Dynamic Solar Export Limits: SA’s Smart Way To Integrate More Solar

dynamic solar energy export limits

SA Power Networks plan to use dynamic export limits to allow more people to get rooftop solar power – whilst maximising allowable solar energy exports. Brilliant.

When the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) released its Economic Regulatory Framework Review, “Integrating Distributed Energy Resources For The Grid Of The Future” (PDF here) last week, media reactions had a pessimistic, almost apocalyptic slant.

Yes, solar power is putting stresses on a grid designed in the days when power went in one direction only – when rooftop solar generation is abundant, the grid voltage rises. Conversely, solar electricity generation can fall very rapidly, pulling grid voltage down.

However, there are two snippets from the report that count as genuinely good news: the problem of excess solar power is occasional rather than constant; and one way to manage it, flexible export limits, is surprisingly straightforward to implement.

As the AEMC report notes:

“technical issues caused by DER exporting to the grid generally do not occur frequently, and a DNSP may only need to constrain DER output on occasions so that its networks can operate within capacity”.

SolarQuotes got in touch with SA Power Networks (SAPN), because after last year’s AEMC report it started work on creating systems for dynamic export limits in partnership with Tesla, the South Australian government (as part of its Virtual Power Station project) and with support from the Federal Government.

SAPN’s’ Future Network Strategy Manager Bryn Williams told SolarQuotes via e-mail that rising grid voltages are the most obvious and pressing issue, because customers with solar panels will see their systems switching off and all customers can suffer problems with their appliances.

“We have had an increase in the number of customer enquiries for voltage-related issues in the last few years, particularly on mild, sunny days, as solar output begins to reach the technical limits in some areas of our network,” Williams told us.

As we recently mentioned, it is a “crunch time”: excess solar generation already means Distributed Network Service Providers (DNSPs) restrict how much power homeowners can push back out to the grid.

That’s why the AEMC wants the grid to become more like a trading platform than a one-way transport, so it can be more responsive to the variability introduced by rooftop solar PV supply.

As RenewEconomy was told last week, behind the AEMC’s language is a welcome recognition of the impact of rooftop solar on the energy market.

Making the system more dynamic reduces the need for a massive upgrade of the entire network of poles and wires.

Export limits today are static. SAPN, for example, caps exports to the grid at 5 kW (and that’s likely to be cut to 3 kW, the AEMC report noted).

Williams wrote that saturation has already been reached in some parts of Victoria. Some new customers are export limited to 0 kW. They can only use their solar energy in-home, they can’t export electricity back to the grid.

That effectively punishes new buyers of solar power systems, so SAPN’s flexible exports aim to solve the problem by tackling the occasions when there’s far too much electricity, while expanding the maximum export to 10 kW.

SAPN’s Dynamic Solar Exports Implementation

Implementing dynamic export limits needs investment in the network, a way to let householders’ PV systems know how much they can export, and inverters that can respond to the network.

On the network side, SAPN is investing in network monitoring systems, to get a more granular and real-time view of grid voltage; and operational systems to manage customer output. SAPN’s 2020-2025 expenditure plan, currently with the Australian Energy Regulator for review, includes investment that Williams told us:

“will enable us to signal the available export capacity of the network on a locational and time-varying basis, so customer equipment can reduce export levels at times when the network is under stress, but still export energy at all other times”.

On the customer side, implementation is very straightforward. SAPN will post export limits each day on an open Web interface. Solar inverters will download that limit each day, and implement the limit.

Williams added that limits will be location-specific:

“That way we can safely raise export limits at times and in places where this won’t cause a problem, and set them lower if required at specific times and places when network capacity is limited.

 

“This happens automatically; the customer does not have to do anything once the system is installed,” he added.

Williams told us SAPN’s economic models show that improving network capacity management provides a better economic result for all customers, whether or not they have solar panels installed.

“This is because it enables solar to continue to connect, export energy and contribute to the energy system as a whole while avoiding the need for expensive network upgrades. Solar customers are able to export their surplus energy for most of the year, which means that they benefit from feed-in-tariffs, and non-solar customers benefit from the extra solar energy being supplied to the market, which pushes wholesale prices down.”

About Richard Chirgwin

Richard Chirgwin is a journalist with more than 30 years' experience covering a wide range of technology topics, including electronics, telecommunications, computing and science.

