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I want solar

If you want to generate electricity with solar on your own property, here’s how to get started, what to expect and what your responsibilities are.

 

 

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Speak to your energy retailer

Your energy retailer is your first point-of-call when it comes to using electricity or generating it back into the grid. They can explain how your tariff will change.


Choose a solar retailer/installer

Handy tip: the Clean Energy Council (CEC) has lists of accredited solar retailers and installers. Hire one who can install your system and talk to us about your needs.

Use the CEC website to find help setting up your solar generation



 

Timelines and process

 
0
Research your solar set-up
As long as you need
1
Get pre-approval
Up to 65 business days
2
Solar is installed
Usually 1-3 weeks
3
Now you are generating electricity
  • 1. Research your solar set-up

    Location

    Make sure your roof has access to as much daylight as possible. Your installer should be able to give you advice about how to set up your system to get the most out of it.


    Your Energy Usage

    Look at how much electricity you’ve used over the past year. Also check out your daily patterns of use. You can find this on your bills, through your retailer or through AusNet Services’ myHomeEnergy portal. If you use a lot of electricity during the day, then solar is perfect for you. If you’re more of a night time user, batteries can help you out. They store the energy made when it’s sunny so you can use it later.


    The Equipment







     

    The grid is the network of electricity poles and wires that moves power to you and all of your neighbours.

    Solar panels are called photovoltaics (PVs) in the industry. They usually go on your roof and collect sunlight to convert it to electricity.

    Inverters take the energy from the PVs and turn it into electricity you can use. Sometimes they push the energy you don’t use, or store, into the grid for others to use.

    Batteries save the electricity for use later. They might also be able to move excess energy into the grid.

    Electricity meters measure how much electricity you take from the grid. They can also record how much you’ve generated that goes into the grid. Your energy retailer uses that data to calculate your bill.


    Your network tariff will change

    When you install solar and start generating, we transfer you to our Solar Time of Use tariff, which means you are charged differently at different times of the day. It is different from the tariff you are currently on, even if you are on a Time of Use tariff now.

    Your energy retailer might also need to change how they charge you. Check with them about how solar will effect your bill.

     

     

    Peak Rates
    7am-11pm Monday-Friday


    Helpful Resources

    • Find out what to expect when installing solar through the Victorian government’s renewable energy website. They'll also guide you through tariff changes.
    • DELWP is the government department responsible for state policies about renewable energy.
    • Sustainability Victoria gives good advice on ways to reduce your energy use at home.
    • CHOICE has reviews and consumer advice for people looking at solar.
    • Clean Energy Council can point you towards solar retailers and installers who will be able to manage the whole installation and transition for you.
  • 2. Get pre-approval

    Before you finalise your purchase and install your system, we need to check the network in your location to ensure that you can safely connect solar and batteries, and feed energy into the grid. Generally, your installer will do this for you.

    In some circumstances, you might not be able to export everything you plan to. It depends on the strength of the grid in your area, the size of your system and what everyone else is already doing.

    Once you have pre-approval, you have 65 days to install the system.

    There are two paths to pre-approval:


    1. Automatic pre-approval   

    We have an automatic pre-approval calculator that can be used to determine what you can connect to the grid. This tool works out how much energy is being generated from other buildings in your area, and then calculates how much you can safely connect to the grid at your property.

    Your solar installer will probably do this for you. Most systems are eligible for auto pre-approval, but as more and more solar is connected to the grid, we need to check what things are like in your area as the network is constantly changing.

     

       Costs

        $0.00

        (free)
     

    Time frame

    Instant, if accepted

     

     

    2. Manual pre-approval

    When systems are a little more complicated, we need to do these checks manually. For example, this would be the case if you want to generate more than 5kW per phase, or if there is limited capacity in your area. 

     

    Costs

    155.66

    (exc. GST) for systems up to 15kW

    $206.37
    (excl. GST) for systems over 15kW and up to 30kW

     

    Time frame

    Up to 65 business days

    For these we need more details. There’s a form for your installer to fill out that describes the system you’ve chosen and what you already have on site. The installer also gives us a diagram showing how they plan to connect the system to the grid.


    The costs are charged to you or your installer, depending on what you’ve negotiated. Fees must be paid before we can start assessing the plan.

    We’ll provide an answer about how much you are able to install at your property as soon as possible, but the assessment will take no more than 65 business days. 

    We are committed to the safety of our customers, which can often require a thorough investigation of these systems. Thank you for your patience in advance.

    Note If you wish to:

    • remove part of an existing system only, or;
    • add/remove solar panels or batteries in your system

    Please return this form to solar.connections@ausnetservices.com.au 

     
  • 3. Solar is installed

    Now everything is set up to start generating your own electricity and maybe feed some back into the grid. But there’s a few small things before you do.


    Safety inspection

    Your installer needs to organise a safety inspection. Energy Safe Victoria is a government department that makes sure all new electrical work is within the regulations. They provide a certificate of electrical safety (CES ) that your installer and the safety inspector need to complete.


    Post-Installation Form

    Your installer needs to complete the post-installation form. This is to confirm what has been installed on-site and capture additional details about the system.

    Paperwork goes to your retailer

    You or your installer should send the required paperwork to your electricity retailer:

    • Certificate of Electrical Safety (CES),
    • Electrical Works Request (EWR)

     
    Meter adjustment

    If you have a smart meter, we can update it remotely. Once all your paperwork is submitted, your electricity retailer will contact us to update your meter

    Your meter measures the energy you use. We update it to also measure how much you export back to the grid. 

     

     

    Costs


    (for smart meters)
     

    Time frame

    Within 10 business days for smart meter

    As part of this, we update your account to a Solar Time of Use tariff. That means changes to how your electricity will be billed.

    You and your energy retailer should have negotiated a feed-in tariff. That’s the money you get paid for exporting electricity back to the grid.

     

    $335.00

    (is a visit is required)
     

    Within 20 business days for truck visit - this will be arranged with you

    Without updating your meter, that feed-in tariff isn’t possible.

    The associated costs are charged to your energy retailer.They might pass them on to you.

     
  • 4. Now you’re generating electricity

     

    Turning on your inverter

    After we update your meter, we will send you a text message.

    The text message says:

    We have updated your meter so you can now switch on your solar energy system. Go to our website for info on making the most of it. – From AusNet Services

    Then you can switch on the inverter. Your solar installer should have shown you how to do this.

    DER Register

    Your data is sent to the AEMO DER register to help:
    • Improve network planning and investment in the grid
    • Enhance power system reliability
    • Enable companies like us to provide a better customer experience

     

    Responsible Generation

    Go to the "I have solar" section of the website to:

    • get help understanding your bill
    • learn what to do if there’s a problem with your system
    • find out the right way to make improvements or upgrades to your set-up, like adding a battery.