SAPN Reviews Position On Solar Inverter Replacements Under Warranty

SAPN and solar inverters

In light of an inverter rule change in South Australia kicking in from September this year, SA Power Networks has altered its requirements relating to like-for-like solar inverter replacements carried out under warranty.

The SA Government’s consultation period for proposed new South Australian electricity meter and inverter rules finished up last month – a process that pretty much flew under the radar. The proposed changes relating to solar inverters included new inverters connected to the grid needing to meet new low voltage ride-through requirements. This involves verification inverters can remain in continuous operation during brief undervoltage disturbances.

This and other changes, part of a State Government push to create “smarter homes” in South Australia, were met with criticism from both the CEC and Smart Energy Council given the tight timelines involved for implementation.

The Australian Energy Market Operator has since published its low voltage ride-through test procedure for inverters. This meant that as things stood early last week, no inverter could be installed in South Australia from September1 unless it has passed this testing procedure. Richard covered various issues relating to the ride-through test procedure requirement here.

Like-For-Like Inverter Replacements Under Warranty

This situation would have also affected like-for-like inverter replacements carried out under warranty, as all inverter replacements are required by SA Power Networks to comply with current technical standards. But SAPN announced last week it has reviewed its position after feedback from industry – and no doubt it received a lot of that.

“We appreciate this compounds the potential impact on installers and equipment manufacturers in light of the new Government regulatory reforms,” SAPN stated.

In response, SAPN says as of last Thursday the like-for-like warranty replacement of an inverter in a small scale system will not be required to be compliant with SA Power Network’s current Technical Standards unless the capability exists within the replacement inverter. In that situation, the inverter’s settings must be updated to the current standard and this particularly applies to settings related to power quality response mode. SAPN notes replacement inverters must still comply with all necessary safety standards and requirements.

Like-for-like warranty replacement is defined as an inverter being from the same manufacturer and the same model. SAPN says its Technical Standards will be updated to reflect its new position at the next release. The current Technical Standards were published in May last year.

Further information on SAPN’s change of position on like-for-like inverter replacements under warranty can be found here.

Footnotes

  1. The Clean Energy Council notes a date of 28 September
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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