Comments

  1. Daniel Debreceny says

    … on the condition that the dynamic limits cannot be abused by Big Fossil Generators ….

  2. Or imagine is there was a way to store this excess energy more locally? Like some sort of home battery …. or a way to split water in hydrogen with excess power, or feed into a desal plant?

    • Good (lateral) thinking Jeremy. Several long-winded discussions on the radio last week had people from the big industries talking about storing endless supplies of hydrogen produced from such sources…..talking about the ‘petrol crisis, etc.
      Not only are the oceans full of H2O, but can also be made to produce the power with which to run generators. (Been saying for years that harnessing tidal flows is a no-brainer. ~ eg Port Phillip Bay, or the 40-foot tides in the north-west.

  3. Peter Glasheen says

    When they limit or preclude you from exporting what would be smart is that they give you a discount during a higher tariff time as an offset.

    • Tony Jacques says

      Whilst I’m sure most solar systems owners would be happy to contribute to the proposed system by way of accepting export limits, it would be a wise move by the authorities to maintain the FiT incentive for system participants. This could be done by calculating within the system the excess generation over the export limit and passing a credit equivalent to the value of the export foregone each quarter. Not an unreasonable proposition bearing in mind the huge savings the distributors will gain by not having to upgrade the transmission system (ultimately, at tax-payer cost because you can be sure the distributors would twist government arms for subsidies or other financial support)

  4. Lawrence Coomber says

    Thank you Richard.

    Project more to predictable inevitable commercial conclusions though is my suggestion Richard:

    Solar PV Installations Monitoring & Control technology (it’s not just for system owners)!

    On-Grid Solar installations already have in place rules and regulations (via a written contract already in place) that networks and electricity retailers are entitled to enforce with customers (commonly referred to as the network service agreement fine print). These contracts are all encompassing ones formulated by the networks and electricity retailers without negotiation with the customer, and can be updated and revised in the blink of an eye without negotiations being necessary by all of the involved parties.

    Importantly, these contracts involve customers agreeing to allow utilities to control the entire “system to grid interface” functionality of a customers solar /battery installation, and particularly system performance as it applies to grid feed in power and battery system charging and discharging logic controls.

    As the number of grid connect systems increase, the more sophisticated will become the “system to grid interface” control algorithms, applied to customers systems.

    Third party “approved by the network” monitoring and control systems (similar to the current network smart metering arrangements) will become mandated by networks to be fitted by customers to their systems (at the customers cost) in order to be eligible for an initial On-Grid connect approval. In the case of existing systems, the owners will be given a short period to retrofit a third party “approved by the network” monitoring and control system, to remain compliant as an On-Grid installation.

    Inevitable commercial consequences moving forward.

    Lawrence Coomber

  5. mitchell lowe says

    it does not matter what you do the govt and energy suppliers will always change the electricity charges with some excuse.
    At the moment the excuse will be we are reducing the feed in tariff due to an excess being fed into the grid,.however, as the excess goes into the grid WHO BENEFITS
    Power companies and the government and as power stations work on demand, with an excess of solar power, surely the turbines will slow down meaning less fuel to be used therefor power should get cheaper.
    why has it gone up %8 last increase other than greed
    With our pension rise of $1.50 a week i think it is shame full that power can go up 8 percent and pensions up .004 %not to mention politicians got a pay rise of $400/week clear after tax

  6. Guy Harrison says

    As a current solar producer on the old feed in tariff, I am currently about to install an additional 15Kw on my home (at the new and much lower tariff)

    I have installed solar not only for the environmental benefits, but as an investment (it currently pays back much more than I could receive placing my money in a deposit account, or paying the principal outlay off of my mortgage over the next 10 years)

    How will this affect the payback time and economic benefits of my soar investment?

    My concern is that this scheme may become a one way economic penalty for home owners with solar. I understand the reasons for limiting input at times of peak production, when input exceeds demand, but will the reverse apply and I receive a higher financial return if I can export when there is high demand and lower solar supply?

    Also, how will SAPM equitably manage the competing needs of home solar and commercial generation? Home solar would appear to provide very cheap grid power for SAPN, so economically why wouldn’t they want to maximise home solar and limit commercial production. My concern however is that in a corporate and capitalist system I doubt that the commercial generators be asked to scale down (to any meaningful measure) their production if solar can provide the majority of the load.

