Networks unveil “safe and fair” rooftop solar, battery connection standards

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Energy Networks Australia releases first of standardised guidelines to govern “safe, consistent and efficient” installation of rooftop solar and storage across NEM.

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Standardised guidelines to govern the “safe, consistent and efficient” installation of rooftop solar and storage across Australia’s National Electricity Market have been released by Energy Networks Australia.

The National Connection Guidelines, said the ENA on Thursday, mark the first nationally consistent approach for the installation of distributed energy resources, and – in this instance – address low voltage connections for household, commercial and industrial applications.

The guidelines come just over a year after standardising and streamlining the connection of next generation technology was identified as a key priority by networks, customers and industry stakeholders.

“The Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap finds that almost two-thirds of customers will have distributed energy resources by 2050 and network service providers could buy grid support in a network optimisation market worth $2.5 billion per year,” said ENA CEO Andrew Dillon at the time.

The Finkel Review also identified a number of challenges associated with integration of distributed energy resources (DER), which would require modernised connection standards and uniform control mechanisms to strengthen system security.

In comments on Thursday, Dillon said Thursday’s guidelines were about safe, consistent and efficient grid connections to help reduce costs for networks and customers.

“With so many households embracing solar and new personalised energy sources, these guidelines will ensure connection processes are streamlined and consistently applied across all jurisdictions,” he said.

And with the latest raft of state rooftop solar policy incentives driving distributed PV uptake more than ever, and a home battery market set to boom, the guidelines have certainly come at an important time.

But whether they will achieve their ultimate goal – as Dillon described it, to streamline installations and reduce costs for networks and customers – remains to be seen.

The Networks body said work was underway to produce the next set of guidelines to address medium voltage (MV) and high voltage (HV) connections within the distribution system. These guidelines are expected to be released later this year.

The two clean energy bodies in Australia were not immediately available for comment. RE will update this story with responses from industry as they become available.

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