Dynamic Solar Exports Are Mandatory In Victoria From Today

Dynamic solar exports Victoria

Today (March 1st) is “D Day” for inverters installed under Solar Victoria’s rebate programs. “D” for dynamic, that is.

All new inverters installed in Victoria must now be capable of remotely and dynamically adjusting their solar export limits. This was one of five mandatory requirements Solar Victoria outlined in their annual notice to market on May 2023, to be implemented by March 1st 2024.

Victoria joins early adopters South Australia (SAPN) and Queensland (Energex and Ergon networks), who began progressively rolling out dynamic or flexible export options in the second half of 2023. Other states are tipped to follow.

What Are Dynamic Solar Exports?

Dynamic exports, also known as dynamic connections or flexible exports, refer to the capability of a grid-connected inverter to adjust the amount of electricity it exports to the grid in real-time based on various factors such as network conditions and electricity demand. This is done remotely by the relevant Distributed Network Service Provider (DNSP.)

The growth of rooftop solar has led to challenges with energy generation matching demand, leading to various grid stability issues. Unlike fixed export limits, dynamic exports help address these problems by adjusting exported solar energy to align with fluctuating grid needs, akin to the natural variability of solar.

Here is an analogy I like to use:

“An electricity network with dynamic solar exports is comparable to a road network with traffic lights or roundabouts.”

A road network with traffic lights/ roundabouts adjusts the flow of traffic based on real-time conditions, just like dynamic solar exports adjust the flow of electricity based on grid demand and solar generation. Both systems help to manage congestion and optimize efficiency for smoother operation.

Traffic roundabout

A well-designed electricity network manages congestion like a well-designed road network. Image: Rodolfo Gaion

A Win For The Consumer

The previous fixed export limit of 5 kW per phase has been effectively doubled in Victoria. New compliant inverters can now export between 1.5 kW and 10 kW per phase, likely to operate at the upper limit most of the time. For comparison, ARENA’s South Australian “Flexible Exports For Solar PV Final Trial Report“, which ran from September 2021 to March 2023, reported a higher result than expected:

“The statistical spread based on data collected in the trial shows that, on average, devices were able to export at 10kW or their inverter capacity for 99.4% of the time, far exceeding the 98% target.”

For states that have implemented dynamic exports, this means more electricity is exported to the grid on average annually, resulting in more feed-in tariffs offsetting customers’ bills and more money in their pockets. Alternatively, the lack of dynamic export functionality within the grid might require DNSPs to restrict the installation of additional rooftop solar PV systems, limiting the solar industry’s growth.

Flexible export communications

A simplified diagram of dynamic/ flexible exports communication concept. Image: ARENA

The Nitty Gritty Details

Solar PV inverters compliant to IEEE 2030.5-2018 and CSIP-AUS

 

Effective from 1 March 2024

 

Mandatory: Solar PV inverters shall be listed on Clean Energy Council’s Approved Inverter list to conform to IEEE 2030.5-2018 and Australia’s Common Smart Inverter Profile (CSIP)-AUS.

 

Compliance with this requirement can be achieved via direct inverter integration, an external control system or via a vendor cloud – or equivalent.

 

This requirement excludes battery inverters, which will be considered for inclusion in 2024. Exceptions for off-grid systems will be provided on a case- by-case basis.”

How To Find Compliant Inverters

To determine which inverters are compliant, follow this link to the Clean Energy Council (CEC) approved inverters list. Scroll down and click the link marked “Inverters with Software Communication Clients.” Like the inverters, the second link is dynamic and may change, so bookmark the “approved inverters” page for future reference.

What Is IEEE 2030.5-2018 and CSIP-AUS?

IEEE 2030.5-2018 is a standard developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) that specifies communication interfaces for interconnection and management of energy storage systems (ESS), distributed energy resources (DER), and other grid devices within a smart grid environment.

CSIP-AUS stands for “Common Smart Inverter Profile – Australia.” It’s a set of specifications developed in Australia for smart inverters used in grid-connected solar PV systems. CSIP-AUS defines communication protocols and requirements for inverters to enable grid functionalities such as voltage and frequency regulation, reactive power control, and grid support capabilities.