  7. Lawrence Coomber says

    Well Guy of course you are correct in your concern.

    As you should be and for logical reasons.

    If you sit back and look at your situation from another perspective; and in this case from those entities who collectively contribute to your monthly rewards cheque for being a solar customer [State Govt + Electricity retailer in partnership]; you might properly conclude that those on the other side are not operating a profitable business by having you as a customer.

    Good business is about return for service and profitability.

    Any other partisan view point must be considered pure fantasy.

    I think you already know this point Guy as someone involved in reality business matters.

    Lawrence Coomber

    • Guy Harrison says

      Lawrence, if they give me 14c per kWh and onsell it for 35, in what way am I not supporting them to run a profitable business. They have no risks, no overheads and should a consumer produce excess electricity they stand to make 15-20c for no outlay other than having me as a customer.
      How many other industries are there where the manufacturer/distributor/wholesalor (or whatever) recieves the end product fron their consumer ready for re-sale at less than half the cost?

      • Lawrence Coomber says

        Yes precisely correct Guy.

        And that is why you should remain concerned. The profitability gap against the electricity customer will only widen over time also.

        Lawrence Coomber

      • Ian Thompson says

        With respect Guy and Lawrence – surely it’s a bit more complicated than that?

        So let’s just say (to make the math easy), that solar PV reaches the point where it can replace 50% of the power requirements from an existing fossil fuel station for a part of a day.

        Of course, the legacy station still has to have the capacity to supply 100% when the sun isn’t shining – so it cannot drop 50% of it’s labour cost all of a sudden when the sun IS shining, even though it might be able to halve it’s fuel consumption cost (probably not quite possible, as most stations have to operate in a “sweet spot” to be efficient). Plus they will likely have certain fixed costs, that DO NOT halve to 50% when the sun is shining – maybe building maintenance, servicing loans, administrative costs, paying off a mortgage on the land, the list goes on. Who then pays for the maintenance costs of the transmission and distribution infrastructure – and perhaps the amortisation of the Capital cost to build the same (or, a fund to replace it when it is worn out). I’m presuming you will need to use THEIR distribution infrastructure, to be able to export your power, and also when the sun isn’t shining. Also, much of the legacy generation technology was never designed for power level changes rapidl and often – so turbines are being damaged by thermal fatigue effects – who pays for that?

        What I’m trying to say, is the fact that they cannot supply more than 50% of the possible (perhaps even that designed into the system and project) power, means they have no more than 50% of the income to cover all these fixed costs – during the period the sun is shining. Therefore the cost of the power they are producing during these times is substantially increased.
        So unless they get some compensation for being able to still supply power when the sun isn’t shining, then obviously there has to be some return to cover the extra cost/unit of power, or else they would have to put the price of power up.
        Which is probably why, with the increasing penetration of solar we are seeing increased service charges and supply rates.

        I’m starting to have reservations about the TRUE viability of renewables in the long term – unless we can come up with adequately low-cost storage mechanisms. So far, batteries don’t “cut it” – unless the cost of power increases substantially. I have no doubt that individuals can save money to their own individual benefit, what with the subsidies, and the self-use savings and (small) export income possible. But for the bigger picture, we have to consider how we run essential services (hospitals, water pumping perhaps also desal plants, sewerage pumping and processing, police stations, EV charging, street lighting, the list goes on) overnight and on cloudy days.
        The link below makes some relevant comment:
        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/09/17/why-todays-renewables-cannot-power-modern-civilization/

        Despite Western Power doubling our sevice fee, and heavily increasing our tariff over recent years (and getting the benefit of taking our FiT at 7 c/kWh and selling it back to our neighbours at 26 c/kWh plus GST, they still haven’t been terribly successful – perhaps the fixed costs I’ve mentione above are the reason – I know some stations have been curtailed to 28% output at times:
        https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-26/wa-power-retailer-synergy-posts-massive-financial-loss/11550420

        • Lawrence Coomber says

          No it is not complicated at all Ian.

          The business case regarding the delivery of electricity to customers irrespective of whether the customer owns a Solar PV and/or Battery Storage Generation Plant is locked in stone.

          The customer is always and will remain always the Net Payer and under no circumstances whatsoever can ever be elevated to become the Net Payee in the supplier/customer relationship.

