Dumb Solar Shutdown Device: Queensland Goes It Alone On GSD

Generation Signalling Device (GSD) - Queensland solar shutdown strategy

Queensland is taking the lead in going backwards on solar power, with Energy Queensland mandating a new device, a few new acronyms, a new layer of complexity for installers and a new expense for owners of some new solar power systems. All in the name of keeping things under control as solar generates more and more energy in the Energex and Ergon networks.

Generation Signalling Device (GSD) Requirements For Energy Queensland

They’re calling it an “Emergency Backstop Mechanism” which, if you take it at face value, and I mean the choice of words is telling, it is a strange approach. It reminds me of an old workplace I frequented. The door from the office to the back of house was labelled “Planning and Operations Department” and some wag wrote an apt subtitle… “Panic and Reactions”.

Instead of actively managing the ebb and flow of a situation, it seems they’re entrenching a mindset that just switching it off until the problem goes away is acceptable practice. “NO” is the easy answer.

GSD - Generation Signalling Device

GSD – another device to clutter the switchboard.

What Is A Generation Signalling Device (GSD)?

This is a device installed on a solar system that allows the electricity utility (Energy Queensland) to switch off the solar power system remotely.  A signal is sent to the GSD via the power lines using Audio Frequency Load Control (AFLC).  The GSD receives the signal and switches the solar system either OFF or ON depending on the signal received.

GSD wiring diagram

Simple connections for simple results.

What Solar Systems Require A GSD?

New grid-connected solar systems with an aggregated capacity of 10 kVA and above.  For large solar systems with multiple inverters, the installer can install one GSD on each inverter or install a single GSD connected to a Demand Response Controller.  There are some exclusions, such as inverters that are solely supplied by a battery, and inverters located in an area not serviced by Energy Queensland’s AFLC system.

I confess I’m not native to Queensland and have lifted a little of this GSD explainer from an article put out by AC Solar Warehouse. They deserve an honourable mention, as a company striving to provide the best advise in the industry.

[One wag has pointed it should be an aggravated capacity, I thought it seemed an apt description, a Freudian slip from an industry that’s exasperated by adhoc rule changes at short notice.]

What’s Wrong With Queensland’s Stupid Shutdown Device?

The smarts are available to offer flexible exports instead of arbitrary hard limits. SA Power Networks has already proven it works using an internet connection and variable output controls integrated inside the inverter.

So why does Queensland think it’s a good idea to have a dumb device to just turn solar off? Simplicity is a virtue – I’m the first to point that out, but we should be calling out dumb ideas for what they are. Just like limiting car chargers to 20 A, it’s a simple approach to a complex problem. Dumb… to put it simply.

GSD, solar inverters and switchboards

The other thing that’s wrong is that solar inverters and switchboards don’t always live together. Extending cables when they’re not adjacent may be impossible and wireless solutions may not exist, we just don’t know.

What’s Even More Wrong About It?

At the recent All Energy Conference in Melbourne (otherwise known as solar Christmas) there were murmurs about these changes being introduced by the banana benders. However, despite some token consultation and subsequent backlash from the solar industry on GSD, it seems the rules have been developed in secret. The upshot is that nobody is properly prepared.

Again the solar coaster has taken another unnerving dip. Installers are left with a queasy feeling as once more they face delays that make things more difficult and expensive for everyone. Except for the people making the network rules, they save some money on infrastructure upgrades, and the outcome from ad-hoc decisions costs them next to nothing.

The main points are:

  • From February 6th 2023, all new 10 kW inverters will require a GSD device in Queensland.
  • There’s only one approved supplier of the device.
  • They want a minimum order quantity of 20 units.
  • Along with a credit account application.
  • All of this makes it hard on smaller solar businesses.
  • Reports are that despite inquiring in early December, there was no stock available.

Is This The Same Thing They’re Doing To Air Conditioners?