Currently, there is no mandated Australian standard. However, South Australia, Queensland, and Victoria have all implemented CSIP-AUS, which may become the standard nationally consistent communication protocol.

Is Wi-Fi OK?

Yes, but a hard-wired physical connection is better!

Internet capability and an on-board communication port

 

Mandatory: Inverter(s) must have internet capability (the ability to share data via the World Wide Web) and an onboard communication port that can be used for a physical connection to another device (e.g. via Ethernet, USB or RS232).

 

Further, if an inverter can communicate wirelessly in a manner similar to an on-board communication port (for example by providing a secure Application Programming Interface or API over Wi-Fi) that can be used for a connection to another device, this may be utilised in lieu of a physical communication port.”

What About Battery Inverters?

We’re working on it. Watch this space!

But Wait, There’s More

While we’re at it, here’s another mandatory requirement from 1st March 2024. In a bid to encourage self-consumption of solar power, timers for heat pump hot water systems are now mandatory in Victoria. The ruling is self-explanatory:

Hot water heat pump integrated timer

 

Effective from 1 March 2024

 

Mandatory: Hot water heat pumps, as a minimum requirement, must have an integrated timer that allows for the unit to run between a specified time window or is connected to a solar PV system and runs during periods of solar generation.”

A Step In The Right Direction

Victoria’s mandate for dynamic solar exports marks a step in the right direction, aligning solar energy generation with demand and enabling potential cost savings for consumers. They now join South Australia and Queensland, setting a strong precedent for other states to follow suit.

About Kim Wainwright

A solar installer and electrician in a previous life, Kim has been blogging for SolarQuotes since 2022. He enjoys translating complex aspects of the solar industry into content that the layperson can understand and digest. He spends his time reading about renewable energy and sustainability, while simultaneously juggling teaching and performing guitar music around various parts of Australia. Read Kim's full bio.

Comments

  1. David Morgan says

    What about micro inverters? Does each inverter need a communication channel?

    • Ok so my Enphase iq8a micros are on the list. But my system was installed in Oct last year. So now what, do I need to contact my installer to get this dynamic export change made or this is just something relevant to new installs and those of us with older installs stay at 5kw exports even though we have compliant inverters?

    • Kim Wainwright says

      Hi David. All the inverters on the “approved inverters list” (Inverters with Software Communication Clients) are capable of meeting the requirements of this ruling. Enphase is on the list. You need a gateway that each microinverter communicates with. The gateway comms can be Ethernet or Wi-Fi.
      https://enphase.com/en-au/store/communication/iq-gateway

    • They’re all controlled by a manager. Which will control how much is exported

  2. Tony Smith says

    It is probable that I misunderstand this but I’m confused as to why a solution dependent on customer internet I has been chosen. It was king a few years ago that inverters were mandated to have have demand response via power line communications which to my thinking is way more reliable. Or have I missed the point?

    • I agree this seems very strange, I block my inverter from access to the internet altogether (as with all my Internet Of Things/Cameras etc. devices). Everything is monitored and can be accessed locally without an internet connection.
      Whilst some inverters do get software updates eventually these will stop and leaving devices with potentially un-patched vulnerabilities on the internet isn’t something I’m willing to do. Especially as inverter access also relies on a cloud provider who you have no control whether they keep their software up-to-date, with support for your product and stay in business.

      • Des Scahill says

        I fully agree with your overall sentiments Richard.

        Meanwhile.. the ‘nuclear vs solar’ debate has been resurrected by the LNP, who are yet again attempting to convince everyone that having a related widespread distribution grid of tall towers is the way to go.

        Most of us will also be somewhat aware of the wide-spread destruction of the WA distribution network currently occurring due to extreme weather events.

    • Dave Ritson says

      By allowing/enabling internet connections to perform these functions opens up far more possibilities, and takes the full responsibility away from the DNSP’s.
      Some inverter manufacturers have their own fleet cloud service that can operate all their customers inverters like a VPP (if customers opt in). They will be far more responsive to making any adjustments. As opposed to the DNSP’s that only signal something if they have to – customer be damned.
      This will become even more important when batteries are included. As a customer, ideally you would only want to be exporting during the morning and evening peaks when energy is worth more. By using internet based systems, the customer has access to their systems to manage their system too. eg. I’d usually export in the evenings, but I’m planning a pool party on Saturday, so I’ll not export from battery that afternoon so I can power on that evening.
      Lots of possibilities!

