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Smarter Homes Regulation now in effect

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With the SA Government Smarter Homes regulation amendments now in effect, here is an update.

This update follows Industry News - Supported technologies as a Relevant Agent. 

Monday 28 September 2020 marked the beginning of SA Government’s “Smarter Homes” Regulations, where all customers installing or upgrading solar systems in South Australia are required to appoint a Relevant Agent who will be responsible for disconnecting and reconnecting the system during State electricity security emergencies.  

Brendon Hampton, Manager Network Strategy at SA Power Networks, believes the industry has adapted to the changes well. 

“With tight timeframes to deliver Relevant Agent capabilities, we’ve seen the industry, solar retailers, technology providers and installers, all pull together to help each other out,” said Brendon. 

“It hasn’t been without it’s challenges, as we continue to work through this significant transition with stakeholders. However, we understand the considerable unique challenges facing South Australia as the world leader in the adoption of distributed energy, and the need to move to smarter solar systems to enable customers to continue to install systems, ensure a safe and reliable network service and the continued prosperity of the solar industry in South Australia.” 

It’s now been several weeks since the new regulations came into effect, and SA Power Networks have received several commonly asked questions.  

Q&As


How do I install equipment correctly? 

You will need to contact the technology provider or manufacturer on how to install products. Where systems include multiple inverters, technology providers and/or manufacturers may have additional configuration requirements. We have included links where possible below to manufacturer’s details. 

Who is responsible for making sure the system is working? 

As the installer, you are responsible to ensure the system is commissioned so that it complies with the new regulation requirements, allowing the nominated Agent to perform the remote disconnection/reconnection activity. 

How do I select a Relevant Agent if my application was submitted prior to 28 September?  

You can tell us who your Agent is using this standalone form: Retrospective Relevant Agent Nomination Form.

How do I know which Agent to choose? 

There are a range of Agents to choose from. You need to select an Agent that supports the technology you are installing. You can find a list of Agents, their contact details and a list of supported technologies on the OTR website.

How do I nominate SA Power Networks as an Agent? 
You will nominate the Relevant Agent at three points:

  1. When completing the solar application form, select SA Power Networks as the Relevant Agent along with a supported technology  
  2. As part of installation, ensure the system is connected to the internet and the technology provider's online portal in accordance with the technology provider’s installation instructions 
  3. When completing the eCoC, select SA Power Networks as the Relevant Agent along with the supported technology 

My customer has no access to an internet service, what can I do? 

There are smart metering options that might work for your customer, provided the metering solution can be installed with adequate access to communications. If you cannot find a solution that meets the remote disconnect/reconnect capability requirements, you may need to consider a zero-export system to be exempt from the Relevant Agent requirement.  

If I am adding a PV inverter at a site with an existing system does the existing system need to be able to be remotely disconnected as well?

No, only solar generation installed after the 28th of September 2020 will need to be able to be remotely disconnected. So while the new PV system must be able to be remotely disconnected, the existing system does not. 

Existing systems are required to be able to be remotely disconnected only when a declared component is replaced. Currently this means that if an existing inverter is replaced the existing system must be able to be remotely disconnected. Warranty inverter replacements (defined as equipment with the same manufacturer and model) are exempt from this requirement.

I submitted my application prior to 10 August 2020, but my system is not yet connected. Does my system need to be able to remotely disconnect? 

Yes, applications submitted prior to 10 August are only exempt from the Voltage Ride Through capability requirement. 

I am only installing a battery inverter and battery; do I need to select a Relevant Agent? 

No, if the only addition to the system is a battery you do not need to select a Relevant Agent. To facilitate this please look for the “I am only installing a battery” option on the Relevant Agent page of the SEG application form. 

Please note, if any Solar equipment such as an inverter and panels are being installed, as well as the battery, you will need to select a Relevant Agent for the Solar system. 

How can my company become a Technology Provider with you as an Agent?  

 If you would like to explore suitability to partner with us, please email us at: smarterhomes@sapowernetworks.com.au 

As the Agent, how are you going to turn off the system?  

Once instructed to disconnect generation by AEMO or the Government, SA Power Networks (acting as an Agent) will communicate with our Technology Providers to fulfil the request. 

Smarter Homes image RN DN

In November we plan to host an industry webinar to provide insights and learnings as well as give an opportunity for questions. We hope to have various stakeholders as part of the panel. If you would like to register your interest in attending the webinar, or have questions you’d like to submit to be answered ahead of time, please do so via this link.

More information: 

Submit your question via our online form or call 13 12 61 during business hours.

 

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