Network operator AusNet Services has canvassed the imposition of hefty connection fees – in the “hundreds of dollars” – for rooftop solar installations in Victoria if they cause the need for grid upgrades.
The proposal arose in a series of consultations that AusNet has conducted with a consumer panel, which is looking to the future of network charges.
The proposal has raised eyebrows and concerns in some quarters, because AusNet’s networks have a relatively low penetration of rooftop solar (mid to high teens in terms of per cent) compared to areas in South Australia and Queensland (more than 30 per cent) – so it should have additional capacity.
This, however, will likely to change should the state Labor government be returned and continue with its policy of providing generous rebates that aim to install 2.6GW of rooftop solar on another 650,000 homes in the state.
Currently, Victoria has around 1.4GW of rooftop solar, on about 300,000 homes.
AusNet says networks will be upgraded to cater for the extra rooftop solar, where there is an economic case to do so.
But where it does occur, it wants the new customers to pay for it.