    • I’m in QLD and I am thinking we might be better off with the devil we know, a 5kw export. Isn’t this a first step in controlling “freeloading” solar exporters.

  3. Moose OMalley says

    10 kW export on Single Phase Power (10 kW per phase) is a nice win ! I hope Ergon Energy (Qld) follow suit in the future.

    Battery inverters are being considered for inclusion in later this year – which means if you have a whopping big solar array and tons of battery storage (even using your EV as a house battery extension), you should be able to export from solar during the day, and from battery(s) during the mornings, evenings, night. Really nice ! I hope Ergon Energy (Qld) follow suit in the future.

    And they are also going to consider solar / battery systems which are currently off-grid. So the Off Grid folks with lots of excess power storage / generation can get in on the act.

    This is all about optimising renewable energy exports to the grid, and this is a good thing for all parties.

    The article doesn’t make any mention of export price changes – usually these go hand in hand with dynamic exports. If you export at times of high demand, the price of electricity on the pool is higher, so you get paid more per kWh for your exports. Similarly, if you are exporting at times of low demand, the price of electricity on the pool is lower, so you get paid less per kWh for your exports.

    • George Kaplan says

      Victorian retailers are mostly offering 4.9c/kWh but the minimum FiT has just been dropped to 3.3c/kWh. Those on time variable FiTs are now offered 2.1-8.4 c/kWh.

      The Essential Service Commission notes solar customers are cranky their power is increasingly worthless, but they’re required by legislation to base FiTs on the value of solar.

      Given power in Victoria averages 26-31c/kWh – depending on network, with supply charges averaging 101-124c/day, you’re looking at about $369-$453/year in supply charges, and, assuming an average of 10 kWh/day grid consumption, $949-$1132 in usage charges. While possibly not quite high enough to provide a positive ROI, it’s getting very close to the cost of a solar battery. If FiTs drop much more, or electricity charges rise much more, how many will decide to go battery, or even fully off grid?

      And if electricity rises another 20% or so this year with FiTs staying static or continuing to fall …

      • Moose OMalley says

        >Victorian retailers are mostly offering 4.9c/kWh but the minimum FiT has just
        >been dropped to 3.3c/kWh. Those on time variable FiTs are now offered
        >2.1-8.4 c/kWh.

        Yiikes … In Qld, Ergon Energy charge $0.30227 / kWh for electricity used, and pay $0.13441 / kWh for electricity exported to the grid.

        On average (last 5 months – mid Aug-2023 to end of Jan-2024), I use $1.90 of power per day (6.30 kW @ $0.30227 / kWh), and export $5.41 of power (40.23 kW @ $0.13441 / kWh) to the grid.

        My power bill was about $60-70 AUD per month. Since installation of my solar system, my power bills have turned into credits, and I now get free electricity and make around $110 AUD per month tax free on the excess electricity I export to the grid – a whopping 25% Return on Investment (ROI). It’s like having a piggy bank on my roof.

  4. With the mandated restrictions for Home Inverters have the same restrictions also been placed on solar and wind farms (and other renewables)?
    If not why single out Home solar systems when there are other players feeding in power. Maybe its a Business decision to stop paying out feed in tariffs where Business contracts are written to accept all the power to pay for them. Don’t Home installations also need to pay for their systems?

    • Roof top solar has been a huge rip off for me AGL screwed me over years ago they started giving me 33 cents a kilowatt then dropped me to 8 now I get 5.5 from red energy soon to be less I will turn my panels off soon as they need power to run?

  5. Ok, so now the operator can control our export, but they want us to give them the production cost free! How can this be a good thing? The way I see it is that it really doesn’t matter how efficient they make it to export more, while they are refusing to pay.
    I have this burning question. How is Snowy 2 going to be powered to pump the water back up the hill. i.e. Recharge its battery.
    Can the rooftop solar collected from us be amalgamated and sent to do that job?