          It simply cant happen.

          Lawrence Coomber

  8. Greg Wootten says

    V2G vehicle to grid, the more electric vehicles we have the larger the virtual battery grid can be and all this excess power can flow into parked cars which have onboard smarts to take power in high grid situations and to give it back when required.
    The smarts already exist Nissan have a V2G system coming onto the Aus market shortly and Reposit has a system to supply from battery to grid at a user set price level. A bit of refining can get a to and fro system going probably based on price. Buy when price is down (supply high) sell when price is up.
    Cars have 40-100kWhr capacities and daily use 8-10 same as your average house.
    We need, at work or kerbside power supplies to EVs to make this work but EVs are a huge future virtual grid battery
    Down side is current batteries have a finite number of cycles but Tesla is talking of 1million mile cars that is unlimited battery cycles in the very near future, The original Tesla roadster had V2G capacity so they have the technology. The weather wall has REPOSIT built in so can feed to the grid as price dictates. this also gives your weather wall a better payback.

  9. Ian Thompson says

    Mitchell – the problem with simply “slowing down” the turbines is that yes, it will reduce the overall fuel (coal or gas) costs – but this is proportional, so half the fuel to produce half the energy means the same $/kWh for this component (actually, possibly even increase the cost, as the plant may now not run as efficiently) – no saving here as far as the Generator is concerned.
    Also, you have to realise there are certain fixed costs – costs that cannot be reduced by reducing the power output – for example (at least part of) the workforce. Then there is the cost of capital depreciation – I’m certain you would not wish to buy a car, if it was demanded you may only use it half as often as you’d like – or even less, if it is to be like SA’s gas generators.
    So, all these things act to INCREASE the unit power cost – significantly – as far as the Generator is concerned. Probably why SA is paying so much.
    Also, thermal plant are not particularly good at “load-following” – they CANNOT change power levels quickly enough – so you would then need rapid response gas turbines added into the mix – more capital costs to pay for something that is only going to be used from time-to-time – meaning high energy charges.

    Interestingly, Western Power may have thought more about the grid loading issue than SAPN, as we have had a 5kW export limit from day 1 (and STILL have over-voltage issues). Doesn’t mean a great loss to us, at a FiT of only 7c/kWh!

    Anyway – it is not just about reducing the power from the coal and gas stations – the other fundamental issue has been described by others – this is to do with the technical limits of the existing grid. The excess power might become less export limited, if the power could actually get from where it is being generated (at distributed rooftop PV sources), to where it could be usefully used (e.g. a hydrogen electrolysis plant, a desal plant, or the like).
    This involves the need to very significantly increase the capacity of the power transmission network – by this I mean to upsize the wire cross-sections on all streets having PV, upgrade to higher-capacity local transformers, upgrade the HV lines, sub-station transformers – the list goes on.

    So. yes I agree with others, that the best benefit overall is to utilise the power locally – perhaps by adding batteries, or buying an EV (if you can park it at home for charging around midday every day) – even if this is not the most economic way to do things (and presently, EV’s are likely worse than ICE engines in terms of emissions, as they are charged with power sourced mostly from gas and coal – and there are additional energy losses due to transmission, chargers, and battery round-trip losses). Modern ICE engines are amazingly efficient, and these cars don’t have to lug around a large, heavy battery (increases rolling resistance, and braking losses – partly offset).

    Noone ever said that transitioning to renewables was not going to incur added costs – otherwise we and most of the World wouldn’t still be running with coal, and in the case of SA and other places with significant amounts of NG with the fugitive emissions issues that this involves (methane can be 80 times worse in GHG terms, than CO2).

    Time to have a reality check, I think.

  10. chris cynkar says

    what if your inverter does not connected to wifi?

  11. Dudley Marks says

    Is solar the only generator that will be dynamically export limited? Surely fairness demands that any intermittent grid supply should also be similarly limited. eg wind and large solar farms.
    I cannot see how the controllers of the dynamic system can ever be transparent for small solar exporters.
    History shows that if anyone can “game” the system to improve dominant players profitability, they will. Small solar generators are at the bottom of the electrical power food chain and can expect to be on the wrong end of the game.
    Bring on pumped hydro to consume peak power.

