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Australia’s Regulation to Remotely Control Solar Rooftop System raises the Hackles of some

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The Australian energy market operator has brought in a regulation by which it will be able to remotely control the operation of private rooftop solar systems using smart inverters which it has made mandatory for installation of new rooftop solar systems. Australia has one of the highest per capita installations of rooftop solar systems with a new system getting installed almost every 6 minutes. Rooftop solar took off in Australia in the early part of the decade thanks to generous feed-in tariff subsidies given by different state governments like New South Wales.

Even though the feed-in tariffs reduced in scale and value, the growth of rooftop solar continued unabated as the sharp continuous fall in the prices of solar equipment more than made up for the fall in the feed-in tariff values of power. The oligopolistic structure of the power market in Australia means that the grid prices of electricity are quite high making rooftop solar quite attractive economically for all Australian consumers.

Rooftop Project

However, the sharp continuous growth of solar energy (now ground mounted as well) has meant that grid integration of the intermittent solar energy requires investments in the transmission and distribution infrastructure as well as storage both in front and behind the meter to absorb the increasing amounts of solar energy. It is predicted that almost 75% of Australia’s power consumption can come from renewable energy by 2025. The Australian market operator to protect the stability of the grid especially during the afternoon hours wants to control the systems so that during a sudden surge of supply, it can disconnect the rooftop solar systems. This makes good sense until you consider the fact that the Australian energy operator could make investments in the storage and other systems to protect the grid.

Other countries such as Germany which also have a very high penetration of both distributed and centralized renewable energy do not use smart inverters on rooftop solar systems to control individual private rooftop solar systems. Instead, Germany has pioneered and refined many technologies and systems which would integrate large amounts of renewable energy without compromising the grid system. These include better forecasting and scheduling, storage technologies, better transmission and distribution infrastructure and retrofitting technologies on coal plants so that they can operate at lower capacities.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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