Important Update on Solar Installations

There has been much discussion within the industry of late regarding the installation of photovoltaic (solar) systems. The issues of note surround grid connection of PV systems, feed-in tariffs and secure installation of systems.

Now this is welcoming news because solar panels are quite important for every household as it helps to save electricity but photovoltaic solar systems are quite technical terms for a common person to understand so we are going to keep the discussion in simple language because even the nearest electrician near me needs counseling over certain issues.

In Victoria the electricity distribution companies have admitted there have been delays in the connection of PV systems to the electricity grid. The major reason has been the dramatic increase in the number of systems that need to be connected – largely driven by the federal government’s rebate scheme. In many instances a second truck call out has been required. This can be addressed by the retailer informing the distribution company of the customers desire to apply for a Premium Feed-in Tariff (PFiT) or a Standard Feed-in Tariff (SFiT).

In each state customer’s can a State Government feed-in tariff. If a customer chooses to do this they need to be informed of the possibility of losing their current off peak tariffs. For example electric hot water tariff, slab heating tariff and Climate Saver tariffs.

It is vital a customer is made aware that connecting as a PFiT customer may affect their current tariffs. This is why contractors should advise the customer to contact their electricity retailer at the beginning of the process. The customer can then make an informed decision.

In some stated the alternative to being connected as a PFiT customer is to be connected as a SFiT customer. This can allow a customer to retain existing tariffs while still returning excess power to the grid. Under this scheme most retailers will compensate the customer on a one for one basis. This again is why it is important to make initial contact with the retailer.

Contractors should not make calculations on the payback period of a solar system without knowing what type of Feed-in tariff structure the customer chooses and what tariff(s), if any, the customer may lose.

The Clean Energy Council (CEC) also has guidelines for the installation of solar array which must be adhered to and the solar installer must be accredited by CEC in order for the customer to receive the government rebate. Australian Standards AS/NZS 3000:2007 and AS/NZS 4777 also set the requirements for correct installations.

If you have any further questions regarding this information feel free to contact us or the relevant organisation.