  12. mitchell lowe says

    power has increased from 12.1cents /kilowatt in 1998 to up to51.2 cents now.
    thats a300% increase in 20 years plus $350 supply charge plus G.S.T.
    there has been no other power stations built in s.a.that i know of built since 1998 and i know port augusta power station has shut down.
    i want you to let me know what has increased in 20 years which accounts for a %300 increase. in power bills
    With all solar owners supplying the grid, wind farms solar farms
    supplying the grid ,Would power stations be running at full capacity or slowing down .
    the excess that goes into the grid here is used to give 50,000 housing trust tennants free solar with battery back up at solar owners expence
    If the govt can afford to give freebies to there clients then why not give pensioners better discounts so everyone benefits after all the $1.50pension increase will not even cover the amount electricity went up

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Mitchell

      If you are paying 51.2 cents per kilowatt-hour you should definitely look for a better electricity plan. There are much better deals than that available. Here’s an article I wrote on the best electricity plans available by capital for solar households:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/cheapest-electricity-plans-solar/

      The main reasons why electricity is so expensive is because privatization resulted in over investment in transmission infrastructure and added layers of middle management that didn’t exist before. Also, east coast gas prices rose towards international levels thanks to LNG exports.

      The Tesla Virtual Power Plant in Housing Trust homes is privately financed, not publicly.

  13. This is China Light and Power testing the waters on cutting solar even further by dropping us to 3kW export limit. This is shameful and anti-solar anti-environment. This should not be acceptable. CLP and their overlords in the Chinese government who also control China State Grid want to dictate how much solar Australian’s can have on their grid competing with their distribution business.

  14. mitchell lowe says

    i was told by the minister of energy that the s.a,govt was responsible for the free solar and battery back up and that the revenue was raised from solar power f.i.t.
    who told you telstra virtual power plant was responsible as a person i know told me his power plant at his house [housing trust] was put in by s.a.govt .
    someone is lying and for me i would not trust the govt.
    it could all be lies.
    Like electricity the less that is used the more it goes up .The energy providers do not want to lose revenue as less is used due to solar, the prices go up.i am not paying 51 cents .but it has gone up %^300 who told you it was privatised and if so who sold it to them.and when
    Was it in 1998 and that is the reason it has gone up an average of %15 per year.You do not think the govt is not involved in cost of power then why do you not show me how you got your information and who is getting all the benefits
    Are you saying they employed more people to supply less electricity even after shutting down at least 4 power plants and and they have employed how many extra staff,WHAT FOR

    • Ronald Brakels says

      The SA government is involved, but they don’t like spending money and they are also limited in what they can do when it comes to providing electricity. Hence the VPP is privately owned.

      As for what the extra layers of middle management required for the National Electricity Market do, well, they make some nice reports.

      • mitchell lowe says

        who is the vpp
        Are you saying my friend and the minister are lying about free solar and battery back up paid for by the sale of the F.I.,T to other consumers.
        tell me this ,I have a 4 klw system and i got 3,000klw F.I.T. at 15cents /klw and received $450 dollars back.
        Electricity was selling for around 40 cents/klw ‘ that means someone is making 25cents .klw.WHO/equalsequals675$ per year
        there is 2,000,000 solar owners on average would supply the same as me so
        times 2,000,000 by $675 =$1350,000.000 dollars
        some one is receiving,,,, WHO
        Thats an awful lot of infastructure and wages
        I worked on torrens island power station and know that the electricity works much like your car. The faster you go the more fuel is used Slow down and less fuel is used.What about the money saved by shutting down the 4 power stations no wages, no fuel.
        I am curios about you ,are you a politician or work for a power company
        Tell me where the money is going as you have a lot to say so tell me how many people were emplyoyed in a new infastructure and how to contact them. How many people lost there jobs when the power stations shut down
        How much was saved by not using fuel Who is making the money from the F.I.T.that is supplied by 2,000,000 solar owners

        • Ronald Brakels says

          Hoo boy! Pick one question and I’ll answer that to the best of my ability. Then maybe we can move onto another one. I have to watch many cartoons tonight, so my time is limited.

          • mitchell lowe says

            you cannot answer any Ronald
            Are the questions too hard

          • Ronald Brakels says

            When my children bug me with a dozen questions I tell them to pick one. It gets them to think about what the actual heart of an issue is.

