Flexible exports: It looks like the future of rooftop solar for households

Flexible solar exports is the future

A new trial funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency will investigate  how smart controls and communications can allow network companies to dynamically control rooftop solar exports, subject to local conditions and what is happening elsewhere in the grid.

The ARENA trial, which will be conducted in Victoria and South Australia,  builds on a concept considered essential for networks to manage the future grid, and to avoid static and sometimes arbitrary limits being placed on exports from solar households due to local constraints.

The idea behind dynamic or flexible exports is that it will free up all households to export solar power, but the amount they will be allowed to export will vary from time to time, depending on the supply and demand balance and other network-side factors.

Starting next April, the trials will be led in South Australia by SA Power Networks, and in Victoria by AusNet Services. Both utilities will team up with a range of inverter and other technology providers including Fronius, Solar Edge, SMA and SwitchDin.

“We think we can double the amount of rooftop solar in the local grid by 2025 without investing in any new capacity,” SAPN spokesman Paul Roberts told RenewEconomy.

“We want more solar, not less,” Roberts added in a statement. “SA Power Networks is passionate about supporting South Australia’s energy transition and this is one of a number of initiatives we have underway that have the potential to double the amount of renewable energy the SA electricity distribution network can accommodate over the next five years.”