Powercor Continues To Power Up Solar Energy Network Support

Powercor network upgrades and solar energy

Victorian Distributed Network Service Provider (DNSP) Powercor is continuing its work to support the installation of new home solar power systems across its network and in removing particularly low or zero export limits on existing systems still subject to them.

Powercor is the DNSP for central and western Victoria, and Melbourne’s western suburbs. Operating the state’s largest electricity network, Powercor is responsible for more than half a million poles and over 88,000 kilometres of powerlines.

The popularity of rooftop solar power in its service area has been such that not so long ago many households wanting to install solar power systems were being informed a zero export limit would be in place due to high congestion at certain times of the day caused by exports from existing systems. It can still be worth installing solar under a zero export limit, but it increases the payback period and is just a rather sucky arrangement generally.

The situation began to improve last year after a major works program kicked off. We reported last September more than 500 network alterations had been performed by Powercor that allowed for more households to export their surplus solar energy.

But Powercor hasn’t stopped there.

Solar Enablement Works To Continue

Powercor provided an update on Tuesday stating its crews have conducted more than 700 individual items of work on 53 zone substation supply areas since October last year across all parts of its network.

“Combined, the major upgrades have increased capacity on the network, allowing more households to export excess power generated by their solar panels back into the network,” the DNSP states. “Powercor now approves more than 90% of applications from customers seeking to export excess solar onto the network – up from 60% in some areas back in February 2021.”

Powercor says more than 23% of all its customers have solar panels installed on their properties. In locations such as Tarneit, Point Cook and Truganina, more than 40% have systems. The number of solar customers within its service area increased by more than 23,500 during 2021 and all told, PV systems within Powercor’s footprint have a collective capacity of 700MW.

The DNSP states it is now including solar enablement work as part of normal business operations and is preparing to roll out a  Dynamic Voltage Management System (DVMS) later this year that will “tap down” voltages when necessary.

“We’re working to build a crucial gateway to a clean energy future by providing seamless access to our networks and new value for all customers,” said CitiPower and Powercor General Manager Electricity Networks, Mark Clarke. “These solar enablement works allow our customers to export their excess solar, while also supporting Victoria to reduce emissions and increase the use of clean energy generated by customers at home.”

Given the greater capacity now available on the network, current customers who still have a zero or low export limit in place are encouraged to contact Powercor to reapply for an export agreement.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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