    • Mark Reynolds says

      > while they are refusing to pay

      Yes, it’s iritating. Alas, the more people who see the advantages of home solar, and the higher the general power prices go up, and the cheaper solar systems get (and bigger!) the lower Feed In Tariff prices will go.

      This is all actually a good thing. It’s saving the planet by replacing coal fired power plants, (which are all failing and being decommissioned)
      And it’s encourging smart people (like you!) to examine the situation, and if you can, take steps to export less power by using it locally yourself. You can likely do this by operating as many power guzzling appliances when the sun is shining, and also, have a look at battery prices, so you can store your power locally, and use it when the sun goes down.

      Yes, solar batteries seem to be coming down in prices. And that process will accelerate, the more smart people (like you!) buy and install batteries.

      > Can the rooftop solar collected from us be amalgamated and pump the water back up the hill. i.e. Recharge its battery?

      Yes.

      But likely they need to have some sort of control and understanding of the inverters and solar cells status, so they can do these things.

    • Darrell Martens says

      Basically the Greedy Griddies are used to dictating conditions to consumers. This is their response to rooftop PV taking a bite out their lunch.

      When battery LCOS finally falls below the increasing tariff to FiT spread, we consumers get to eat all our own lunch.

      Think about it – DER allows consumers to stop/reduce paying monopolistic transmission costs and the corporate parasitism that feeds off it – that’s why it’s so competitive.

      Enjoy the duck-curve while you can GG’s, it’s days are numbered.

      • Matt Lynch says

        I monitor wholesale pricing everyday and it drops close to zero (2c-10c) around lunch time/early afternoon most days whilst shooting up to between 40 and 50c every evening.

        My logic is that I sell and make most of my feed in credit on hot sunny afternoons when the wholesale price drops to almost zero but I’m getting around 10c then surely the Network will use their control to stop my system from selling back at a higher rate than is available on the wholesale market on those hot sunny afternoons. Meaning I loose most of the profit from feed in, if my system is Dynamically controlled?
        I can’t see how this is a disaster for most people with my model.

  6. Randy Wester says

    Wi-fi is perhaps less reliable than wired, but isn’t there a higher risk of lightning damage to equipment?

    • Mark Reynolds says

      Assuming you have solar cells on your roof, they will be the highest place for lightning to enter your house.
      Ethernet cables would be run down inside your house, from the inverter to your home network. ie not up high.
      Yes, all cables can ‘pick up’ the energy from lightning, if its close by.
      If it is close by (ie hits your roof) then you’re going to have alot of things get fried.

      In my experience, cables are much, much reliable for consistent communications. Wifi is good too, but no where near as consistant.

  7. Tim Chirgwin says

    While smart exporting controls helps to increase the amount of behind -the -meter Pv capacity which helps grid stability as you describe, most importantly this increased capacity for homeowners to generate more energy for their own direct use in early/late and cloudy conditions will have the best outcome for them, instead of buying so much peak priced power.

    We run multiple freezers during the daylight period only, with our own plug in timers, which mean a typical freezer and no solar costing $146/ year (365kwh/year @40c), will only cost $18.25/year in lost 5c FIT, with timer and PV.

    Even resistive electric hot water services with timers and PV become so cheap to run that expensive heat pump hot water systems are out on the cold.

    Clearly being able to put more PV is great for most consumers.

  8. zime_a_dime says

    What if you don’t have an internet connection?

    I have heard rumours that the inverter will limit export to 1.5KW if the internet connection drops out. Is that spelled out in the standard?

    The great thing about home internet is it is ‘the worst data centre in the world’ (not my quote). Trying to coordinate tens of thousands internet internet-connected inverters over home internet connections sounds rather like a losing battle with at least 10% of them being offline at any one time.

    I do wonder if any inverter/cloud provider combination will start annoying you if the inverter hasn’t phoned home?

    Also, what will happen if suburb level power goes out for an extended period? We have friends in the outer suburbs of Melbourne who in the last storm discovered that their local power lines also power the local NBN nodes. When the power went down they lost both power and all internet as all the powered homes in the area switched to 4G/5G and the mobile phone powers promptly overloaded and became effectively unusable.

