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Update to Small Embedded Generation technical standard TS-129

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The reviewed version has been published and is available to view .

To ensure the installation of Small Embedded Generation (SEG) meets the change in SA Government requirements and Australian Standards, we have reviewed our TS-129. The reviewed version has been published and is available to view. Please read and familiarise yourself with this document. 

Below we have outlined the four main changes made to the standard, as they have a direct impact on the installation of new or upgraded systems.  

Capacity unit format 
We have previously referred to inverter capacity units in this standard as kilowatts (kW). To align with other States and the National Electricity Regulations, we are adopting the terminology of kilo-volt-amperes (kVA). Exports will continue to be stated in kW as they are in kW, not kVA. 

kVA is a measure of apparent power or the total amount of power in use in a system. kW is the amount of power that is converted into a useful output. However, for systems of this size kW or kVA should be considered equivalent. 

This change will not impact how you install a system, it is to achieve standard terminology across the industry.  

SA Government Smarter Homes requirements 
Monday 28 September 2020 marked the beginning of the SA Government’s “Smarter Homes” Regulations, where a number of initiatives were implemented. In summary, all customers installing or upgrading solar systems in South Australia are required to: 

  • Install equipment that has low voltage ride-through capability; 
  • Meet minimum smart meter and wiring requirements; 
  • Assign an agent who can perform remote disconnection and reconnection of generating plant. 

The technical standard has been updated to include these requirements. More details on compliance with the Smarter Homes requirements can be found on the Department for Energy and Mining website. 

Power quality response modes 
To align with the newest AS4777:2020 and other electricity distributors in the country, the settings for mandatory power quality response modes have been updated.

All new inverters must have settings applied.

Like-for-like warranty replacements 
Our reviewed position on like-for-like warranty replacements was previously published in Industry News Small Embedded Generation - Inverter replacements. This has now been included in the Technical Standard, for further information on what this means for you please refer to the previous Industry News. 

'Cluster Rule' for generators 
Individual generators at a site will have the same network impact as a single aggregated generation connection.  As part of the connection application, SA Power Networks will aggregate the individual inverters beyond a connection point so that we can adequately assess the impact to other customers on the network.  Details of SA Power Networks' cluster requirements are available at Cluster Rule For Generators. 

When will these changes take effect? 
TS129 has a number of different requirements that have staggered compliance dates.  The requirements for 'Smarter Homes' are outlined in those documents and are set by the government. The requirements associated with AS/NZS 4777.2:2020 are to be adopted in line with the Standards Australia date of 18 December 2021, however, the power quality response modes and settings should be adopted as soon as possible and no later than 18 December 2021. 

Want to know more? 
In the coming weeks, we are holding an industry webinar that will cover off the following: 

  • DER challenges on the network  
  • The why behind Flexible Exports – transitioning from Smarter Homes to Dynamic Export Limiting 
  • Changes to the SEG application form – supporting the shift to Flexible Exports 

You can register your interest in the webinar. Details will be confirmed with you via email. 

In the meantime, should you wish to speak with someone regarding these changes, please contact us on 13 12 61 or at seg@sapowernetworks.com.au

Service Installation Rules Review – March 2021 
SA Power Networks is undertaking a critical review of the Service and Installation Rules (SIR). The objectives of the rules are to facilitate safe and reliable customer connection to the Electricity Distribution Network and ongoing operation of the network across South Australia. 

The key objective of the review is to work with the industry to simplify the SIR for all users. This will be achieved by: 

  • Ensuring the SIR provide value to our customers – enabling accurate and flexible solutions 
  • Simplifying the SIR to ensure they are consistent and can be clearly communicated 
  • Striving to eliminate inconsistencies in interpretation of this document within SAPN and by our customers, ensuring ownership and buy-in by all parties. 

SA Power Networks values input from all parties and will review all suggestions, comments, and feedback. 

Initial industry feedback sought 
As a first step, we are seeking feedback from the industry to understand: 

  • What are your key pain points? 
  • What do you like about the current SIR? 
  • What’s not working with the current SIR? 
  • Do you have any suggested omissions/ additions? 
  • Is the layout/structure of the document appropriate? 
  • Are there any gaps? 

Please lodge your feedback to SIR@sapowernetworks.com.au by 18 Jun 2021. 

Timeframe 
The review will be undertaken during 2021, with a view to getting stakeholder sign-off in October 2021 and releasing in early January 2022. 

If you have any queries regarding the review, please contact James Case on 0403 582 220.  

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