Yes, the box itself is basically a Demand Response Enabling Device (DRED), almost the exact same as what’s installed for an air conditioner in Queensland’s “Peaksmart” program; except they pay you an incentive to install one on an air conditioner. The key difference is that on a handful of afternoons each year, the grid will struggle to supply enough energy to air condition all the McMansions.

Shutting down some load makes sense to keep everything reliable. Even if there is some unhinged ranting about that, it’s a sensible approach with years of precedents at the ragged edges of demand management.

Whereas turning solar power systems off completely, instead of just turning down the wick, for increasing numbers of hours for increasing numbers of days throughout the ideally sunny Queensland conditions every year, is just a shockingly short-sighted way to maintain reliability.

QLD EV Rule Is Even Worse

As more and more people buy electric vehicles, and 95% of them expect to be able to charge them at home, Queensland has decided that customers on single-phase supply can only have a full 7 kW charging capacity if they have an off-peak connection. If you want to charge at a time of your choosing, the limit will be 4.6kW.

So, right when we as a nation desperately need more storage capacity to make better use of the investments we’ve already made in renewables, Queenslanders are being lumbered with inflexible connections that don’t take into account the fact that solar and EV charging are inherently good together.

With dynamic control, you can unleash EV chargers to soak up excess solar energy, or you can throttle them back to minimise demand, in a much more refined way than “Peaksmart” devices just switch the air conditioning on and off.

Dynamic export control, already operating on the more advanced, solar energy-saturated SAPN network, can be used to maximise solar PV generation when needed and gently throttle it back when not, without penalising customers for investing in solar panels.

Fundamentally it makes sense to generate behind the meter, right at the bottom end of the network where the energy is used and the transmission losses are non-existent. Arbitrary hard export limits don’t make sense when the technology is available to make variable outputs and variable loads complement each other.

What Happens Next?

As an industry, solar is as curious about that as the customers. If we can’t get supply authorities to accept that they’re not the only player in town, then the reality will soon kick them in the arse as customers defect from the network and go it alone with an off-grid system. The networks will be left with all the same poles and wires to maintain and a steadily decreasing customer base to pay for it.

As a society, we’ll have this massive infrastructure that’s poorly utilised and further acceleration of what’s already an increasing divide between the haves, (homeowners who can afford to go off the grid) and the have-nots (renters who can’t afford rent in the first place).

The grid is a common public good through which we should be able to share energy. It’s about time grid operators were brought to heel and told we need these services delivered efficiently, and the dividends paid to shareholders should be a distant fourth priority to efficiency, equity and decarbonisation.

Here’s a good link to explain why they appear to have been talking out both sides of their mouth for the last year or more. The standards appear to exist to move forward, but they seem to have abandoned them. If, like me, you’re a bit disappointed in the results, try emailing: [email protected]

About Anthony Bennett

Anthony joined the SolarQuotes team in 2022. He’s a licensed electrician, builder, roofer and solar installer who for 14 years did jobs all over SA - residential, commercial, on-grid and off-grid. A true enthusiast with a skillset the typical solar installer might not have, his blogs are typically deep dives that draw on his decades of experience in the industry to educate and entertain. Read Anthony's full bio.

Comments

  1. Mark Purcell says

    As a QLD resident this is terrible and a blunt instrument to a problem that had already been solved.

    Yesterday the wholesale network price in QLD was negative for hours, so I self consumed 100% of my solar generation and imported another 51 kWh of my neighbours excess solar at an average price of 2¢/ kWh, while the grid was extremely cheap and very green.

    Then in the evening when the grid was expensive and dirty I exported 37 kWh to help my neighbourhood at an average export price of 19¢/ kWh.

    Tonight the forecast export price goes upto 47¢ / kWh, so the grid is more in need of help tonight so I’m ready to help again today because I see direct benefits (financial, environmental, sustainability)

    If they switch off new solar systems in the future the market will not balance itself for the transition and we will be stuck with the legacy generation/ consumption model without full benefit of renewables.