    What is sad is that in Victoria all the smart meters have a communication link and zigbee connectivity for home users. I do remember reading that a version of IEEE 2030.5-2018 supports communications to inverters over zigbee/IPV6. I dare say that would be a more reliable connection than home internet.

  9. Wayne Foster says

    Residential in Victoria is the 1st of July new rules I think you will find

    1st of March is for solar systems over 200kw is what I believe

    • Finn Peacock says

      Wayne,

      The Notice To Market is very clear:

      Solar PV inverters being compliant to IEEE 2030.5-2018
      and Common Smart Inverter Profile (CSIP)-AUS – under
      our solar PV rebate streams (see section 4.2.1). Effective
      from 1 March 2024 This change was flagged in the Solar
      Victoria Notice to Market 2022–23.

      Have you got a link to an update from Solar Vic delaying this for residential?

  10. What if your wifi drops out (i.e. Optus outage) and they want to manage your exports, what happens then?

    • Finn Peacock says

      Good question: if the inverter loses its internet connection it goes into the lower fixed export mode: 1.5kW

      • James Anderson says

        Just following on your comment here: “If the inverter loses its internet connection it goes into the lower fixed export mode: 1.5kW”

        Is this if the inverter loses it’s internet connection AND it requires throttling, it’ll go to the 1.5kW default?

        Or is it simply if it loses internet (e.g. you turn your router off when on holiday) then it will automatically go to the default 1.5kW limit until the connection is restored?

        • Anthony Bennett says

          No internet => 1.5kW default limit

          If there is an internet connection and the grid operator calls for a real emergency backstop, export may be limited to zero.

  11. Paul McFarlane says

    Are they going to suck my ev dry for 3.3 cents per KWH ?

  12. Kim
    Great information as usual thank you!!

    I am not a solar tech head but these details are important

    I have two older systems that I assume are not compliant. One of about 2.5 kW with no wifi or internet interface at all. The other is several micro inverters to a monitoring panel which has internet interface, but I assume is not compliant.

    These both received credits but I don’t think were under any Vic Govt rebates scheme

    So I assume they will continue to export when they can and are not regulated?

    But if I want to upgrade my panel systems I would come under these new regs, is that right? Is that for any kW capacity? Not just larger say 10 kW systems?

    What about solar on multi tenement strata title rental properties. These don’t receive rebates do they? Would a new system inverter have to comply anyway?

    Thanks again

    • Kim Wainwright says

      Hi Bruce. Anything that’s been installed doesn’t have to comply unless it’s upgraded or modified from now on. All new systems have to comply from now on. If an electrician comes to your house to do ANY electrical work including solar it must be compliant to the rules at the time the work is done. Yes, your existing systems will continue to export as before.

  13. David Walsh says

    In Victoria, if you have a approved inverter and 13.8 kw of panels but on installation 3 years ago were only approved to export 5Kw, and not on dynamic export.
    1. Can we now get approval to have your export limit increased to 10 Kw?
    2. Who do you apply to increase? Your Distributor? How?
    3. An earlier post suggested that if you moved to dynamic export your feed-in tariff would change. Is this correct? Might it offset the increased output limit?

    Ours is a holiday house mainly winter usage with 13.8Kw of panels and 26 kWh of battery. Last year the feed-in credits in summer paid for electricity bills in winter so we had net zero electricity bill for for whole year including supply charge. We have since installed a hot water heat pump to replace element hot water so should see even lower cost.
    However I am suspicious of government changes. They seem to favour the big players in the end.

    • Jonathan says

      That’s exactly my question too. I have 12kW of panels, a compliant inverter, but am export limited to 5kW.
      How do I go about getting my export limit changed to a dynamic one?

  14. Erik Christiansen says

    It is interesting that “Exceptions for off-grid systems will be provided on a case- by-case basis.” My off-grid install beat the deadline by 3 days, but who knows when the paperwork goes through.

    Mind you, if they insist on installing a transformer and lines from the 6.6 kV transmission line only a km away, at their cost, I’ll comply at my end. But it will have to be underground. Half a century ago, my father refused to clear the several hectares of native forest needed for the power line easement, and I’m continuing the policy. So still off-grid after 60 years.

