DER Compliance Frequently Asked Questions
Installer / Retailer
Our goal is to increase the amount of solar on the network, but we need to ensure this is done safely. We need all DER systems to be complaint so we can support the State and the continued growth of the solar industry.
In order to continue connecting DER to the network, DER needs to be 'smart' and able to interact with the energy system. This is driving changes to standards and the connections process, requiring new capabilities from the solar industry and increasing the importance of compliance of systems to these standards.
SA Power Networks has been proactively working with solar retailers and installers for some time and have seen improvements in achieving compliance. To further help achieve compliance, we're introducing the automated compliance management process.
On May 19th 2023 the automated compliance management feature went live. If your compliance percentage is under 90% you will be given automated warnings over a 21 day period urging you to fix your compliance level. If your compliance rating does not increase to or above 90% after 21 days, you will be blocked from submitting further applications.
If you make sure that every approved application is closed out in SmartInstall, you will not enter the automated warning process and you can continue to submit SEG applications. Your non-compliant approvals are visible in SmartApply along with your compliance percentage.
Yes, the same automated compliance management feature with the three-warning and blocking process will apply to the Flexible Exports non-compliant applications (installations that are not closed out, installations where the device has not been registered for Flexible Exports, and installations where a capability test has failed or not been completed).
Device registration is the registering of the customers NMI and device with SA Power Networks required to establish communications to a site, and for the site to receive a flexible export limit. The process differs for the specific manufacturer and inverter you are installing, but is usally done through the manufacturers app. Refer to your inverter manufacturer for more information on this process.
If your compliance percentage has remained below 90% after receiving three warnings over a 21 day period, your ability to submit new SEG applications has been blocked. To remove the block you will need to close our your non-compliant applications in order to raise your percentage above 90%.
You can filter your non-compliant approvals through the SmartApply dashboard.
The Capability test is a short test to confirm whether Flexible Exports sites are configured and operating correctly while you are on site. The test is a mandatory requirement of the SA Government Dynamic Export regulations and therefore is a condition of DER Compliance.
After careful consideration we decided a higher compliance percentage will reinforce the fundamental shift in behaviour we are seeking. A compliance target of 90% allows for human error and circumstances beyond the retailers control which may prevent them from reaching full compliance. We have done investigations into the current compliance levels and half of all users are already achieving over 90% compliance, showing that sustaining this threshold is possible.
All applications submitted via SmartApply that have evidence of installation will be included in your compliance percentage. Those applications without a successful close-out in SmartInstall will be flagged as non-compliant and will impact your overall compliance percentage.
It is the responsibility of each solar retailer to ensure that their employees and contractors are keeping up with compliance standards and following the correct processes. You are ultimately responsible for the compliant install of the systems that you sell. Please ensure your installers are aware of the roles and responsibilities, and the process for DER Compliance.
The goal of the automated compliance management feature is to increase the number of closed out applications in SmartInstall. It would therefore be counterintuitive to reduce the accessibility of SmartInstall. We believe the foundational key to increase DER Compliance is through training and awareness, which is why this is our first step in the compliance management process.
Further information can be found on the SEG DER Compliance Quick Reference Guide.
At this stage the installer will need to retrieve each site using the NMI and Meter ID, but we are working towards an upgrade in future that will allow the SmartApply applicant to assign the application to the installer, ensuring it is visible on their SmartInstall dashboard upon login.
Access for SmartInstall needs to be requested and only registered electricians will have SmartInstall access granted. This is to ensure that the person that was physically on site installing the system is the one closing out the application in SmartInstall. If there are particular circumstances that are preventing your installer from using SmartInstall we strongly recommend you reach out to the New Energy Services team to discuss your options.
There are legal implications for sharing applications across multiple users of the same domain. We are investigating the rules and requirements of such a function for a possible future update, but it is not something we are able to provide at this stage.
As a user of SmartApps, your T's & C's require you to use our tools in an appropriate manner. SmartApply accounts are monitored and access to SmartApps will be removed if you are seen to be making multiple accounts.
An STC and SmartInstall are both different forms used for different companies and purposes, and therefore integration is not achievable at this time.
If the equipment installed by another company has not been commissioned in SmartInstall it can hinder your application. If you do have any of these applications at this time please reach out to the New Energy Service team. In the meantime, we are working towards an automated fix for this issue.
The Selectronic SP pros aren't available for selection in SmartApply at the moment because the VDRT capability is not certified by CEC. We have engaged in extensive discussions with Selectronic manufacturers to ensure the approved connection requirements for stand-alone inverters with grid input are finalized. We are working on a way to differentiate between the Selectronics and regular grid connected inverters in SmartApply so they can be selected, with some extra requirements agreed to up front.
If you require any further information or want to know more about how you can get an approval for a Selectronic, please contact the New Energy Services team.
If you are altering a site in any way, the equipment will need to be brought to the current standards including Relevant Agent, export limiting, dynamic capability, and for Flexible Exports.
No Relevant Agent is required for the Flexible Exports customers, but they will require an internet connection for the Flexible Registration to work.
All other installations will need to nominate the appropriate Relevant Agent, and, if required, sites using metering for the remote disconnection function will need to be wired in accordance with current standards.
There are Relevant Agent metering options for customers who do not have the internet. More information can be found on the Relevant Agent FAQ page.
SmartInstall close outs can be done on site from a phone, tablet or laptop, or once you are back in a location with internet.
We are working on a staged approach to manage DER Compliance. Our initial focus has been to ensure all installations are closed out in SmartInstall. As we continue to tackle DER compliance we plan to extend our automated non-compliance detection capability to include additional focus areas (Flexible Exports, Export Limits and Power Quality Settings).
While we hope to continue all compliance management within the SmartApps, we are still working through how some of these future focus areas will be managed.