    • Ivan Colaco says

      Hi Mark

      I have just installed a 33kWh battery system. Can you please explain to me how you exported 37 kWh. Is it a combination of solar and battery or only battery? I would like to maximise my export strategy.

      • Bayasgalan.D says

        Hi Ivan,
        In order to maximize your export you need to expand capacity of your battery.
        Dischargeable energy is limited with your battery size.
        Also you need to take a attention to secure life time of your battery. If you have Lithium ion battery, then D.O.D could be settled around 80~90%. It means your cannot use 10~20% of capacity of your battery.

  2. So to clarify, when they switch it off, the owner can only access grid power? In non-battery systems you can’t self-consume without a grid connection?

    • Yeah correct

    • So if your PV system is generating 5kW and your household is using 3kW, you’re exporting 2kW.
      Then they send the signal, your inverter is disconnected and now you’re IMPORTING and being billed for 3kW of grid power, even though it’s a nice sunny day and your solar system is cranking out more than enough of the good stuff to cover your needs.
      That doesn’t sit right with me. They wanna have their cake and eat it, and force me to bake them another cake!!

  3. Anthony Bennett says

    Yes indeed. If you don’t have a battery you don’t have a buffer to give you stability from one instant to the next.

    There’s a little more on the subject here :

    https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/sa-off-grid-renewables/

    • Great, thanks. So a ‘grid hybrid’ system, is any system with battery backup? My own example, recently installed panels with Powerwall2 backup. I have blackout protection, but I notice the Powerwall also has a ‘Go Off-Grid’ function you can turn on, is that designed for people who have no actual connection to the grid? Would i need to switch that on to be an ‘island’ during forced shut downs, or would the blackout functionality already do that?

      • The Go-Off Grid function on the Tesla Powerwall App allows you to disconnect the house from the grid (the main contactor in the Gateway box disconnects the mains from the house circuits) to see what it’s like to go “off grid”. The house is entirely serviced by the Solar/Battery system without the grid (this creates a very stable 230V@50Hz in this mode). The “Go Off-Grid” feature is handy as this avoids grid import creeping in. This is a not permanent go off grid, only temporary.

        This will not actually disconnect your service from the grid as far as the retailer/distriubutor is concerned and still incurs a daily supply charge. Essentially, you can do this by turning off the main switch in the switchboard to achieve the same result. This feature allows to do you that remotely via the Tesla Gateway box.

        I do this every day from the time battery is at 97% charge at sundown and when the battery is charged back up to 90% the next day. This avoids about 0.8kWh of grid import per day due to grid imports taken up by the battery system or sudden changes in load up (there is some grid import while the battery ramps up to meet the load as it’s not instantaneous). Some days I can get my grid import to as low as 0.01kWh/day.

        For a true off-grid Tesla Powerwall2 setup, there are certain conditions that need to be met, the main ones being:-
        1. Temperature is 10C-30C, so that rules out very cold or hot places
        2. There is no grid service lines available
        3. An alternate energy source, eg. a diesel/petrol generator
        4. Internet connectivity
        and a few others…

        Here is a link about true off-grid Tesla Powerwall

        https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/tesla-powerwall-off-grid/

        • Thanks, that’s very clear.

          Completely separately, do most Powerwall users connect theirs to their home wifi? I’ve seen some say the unit ships with cellular connection, so it doesn’t really matter if you don’t, and if you have limited data on your home wifi it’ll still work just fine leaving it with the Tesla cellular connection only? Not an issue for me, no limits on data, just curious.

          • Tesla would prefer if the PW2 system is connected to the home’s WiFi network (or LAN, which I do as it’s more stable). Cellular is last and backup resort if WiFi and LAN is down, but I think this is limited so that the data can be sent to the Tesla Servers and from there, the iOS/Android App can retrieve data and control of the Powerwall. Using Cellular would consume cellular data which is a cost, so using the home’s Internet (WiFi or LAN) would use NBN data for most of the time. I think Tesla is OK if the premise’s Internet service is down for a short period as there’s always a chance of NBN services going offline but if it’s off for too long, Tesla would be contacting to find out why internet service at the premise is off as one of the conditions for 10yr warranty is to have reliable Internet access.