    Given the cost, it’d make more sense to put in a few acres of panels and feed in a megawatt or two when needed. Bairnsdale is at the far end of Victoria’s grid, and a boost along the way could be useful sometimes, I figure. Aircon usage isn’t likely to diminish anytime soon. Heck, there’s even room for grid scale batteries.

    Incidentally, I’d forgotten that Svante Arrhenius, the Swedish physicist, predicted global warming in a paper published in 1896, indicating a temperature rise of 5 degC for a 50% CO2 concentration rise. We’ve been digging this hole for a long time now, and we’re still increasing the rate of digging. “Homo Sapiens Sapiens”. Really?

  15. Hi there. Just wondering if it will be possible to be moved from fixed to on-demand export? Just installed SolarEdge system few month ago.

  16. Michael Cooney says

    Here we b!00d¥ go
    About 5 years ago I got onto an awesome deal where a new startup electricity provider was offering
    $0.18c KWh for my systems input Tarif to the grid.
    They have since sold out to AGL who have steadily put my user daily charges up, my KWh rate up to try and squeeze me into another contract…

    And this will be the nail that gets me…
    They will buy my neighbours power for $0.03cKwhr and will throttle my inverter to a standstill and try to sell it back to me for $0.50cKwhr..
    The door gets flung off its hinges as the rort continues.

  17. Hi Kim – good job highlighting some of the Victorian changes, however, some of the information isn’t quite correct…
    The 1 March date is only for Solar Vic rebates, for the next few months, Victorian DNSPs still allow any inverters from the full CEC approved inverter list to be installed, not just CSIP-AUS compliant ones https://www.solar.vic.gov.au/product-lists
    However, the Victorian Government is introducing an emergency backstop mechanism for solar from 1 July 2024, which will require all new and upgrading solar systems to be internet connected using CSIP-AUS https://www.energy.vic.gov.au/renewable-energy/solar-energy/victorias-emergency-backstop-mechanism-for-solar This emergency backstop for systems >200kW was introduced in October 2023, but doesn’t required CSIP-AUS.
    Unfortunately, at this point, none of the Victorian DNSPs have changed their standard export limits up to 10kW per phase. AusNet have recently introduced Victoria’s first Flexible Exports offer, but it is still limited up to 5kW export per phase and only aimed at eligible customers who would otherwise be constrained to below 1.5kW per phase.

  18. Lindsay Smith says

    So does mean that in effect they can adjust your export limit up or down at any time in order to meet grid demand?

    • Anthony Bennett says

      Hi Lindsay,

      In practice it means you have no export limit, you can run full steam most of the time. SAPN have been running this scheme for a couple years now and they have only exercised some throttle 2% of the time. ie it’s an emergency measure

  19. I hope the implementation goes better in Victoria than it is in Queensland. I have a 22 panel Enphase system with IQ8 inverters and 2 x 5p batteries. Supposedly I am on a dynamic export connection but all I see is dynamically restricting export to 1.5kW.
    The installer is working with Enphase and Ergon to get it working but seem to be getting nowhere.
    Meanwhile, all the beautiful Queensland sunshine is going to waste when I am not consuming all the possible output of the panels.

  20. Hi Legends …any word on when SAPN will release more suburbs, to be flexible export limit capable?…according to their website they are planning to do the whole of SA by the end of 2024 but they haven’t released any new suburbs for a while now (since last October I think?)…is the whole of SA by the end of 2024, wishful thinking ? 🤔

  21. Same question as a few other people – with those of us with existing installed and complaint hardware – how do we move to dynamic exports

  22. Enphase did reach out to me and I repled to them (also correcting email address) but since then, crickets. From my understanding, the communication client needs to be approved for connection to the SEP2 server. From the list provided on the Ergon website, I don’t see Enphase. I would have thought they would have been on top of this considering they presented a paper about dynamic exports a couple of years ago.

    It all seems to be in the too hard box.

    • Anthony Bennett says

      Hi Carl,

      I’ll shoot your concerns to Enphase and see what they have to say. We’ve had some happy customers in Queensland with Enphase support.

      Cheers

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