Solar Power System Grid Connection Processes & Rules – State By State

Before a small scale solar power system can be installed and connected at your home or business and then subsequently switched on after the installation, there are a series of steps that must be completed involving you, your solar installer, your network distributor (see below), electricity retailer and in some cases, other parties.

While this may sound a little daunting, your own involvement in the grid connection process could be minimal, with the other parties undertaking most of the work.

The steps  vary from state to state and it’s good to know how it all should work. Click below for further information on solar power system grid connection processes, rules and inverter size limits in your state or territory – but also refer to the important general notes below.

What Is An Electricity Distributor – And Which Is Mine?

While most Australians would know who their electricity retailer is, many may not be aware of their distributor – or even what one does.

An electricity distributor, also known as a Distributed Network Service Provider (DNSP), is the entity that owns and maintains an electricity network. There are different distributors in each Australian state and territory, and in some cases different distributors provide services in different parts of a state.

A DNSP plays an important role in the grid connection of solar power systems in each state and territory – so you’ll need to know who yours is.

The following table indicates the various electricity distributors around Australia. Clicking on the DNSP’s link will take you to a page showing the electricity distributor’s inverter limit rules and the solar grid connect process.

State/Territory Distributors Region
ACT EvoEnergy ACT
  Essential Energy ACT (limited area)
NSW Essential Energy Regional NSW
  Ausgrid Northern Sydney
  Endeavour Energy South-west of Sydney
NT PowerWater NT
QLD Energex South-east Queensland
  Ergon Energy Regional Queensland
SA SA Power Networks South Australia
TAS TasNetworks Tasmania
VIC CitiPower Melbourne CBD
  Powercor Western Victoria
  Jemena Western inner Melbourne
  AusNet Eastern Victoria
  United Energy South-east Melbourne and Mornington Pensinsula
WA Western Power Western Australia South of Kalbarri (SWIS)
  Horizon Power Rural stand-alone networks, including the Pilbara

General Notes On The Grid Connection Process

The grid connection process is often a paperwork-heavy one, with multiple parties involved. One of the most common complaints we hear is in relation to installers filling in paperwork incorrectly, or documents being “lost” by the retailer or distributor. A glitch in the paperwork process can cost valuable time, not to mention the frustration it can create.

While in some states, the customer doesn’t have much of a hands-on role in completing paperwork required for the grid-connection of a solar power system, the customer should keep his/her finger on the pulse of the process. If things are taking longer than they should – enquire rather than just assume that everything is okay and on track.

When you purchase your system, it will likely have been accompanied by an up-front discount – Australia’s solar subsidy; aka the solar rebate. This subsidy is based on Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs). As part of the grid connection process, you will be required to sign over your STCs, but not until such time that the system installation is complete to the point where it is able to generate electricity, even if it is not connected to the meter. 

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