            3G Cellular is used on Tesla Gateways v1 (the grey boxes) and 3G is being phased out. So, it’d be interesting how this will pan out in the future in Australia. So, it pays to make sure that the WiFi/LAN connection is working before 3G is turned off for good.

            More info here:-

            https://www.tesla.com/support/energy/powerwall/own/internet-connectivity

  4. Mike Bampton says

    Has Solar Quotes presented a submission to the Victorian Government on the proposed miniscule 4.8 cent feed-in tariff proposed for 2023?
    It is a complete disincentive to installing solar PV, as feeding anything back to the grid no longer makes any sense, as it will take almost 20kW feed-in to negate the 96 cent “supply charge”, which the retailer will resell at a minimum of 23.5 cents, yielding a “windfall” profit of $4.65 per day. Sounds like a great business model for the retailer as a VPP, but NOT the customer/consumer.

    • George Kaplan says

      Mike, 4.8c/kWh isn’t miniscule, it’s about on par with the minimum offered in most states, possibly higher than the average. Yes it’s horrendous when compared to even 2 years ago, and yes it’s lower than the maximum rates offered, but high rates are usually limited to 5/10 kW (PV) systems and/or the first 5-15 kWh exported each day, or even cancelling your plan if your average exceeds that threshold!

      As regards exporting 20 kWh to offset the daily supply charge, is this new? I’m on an older contract, but the new version of my plan requires about 17 kWh of exports before any grid power is purchased. You then need to export roughly 5.25 kWh for every 1 kWh you import – and this assumes the government doesn’t switch your solar system off as per articles here in which case your imports will soar. Should you have your AC on at the time and be thinking you’re relying on self consumption of own solar …

      No, as to whether solar no longer makes any sense, I definitely think an argument could be made. These days SQ argue the savings are made via self consumption not exports, but if you’re not at home to use the power when it’s generated i.e. during working hours, then your only benefit is exports. A battery will allow you to use energy outside these times, but batteries don’t yet make economic sense. And of course with banks now offering about 4% on savings and term deposits, it’s even harder to justify solar on anything other than a very long term residence.

      • I have a different view on what ‘economic sense’ might mean, with batteries. Yes if people want them to pay for themselves within their current standard warranty periods, it’s a marginal thing (mine will, but just, based on current prices). But take cars as an example, it would be cheaper for many people never to own one, to take a taxi everywhere they need to go. I once did that calculation and it would have worked out much cheaper to never buy a car, but just to hire or use taxis/ride share. But I own vehicles anyway, opportunity costs be damned, because I’m not at the whim of third parties to provide my transport. That’s a decision most people make too, and financially cars never pay for themselves, they’re money-sinks. At least a battery will start paying for itself at least in some ways, from the minute you install it. That puts it way ahead of a car, in financial terms. And with the flux in energy supply in the next 5 years, i think it’s a smart investment. In my case I’d have to pay that money for electricity anyway (without it), so financially it’s a draw, and I get the stability and control of my own supply.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      The draft decision is based on old contract prices which would have mostly been set a year or more ago before the huge rise in wholesale prices since May 2022. The actual solar feed-in tariff should be considerably higher, although Victoria won’t see the large increase QLD should. But the information Victoria’s Essential Services Commission provides does not mention this. Even if they wrote their conclusion a long time ago, they should update it now so people will know what to expect. (Maybe it’s worth writing in just to complain about that?)

      • George Kaplan says

        QLD should see FiT increases? I thought they SQ was saying they should occur last year, or even the year before last. Problem is the FiTs are going down not up.

