of energy they need to buy from their retailer. They could also earn between $200 - $500 from energy they sell to their retailer depending on the current feed-in tariff offers.  We call this energy ‘exports’. All up, they may save between $700 and $1,000 on their bill.

The near future may see 50% of houses in SA being powered by rooftop solar, or other non-traditional electricity generation sources. Rooftop solar isn’t controllable like large power stations, and if exports get too high it can put the overall reliability of the power system at risk. 

We are considering ways to deal with this emerging issue of the network reaching its limit to support more solar exports, and have posted 3 possible solutions below. 

  1. Not allow exports from new installations. This means new solar customers will not be able to earn money from exports. This will be cost neutral to all customers. 
  2. Make network investments (for example, network upgrades, interconnectors and storage) to enable customers to continue to export energy as they currently do. This may increase costs to all customers by several hundred dollars per year.
  3. Require new solar installations to have some level of monitoring and control. This may increase up-front costs to new solar customers by a few hundred dollars, and may reduce their ability to earn money from exports by a small amount.
What do you see as being the best solution to this issue? And why?
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