          • mitchell lowe says

            well pick one and answer, then pick another one and answer and eventually you might give actuall facts one at a time,up but no one can explain why with all this free solar and wind and huge solar farms why cost have not gone down.
            Apart from greed,IF PENSIONS WENT UP AT THE SAME RATE AS POWER THEN PENSIONERS MIGHT BE ABLE TO LIVE BETTER INSTEAD OF THE BEING ON THE POVERTY LINE
            $1.50 a week thats 15kwl of solar a week at 10 cents F.I.T,

  15. As solar export to the grid gets restricted will battery economics change?
    How will I know whether or not I am in an area which is likely to have my solar exports to the grid limited so that I don’t install a system when I get little to no benefit from exports?
    Will the grid operators or the market controller publish coverage maps highlighting heavily restricted areas?
    Will the electricity suppliers be encouraged to offer higher Feed In Tariffs in areas where there is abundant network capacity and no limiting of export likely even with significantly expanded roof top solar?

    • Battery economics will get worse as grid operators are restricting batteries as well as solar. They are generally trying to disrupt the transition to renewable energy and using technical difficulties as the excuse. We’ve seen this overseas most notably in Hawaii

      • That seems like an odd response from grid operators as more batteries would actually help them. Any examples of this happening? Genuine question as I have just kicked off the process of getting a battery installed.

        • In Ausnet distribution area in the built up parts of the network (non SWER) they allow 10kW of inverter capacity which generally given the (misdirected but another story) incentives 13.3kW of solar PV max. This is then export limited at 5kW. The problem is if you opt to max out your solar they then ban you from adding a Tesla Powerwall 2.

          So to get your Tesla Powewall2 you have to halve your solar system to a pathetic minimum 6.6kW system. A Tesla PW2 doesn’t really cycle enough with that size system in the middle of winter unless you live in Alice Springs or somewhere with not much of a cloudy low sun winter period.

          so customers will probably end up opting for civil disobedience and installing batteries anyway is what will happen in the long run when prices come down.

  16. Lawrence Coomber says

    Ilya to learn more about the subject, you need to have a clear understanding of the pecking order of the business relationship model enforced between the Solar & Battery Owner and the other parties involved (Network Manager and Electricity Retailer).

    The Network Manager sets down the Power Flow Rules and Regulations for the Grid relating to the Solar & Battery Owner.

    The Electricity Retailer determines (and applies) the calculations and formulas that apply to the Solar & Battery Owner – Electricity Consumption and Generation Account, by way of tariffs, charges and offsets for self generation.

    The Solar & Battery Owner is (as most customers of others in business are) at the bottom of the pecking order and by definition must therefore be the NET PAYER Customer to the Electricity Retailer and the formulas applied to the account are derived to ensure this situation is locked in stone. It is impossible to conceive any business model where the reverse can occur, i.e where the Solar & Battery Owner can become the NET PAYEE which in effect means that the Electricity Retailer becomes a customer of the Solar & Battery Owner.

    So what Matthew says along with many others is correct; and the Solar & Battery Owner will (and always must be) the PAYER Customer.

    It is also not possible for Solar & Battery Owners to think that there may be creative ways and means to rearrange this fundamental business truth that can elevate them up the commercial packing order value chain.

    Lawrence Coomber

    • Hi Lawrence,

      I don’t totally agree with your rather pessimistic outlook but what I can say is generally for the masses to be anywhere near as economic as just adding more solar PV battery prices need to drop a lot. That said everyone must admit that Tesla PW2s are pretty cool and if it’s that or a Jetski then money is far better spent on the Tesla Powerwall 2. (And on a serious note some people want backup power or want to be energy exemplars providing the model for the future near zero import or zero import efficient solar electric home).

      • I’m fortunate to live in SA where the incentives for battery ownership are starting to make a bit more sense financially. With a Tesla PW2 installed for $8.5K (after gov rebates) plus signing up for 3 year VPP where I get credited $5.1K, that leaves $3.4K for the investment to pay me back. On pessimistic numbers that’s 6-7 years. Plus a bit of altruism thrown in, and I feel OK about it.

        • Lawrence Coomber says

          A perfect answer in your case IIya.

          Happy customers are what good business is all about.