        • Ronald Brakels says

          The solar feed-in tariffs homes receive this year are based on daytime electricity prices last financial year. (To be more precise, roughly from May through April.) Queensland solar households should receive a large increase in solar feed-in tariffs in July to reflect the high daytime wholesale prices so far this financial year.

        • Ronald Brakels says

          In Queensland there is retailer choice and electricity retailers can set solar feed-in tariffs at whatever level they like. This means you’ll have to shop around to find the best electricity plan. But in the Ergon network area, which is most of the state outside of the South East corner, Ergon has a solar feed-in tariff based on the daytime price of wholesale electricity and it increased 2.7 cents per kilowatt-hour last year. If your electricity retailer didn’t increase their solar feed-in tariff at the start of this financial year I suggest looking for one that did. At the time I did complain about major retailers not raising feed-in tariffs.

          Queenslanders should see a considerably larger solar feed-in tariff at the start of this financial year, but they may still have to shop around to get it.

          • Andrew Jonkers says

            Yes but changing provider should be much simpler than it is. Also the company (AGL) claimed the drop in tariff was mandated by government regulation. When pushed to show me this regulation they could not.

          • Ronald Brakels says

            I’m afraid the system is deliberately designed to prevent market forces from working at the consumer end and, as in your experience, flat out lying can occur.

            The ability of consumers to choose the best retailer for them could be greatly improved with a few simple changes. The fact they never happen suggests it’s not consumer benefit that drives the people making the rules.

          • George Kaplan says

            Ergon indeed offers a nice FiT (9.3c/kWh), but they’re a state owned enterprise, not private industry. Most of the SEQ offers are around the 5c/kWh mark, with limits on system size, PV size, and\or daily export limits.

            A relative in the zone recently went from an 18c/kWh FiT (old contract) to a 5 c/kWh FiT (latest offer) – there’s a premium for the first few kWh exported but it takes 17 kWh/day just to cover daily costs, then 5 or 6 kWh exported per every kWh imported. Note too that the premium offered used to cover the daily charges, but the latest revision means it no longer does.

            SEQ retailers seem to see rooftop solar as having no value, or even negative value, and keep tweaking their plans to get ever closer to the pre-solar model of folk having to pay quarterly energy bills instead of the old solar model where solar owners would earn thousands from electricity companies instead of paying. I understand the logic from the power companies perspective, but it’s not good news for solar owners or pro-solar types.

  5. Tim Falkiner says

    It sounds to me as though the regulations should be approved by the parliament.

  6. The 20A EV charge limit is stupid. Especially when you have solar. Like the article says, smart EV chargers would be a much better move.

    This sledgehammer to crack a nut routine on the solar is even more stupid. I keep looking at batteries and waiting for them to drop just a little bit – they are almost there. As soon as they do, I’ll be as good as off-grid. And with no GSD.

  7. John Attwood says

    Very simple question … what about installations with microinverters? Is this intended to be installed on each one?

  8. We currently have a >10kVa system (Tesla + microinvertor panels), which is sufficient for our current needs. If we get an EV, we’re considering an upgrade (ie. add further microinvertor panels to the existing system).

    How does this new regulation affect our sysytem as we don’t have a single invertor?

  9. John stuchbury says

    Is there any legal reason why I can’t have the Energex supply disconnected and run as an island with my battery. I am in Qld in Brisbane.

  10. Another JIM comments
    I have read your extremely technical story and comments as well as replies from users who appear to be very knowledgeable. So far so good. But then reality bites.
    I have no idea what the technicality actually means to what I have on my roof except it sounds like that once having been dragged into installing expensive solar panels (for a senior with a finite time and dollar limit) I am back to where I started, being charged whatever is in fashion in the political ‘non solution circus’ at this time.
    The only bright spot in all this is that I am trying to keep to the 4 rules stipulated as above but actually list 5.
    Anyway keep up the good work

    • These measures only apply on a small number of days, and will be phased out over time I think as the national grid is updated to allow easier distribution of surplus solar to the full network.

