Flexible Solar Exports: What to know

Also known as ‘dynamic export limiting’, it is an alternative to low or zero export limits, via the introduction of ‘Flexible Exports’ which automatically adjusts between 1.5kW to 10kW of export limiting per phase. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is funding trials for flexible exports in Victoria and South Australia, shaping up as a new standard for managing a large influx of rooftop solar systems across Australia.

Difference between Flexible Solar Exports and Traditional Export Limitations

Export limitations are implemented to avoid exceeding the technical limits of the grid, so energy retailers impose zero or near-zero energy export limits on new solar systems in congested areas. This means that customers can export energy most of the time, and only reduce exports during specific periods when the network is constrained, thus maximizing export capacity for solar customers and making more cheap, renewable energy available for everyone.

Zero export limits are when customers are unable to export to the grid, thus their feed-in tariff is voided and this means lower pay-back periods for solar PV systems. With the max export limit being 5kW per phase, new solar owners will now have a between flexible and fixed exports.

This would not affect current solar owners and their tariffs, or those connecting or upgrading their systems where the grid isn’t experiencing congestion issues, figures by SA Power Network note that only 2% of new solar applicants are likely to be in areas affected.

The Trial in South Australia

In late September 2021, SA Power Networks will introduce new connection options for new and upgrading small embedded generation solar customers in parts of Adelaide’s southern suburbs. The two new connection options for customers; a flat Fixed Export option of 1.5 kW per phase or Flexible Exports that automatically adjusts between 1.5 kW to 10 kW per phase.

From 1 July 2022, the SA Government plan to expand the service so that all customers can get access to flexible export limits if they wish.

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