          Lawrence Coomber

  17. Guy Harrison says

    Hyper thetically what’s involved to become a Distributed Network Service Provider? (DNSP)

    Would it be possible to create a company that offers customers a Feed In Tariff (FIT) of 24c per kWh and on sells the extra generation as ‘Clean Green Energy’ (perhaps to all the Prius, Tesla and Leaf owners) for a green premium of 36c kWh. With so many homes exporting additional solar, the capacity that could be on sold would be huge, hopefully homes would sign up for the higher FIT and Green customers would be pleased to know all power was sourced from renewables.
    As the company is in the market of supply rather than production, overheads would be low. (It could be run from a call centre in the Muldives – at least until the water level becomes too high)

    • Guy, that would be an electricity retailer, not a DNSP (DNSP’s have to maintain the distribution assets). Yes – a retailer can be a very lean operation – hence the proliferation of them.

      The retailer makes up its own prices for the retail component of each kWh- but it has to use the tariff structure dictated by the DNSP and also pay ‘network charges’ per kWh to the DNSP.

      Here is the breakdown of generators, TNSPs, DNSPs and retailers (annotated screenshot from SAPN video):

      DNSP, TNSP, retailer, generator

      And here’s a breakdown of who gets paid per kWh you buy:

      price breakdown

      • Finn
        Those figures are very old (2012-13) Do you have more up-to-date figures? It would be instructive to see how the proportions have changed over the last six years

  18. mitchell lowe says

    who gets paid per kilowatt that is sold into the grid .give a breakdown of that
    There is only excuses you make to support increases get a reality check Its all about profit and revenue As you know the F.I.T. has gone down from 60cents to 8 cents yet our bills have done the opposite and increased at %15 per year since 1998 and i think they will keep increasing and the F.I.T.WILL GET LOWER AND LOWER UNTIL IT IS NO MORE.
    what excuse will you have then when someone gets paid for night use and it will not be the consumer Also who gains the most with battery back up

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Mitchell, if you look above you will see Finn has answered Guy’s comment and included a couple of images that shows the main components of your electricity bills.

      Note I am not making excuses here. I am giving information. If Australia’s grid electricity prices had risen by half as much in real terms as they have, we’d be a significantly richer country. Bad policy has multiple repercussions. That said, we can only ever hope for good policy, not perfect, as perfect and humans don’t really fit in the same box.

  19. mitchell lowe says

    also another penny for your thoughts
    you pay around $1per day for a supply charge and as most systems put more into the grid than out, then you are supplying more solar than you are taking from the grid, and you are paying for the privalidge of supplying the grid,more than the electricity companies supply, to you.
    This means that over a 3 month period you pay around $90 which means they get the first 225 kilowatts per quarter free.if your rate is aroud 40 cents
    that is 900 klw per year you are paying for before you even start plus a %10 gst
    there was no such thing as a supply charge before G.S.T. that is just another way to extort money.
    If they did not supply it ,you could not buy it. Why should you have to pay for a product that they have to supply to your houses or go broke.
    also there is still 4,000.000 houses still buying from the grid at approx 40cents per klw and conservitive use of an average of 1,000 klw /quarter then that is another4.000.000 x4,000x 40cents equals$ 6.400,000,000
    plus the solar revenue,$1350,000,000 plus $350 per house supply charge. plus G.S.T.
    WHERE DOES IT GO .Not in any consumers pockets not towards pensions

  20. An interesting idea but I suspect we are heading for the clipping of output as the number of systems keeps rising and the grid voltage follows suit. The only way to solve that problem is to either install large batteries to soak up some energy or fix the infrastructure. Given that the government is directed by the coal industry we won’t get infrastructure fixed and batteries are still far too expensive and only last for around 10 years anyway.
    We had a year of playing around with our installer who, contrary to my input, insisted that a single phase inverter was the only way to go. It didn’t work and I had to push the guy for almost a year to get a 3 phase inverter out of him.
    We finally won the day. Ausgrid, who claimed their equipment was not at fault stepped down the supply voltage and we’ve now had perfect operation on our 8.7 kW system as well as the Kevin Rudd 2 kW sputnik which is still kicking along 10 years later. Life doesn’t get any better than that other than we need a bit more sunlight in winter. Guess you can’t have everything but it would be enlightening if our over remunerated and fed political class ceased to accept funding for protection and policy outcomes. We don’t pay them for that but they seem to believe betrayal is ok if they can get away with it. They do.

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