  11. The key is that the ‘beast system ‘ wants control. So they control you through these dumb measures. Read the book 1984 by Orwell again. And also ‘Animal Farm’ and you recognise what is happening.

  12. As a QLDer living in Sydney, this discourages me to consider moving back to my home state! What a dumb f@ck decision by Energy Queensland. Ok, throttle feed-in if you want, but don’t be preventing people from saving on their energy bills by stopping their solar production completely.

    This needs to get some media attention under the “Cost of living” theme. I bet Anastasia will review this if there’s enough media coverage.

  13. Proves that bureaucrats and politicians are both short sighted and of low intelligence…

    First message, “Everybody get solar.”

    Now, “Too much daytime solar, we must be able to switch it off when we need to, the grid’s not coping.”

    Now, “Everybody get an EV”.

    Next, “Too many EVs, the grids not coping!”

    Hot and cold.

    Never a slow and steady thought through plan.

    Only thinking of their next pay rise and/or the next election.

  14. If we’re running with the cake analogy, then it’s more that they want you to build a bakery and give them all your cake for free, until they’ve had enough cake, which is when they shut down your bakery and you and your family can’t have any cake either and you are forced to buy cake from their stockpile of cake at a lot more than you sold it to them for. Even though you paid for a whole bakery.

    • Yes, this is a much better cake analogy!

    • Pretty much echoes how I feel about it. The unintended consequences (for the energy networks) is they’ll force everyday folks into creative solutions that don’t benefit the grid. “Sustainable” and “renewable” don’t seem to be factored into their heavy-handed and self-interest, but I guess that’s nothing new.

      • I think this is all a transition until they re-jig the grid to allow wider distribution of all of the excess rooftop solar. That will probably take 5-10 years. One of the reasons I decided on a battery with my install, because i felt the next 5-10 years will be a good time to have your own storage, while they screw existing owners to retrofit the grid.

  15. Yesterday I had my feed-in tariff unilaterally more than halved. You can’t tell me the retailer/distributor had been making a loss on-selling my power for the last two years to necessitate this. How much profit is enough? The only way to get power back to the people is pay a premium to go off-grid and make them sit up and beg for you to supply again – an inefficient response for city-folk and large solar farms may make this strategy ineffective anyway. Eventually the Queensland government will try to make it illegal to not have a grid connection – and a high court decision will hopefully be required to slap them on the wrist and say no. The two party ballot box is of no use here with two wrong headed parties time-sharing the same half-a-mind between them on this issue.

    • “Eventually the Queensland government will try to make it illegal to not have a grid connection”

      100% and I fear that “eventually” is likely to be sooner rather than later.

      They’ll use some lame reasoning eg. “First Responders must know the property’s risk status” etc.

    • George Kaplan says

      Andrew, this is the fear a family member of mine already has. You already need to pay for water and sewerage even if not connected just because the service runs past your property and you thus potentially benefit. That’s a monopoly however. If you opted out of the electricity grid, which retailer would you pay to not be connected?

      • Andrew Jonkers says

        The electrical system business model has changed before, and it can change again. But most likely it would be implemented as a requirement to register any and all electricity production equipment be it on-grid or off-grid. With a mandatory yearly registration fee equal to the current daily charges for network maintenance.

        Or the grid can economically fail due to under subscription and it’s each to their own. But for humans in a city this is a pretty stupid outcome.

        Surely there is some middle ground here but I see little sign of our government taking interest in what this might look like.

        • George Kaplan says

          Mandating registration of solar systems and imposing a fee equal to daily grid charges would kill solar, at least for on-grid usage, and writing an exception for those who pay grid fees i.e. to avoid double dipping, would be challenged in court. I just don’t see that as a viable answer.

