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Distributors — Who & Where They Are and How That Affects You

What follows is State specific for Victoria


When looking at solar for your property, you may find that your location can affect the size of system you are allowed atop your home.


Turning on where you live, your home falls into a network distribution zone. This is arranged on the basis of your house’s proximity to the nearest grid. Whichever company owns that grid and the power lines along the streets you drive down on your way home, is your distributor.


They own, operate and otherwise maintain the poles and wires that constitute the

infrastructure that makes grid-to-home power possible.


The principle in the past was to build monumental generators that sent out unidirectional

electricity from the grid to houses. They were not designed with the expectation of ever

having power coming from the homes into the grid. This is the primary cause for size

restrictions on solar systems in certain areas.


As the transition in the energy market to renewables proceeds apace (Fate and government permitting), the grids will be adapted to better bidirectional electrical flow for future. It’s all upwards and onwards! Ideally...


There are special approvals as well in the event that the case can be made the home

will not benefit except by a bigger sized array. These take time, but can be carried out

successfully.


Some distributors have relented recently on their minimum size of array allowable and

also on the rigour of their approval process.


Meet the Distributors


Powercor Australia — Western suburbs and Western Victoria


AusNet Services — Outer Northern and Eastern suburbs and Eastern Victoria


United Energy Distribution — Southern suburbs and Mornington peninsula


Citipower — City and inner suburbs


Jemena — Northern and North-Western suburbs


What’s Permitted By Which


In order as above listed,


Powercor Australia — Single-phase (1P) property - 5KW (inverter);

3-phase (3P) - 30KW (10KW per phase)


AusNet Services — 1P - 5KW (inverter);

3P - 15KW


United Energy Distribution — 1P - 10KW;

3P - 30KW (10KW per phase);

Both battery inverter inclusive

[Note: all batteries require an inverter in addition to the one

paired with the PV array in a standard solar install]


Citipower — Same as Powercor


Jemena — 1P - 10KW (inverter);

3P - 30KW (10KW per phase);

Both battery inverter inclusive


Navigating Necessity


If it turns out to be the demonstrably the case that the ordinary restrictions will

completely and utterly undercut the viability of a solar install for the home, there are

options. This is discernible based on average consumption, information readily available

in your electric bill.


If the margin isn’t massive, a 6.0KW can be facilitated by slightly oversizing the panels

relative to the inverter. It is a running, endless and mostly mystifying debate among

installers as to whether this may not actually be better as a matter of course rather than

just a simple solution to iron out a slight PV production-to-consumption imbalance.


If the margin is significant, the restrictions can be appealed in the case of United and

AusNet .


Fees are involved, but often the solar retailer will wear it.


It takes time too.


You will certainly be waiting more than a month or two should you have to take this

route. In the author’s professional past experience, you do tend to win the approval if

you can be patient while your solar retailer is politely persistent.


Why not find out what size suits your home now? Be in touch with a friendly, informative

and helpful Astra Consultant today.

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