          Grid collapse due to under-subscription is entirely plausible, certainly for urban areas other than the cities. They don’t have enough demand to require their own (old school) power station, and many areas have more houses than not with solar, so individual or community batteries would be viable – at least until they needed to be disposed of, with maybe a tiny local grid. The sticking point would be any industrial facilities – I’ve no clue what their demand would entail, especially those that operate overnight.

          For (capital) cities however that rely on power imported from rural areas, and especially heavy industry areas, you’d need to ‘ship’ in power via high energy pylons – presumably via land ‘rented’ from farmers, meaning costs could rise, either directly to said industries, or to a residential grid that is a blend of off-grid houses, houses pumping solar into the grid, and those reliant on the grid for power. Oh and then there’s commercial. Are shopping centres with solar panel covered rooves net producers or consumers?

          Hmm complicated!!!

          • Andrew Jonkers says

            What I meant is that the daily grid charge goes away for on-grid. So everyone on-grid and off-grid registers equipment and pays registration fees. And in total the government raises revenue to pay for grid maintenance. At this point giving gov ideas is making me nauseous. Enough!

    • Ivan Colaco says

      Hi Andrew

      Time to join the Greens.

  16. GSD – turning off the inverter entirely – is peak stupidity – and will bite hard when implemented.

    Take a 5kW PV generation with a household load of 3kW and that is an export of 2kW.

    Turn that inverter off entirely and and, you go from 2kW export to 3kW import in a blink. for EVERY ACTIVATED HOUSEHOLD. Good luck with the Grid coping with that if they don’t carefully phase it.

    The tragedy is that the ‘people’ making these rules have no idea what they are doing. Dig a little and the old ‘cui bono’ will probably show not to many removes from the GSD manufacturer.

  17. I do enjoy these comments even though as an 81-year-old female most of it goes over my head! By osmosis though I am getting educated by reading them and some of them are really funny – the bakery one and the time sharing of half a mind really hit the mark. I will continue to read them and hope when I install solar panels this year I will have some inkling as to what I am doing. Keep up the good work. Kitty Ryan

  18. Everyone always dreamed of (because we were “sold” the idea of) “free” solar power, that would save us money, make us more independent from greedy energy companies, in control of our energy production/usage… Now that a lot of us jumped on that train, we got limits on how many panels we can put on the roofs, limits on how much we can export combined with pathetic feed in tariffs, and now we also get kill switches. Call me a conspiracy theorist but it looks like they are in control of our solar roofs, not us.

  19. Anthony, wondering if you disagree with any of:
    1. it would be even dumber not to implement a backstop
    2. the chance of any emergency backstop being triggered in Qld during the next three years is incredibly close to zero
    3. planned big batteries, evs, pumped hydro, qld’s growth and heavy industry will make a backstop event even less likely in later years
    4. in the course of a decade, the proportion of household pv generation in Qld curtailed by backstop events will be insignificant
    5. in a large, decentralised state, with relatively poor internet, GSD is likely to be more reliable and less susceptible to hacking and tampering.
    6. a cost-benefit analysis over the life of a system comparing GSD vs smart inverter would show no significant difference
    7. that needing to invoke a backstop event would be terrifing for power engineers, energy bureaucrats and politicians and is not in fact part of their hidden agenda
    8. backstop proposals are formulated by very smart, qualified power engineers responding to highly technical issues in a complicated, transitioning grid and not part of a government conspiracy
    9. it’s reasonable for the minority of pv owners who connect large systems to the grid and benefit to also bear some responsibilty for grid stabilty

    • Glen,
      I believe your item 8 is correct, it is a very complex system.
      We can complain about the implementations, but all Solar generators need to get use to more curtailment.
      Look at SA power generation with little coal/hydro:
      https://opennem.org.au/energy/nem/?range=7d&interval=30m
      On sunny windy day the price is negative for much of the day which probably means curtailment is happening.
      Tasmania rarely has negative prices because it is hydro based not solar/wind.

      A common set up here in WA is 6.6kW solar with a 5kW inverter, is a 25% which is also curtailment.

      Dave

    • Anthony Bennett says

      Glen you make some good points :
      1.YES, but SAPN recently showed that running the grid voltage up has the same effect without needing to mandate further expense and complexity. Queensland’s fleet of inverters is younger than South Australia’s and so more of them will respond to 258+ volts

      2. NO, as I understand it the grid in Queensland has slightly higher penetration of solar than South Australia, where the “smarter homes” minimum demand mechanism has been used a number of times since it was introduced in 2020.

      3. YES and so does the better interconnection with NSW (a net importer) make it less likely right now… but NSW is also building renewables.

      4. Number of hours or number of kilowatt hours? Both may be low but the significance is the signal sent to the consumers, who may decide to defect from the grid altogether because they -perceive- that the grid is ripping them off.

    • Anthony Bennett says

      5.YES and NO. I’m not qualified enough in cyber security. Will 100 000 inverters with 10 different brands of interface offer greater redundancy than a handful(?) of centrally controlled network (devices which might be better secured) My first hand experience says customer owned WiFi isn’t the most reliable but it seems to be the fastest way to enact the controls. Speed in deployment has been a priority.

      6. NO, proper dynamic control will mean arbitrary 5kW export limits are no longer the default, so larger systems will be able to export more and most importantly they’ll do it for for more of the time

    • Anthony Bennett says

      8.YES, these engineers are the fairly conservative types we rely upon to run these things for us. Conservatism doesn’t like change, proven by the historic tendency for Qld to insist large systems are set for zero export. ie a 100kWp generator on a school contributes nothing outside the school grounds because it’s been put in the too hard basket. I expect these engineers would be the ones who’ve got the ear of government/ministers, they seem to have gone for the quick and dirty fix. The puzzling part is they’ve had smarter solutions planned before now, but maybe the rollout has been too slow & now someone has blinked in the face of some dire warnings? It would be fascinating to have answers to the conjecture.

      9.YES but the massively heavy duty grid has basically been built to satisfy the needs ofair conditioners, yet we don’t see “peaksmart” being -mandated- for those customers. For those willing to invest their own money in generation assets, which reduce peak load and transmission losses, it’s a bit rich for them to be penalised for installing the large systems that generate more energy, especially when we need more output at each end of the day.

      Cheers for the reasoned response though.

  20. Having 32A socket in QLD is allowed so cars have to be charged by either portable EVSE or things such as Wall Connector have to be wired via plug and socket, not directly.

  21. What’s stopping us from disconnecting the Ethernet connection to the inverter?

  22. Can someone help with my scenario: I have a Sungrow inverter that is technically 9.99kw so I avoided the GSD. It’s not a hybrid inverter. I am looking at potentially installing a powerwall2 which has a built in inverter. Would that built in inverter be counted towards the aggregate inverter size triggering a need for a GSD? Everything I read from Energy Queensland says if I increase my total inverter size, I will need to have a GSD installed on the new inverters (but not the existing one) – but since the inverter is inbuilt to the powerwall2 is this even possible?

    • Anthony Bennett says

      Hi Julia,

      You’ll need to consult your DNSP but the rules as we understand them are mentioned here

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/grid-connection/qld/

      The GSD device is designed to curtail solar output so as far as I know it’s not applicable to a battery inverter, however the two systems would need to be integrated so that the overall site export limit remains 5kW.

      The GSD device is rendered obsolete if you elect to take up flexible/dynamic export limiting however we would need to ask if or how the integration works between the inverters and what software client is used to talk to the network.

      • Yes under the DNSP for SEQ it doesn’t seem a problem: (Single phase: 10 kW solar inverter limit + 10 kW battery inverter limit, 5 kW fixed export limit. (SWER limit = 15 kW solar inverter + 15 kW battery inverter))

        And yes I’m aware of the export limit.

        Just looking at the options to have a battery without the need to add the GSD – since I avoided it in the first place. I can’t seem to find a definitive answer but have emailed Energex to ask as well.

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