Flexible Exports background
However, SA Power Networks is introducing an innovative Flexible Exports connection option for new solar customers to export up to10kW from their solar panels with smart inverters capable of reducing exports for limited periods to avoid overloading the network. Customers will be able to choose a flexible export limit (1.5kW-10kW per phase) or a fixed export limit (1.5kW per phase).
The Government of South Australia’s Dynamic Export requirements requires all new exporting generation systems to be capable of remotely updating their export limits from 1 July 2023.
These regulatory changes mean that all exporting systems applied for installation after this date are compatible with SA Power Networks’ Flexible Exports connection option as it becomes available.
Our updated industry tools SmartApply and SmartInstall will help you through the application and installation process.
Email/print the information on export options (including past Flexible Exports performance) in the customer’s area.
Complying with the Dynamic Export Requirements
Every exporting system you submit a connection application for from 1 July 2023 must be dynamic exports capable. To be considered dynamic exports capable, a site:
- Must only include certified dynamic exports capable inverters from the Clean Energy Council’s (CEC) inverter list or those listed on SA Power Networks’ Deemed to comply list (as part of the transitional arrangement until 1 April 2024). Dynamic exports capable inverters can meet the requirements through a native or gateway-based communication.
- May require a gateway device or additional hardware to achieve dynamic exports communications within Flexible Exports eligible suburbs. Consult the CEC list or your manufacturer for more information.
- May require the capability to monitor the site-wide export (usually achieved through an export monitoring device or CT clamp).
See below for a summary of the equipment you need to install to ensure your site meets the dynamic export regulations.
|Dynamic export requirements|
|Dynamic Export capable inverters required||Export monitoring device required||Gateway device required|
Outside of Flexible Exports eligible suburbs
(5kW/phase export limit applies)
Within Flexible Exports eligible suburbs
(1.5kW/phase or flexible export limit applies)
|Zero export installations||No||Yes||No|
- Export monitoring / limiting device required if inverter capacity is greater than 5kW/phase to ensure the 5kW export limit is adhered to.
- Only required if the inverter needs a gateway device to achieve dynamic exports communication. This information can be found on the list of dynamic export capable inverters described below.
If a customer outside an eligible area wishes to later opt into Flexible Exports option, the additional hardware must be installed, and all inverters (new and legacy) must be brought under the site-wide export limit.
Installations exempt from the regulations:
- Zero export: any system permanently configured for zero export is exempt from the new requirements. Zero export systems will not be able to opt into Flexible Exports later unless they install compatible equipment – ensure you discuss this with your customer.
- Battery systems: exemptions apply for battery storage systems until 1 March 2024. Some examples of how this applies include:
- Installation of a battery storage system to an existing solar installation does not require the site to be dynamic export capable.
- For installations including battery storage and solar (including hybrid inverters), the solar component must be dynamic exports capable, but the storage system is exempt from the requirements and can be export limited to 5kW per phase.
- SCADA connected systems: any system with SCADA connection to SA Power Networks (typically systems >200kW export) are deemed to comply with the new requirements.
- Medium Embedded Generator (MEG) requirements: The requirement for MEG systems (30-200kVA export) to be Dynamic Exports Capable has been delayed from 1 July 2023 to 1 July 2024. This will allow greater time to develop and test Flexible Exports for MEG systems prior to mandatory requirements coming into effect.
Find the latest list of dynamic export capable inverters on:
- Clean Energy Council (CEC) inverter list. Look out for inverters with ‘Software client’ column filled in – it means that they meet the dynamic export requirements and describes how they meet the requirements (either inverters have inbuilt capability or require a supporting gateway device). The CEC is also currently maintaining a separate pdf list titled “Inverters with Software Communication Clients”; or
- SA Power Networks’ Deemed to comply list. As part of the transitional arrangement, SA Government has published the minimum set of functions required for transitional certification of devices. You can sell and install these devices from 1 July 2023 as they are deemed to comply with the dynamic export requirements. However, all devices installed after 1 April 2024 will need to complete the full certification and appear on the CEC’s inverter list.
Flexible Exports sites only:
Flexible Exports sites only:
If these steps are not completed, the installation will be considered non-compliant. Refer to more information on the DER compliance.
Frequently asked questions
South Australia is leading the world in solar uptake, and SA Power Networks wants to support even more solar on our network. To do this, we need smarter interaction between solar systems and the electricity network.
Our distribution network was built many years before solar, and reverse power flows from solar are now starting to exceed the ‘hosting capacity’ of parts of the network, especially on mild Spring days. This lowers the performance of customers’ solar systems, and causes voltage issues, including for non-solar customers, in some areas with a lot of rooftop solar. It is also starting to exceed the reverse power ratings of some of our major plant at some substations.
Flexible Exports is one of many initiatives designed to support the continued growth of solar, and it is an option that we have been developing with customers, the solar industry, government and technical bodies for some time now. It will allow smart solar systems to respond to times when the network is congested, while enabling greater export limits the rest of the time.
For existing customers there will be no change. New and upgrading solar customers in Flexible Exports eligible areas will be given a choice between a fixed export limit of 1.5kW per phase or Flexible Exports.
Any existing solar systems will need to be configured to stay within the 1.5-10kW site export limit. This may be achieved by:
- Bringing the existing system(s) under the site-wide export limit. This may be achieved with native support or through the use of a gateway device. Speak to your inverter manufacturer to learn what configurations are possible.
- Export limiting any existing inverters to 1.5kW.
With the Flexible Exports option, you can always export more than fixed 1.5kW export option. If you're on Flexible Exports, export limits vary from 1.5kW-10kW per phase throughout the year. If you're on a 1.5kW fixed export, export limit will be at 1.5kW per phase.
Customers signed up to Flexible Exports will be assigned up to 10kW dynamic export limit and this will be communicated to their compatible smart inverters as part of the connection option.
Size of the customer’s solar system including inverter capacity affects how much a customer can expect to export. Find a list of Flexible Exports compatible equipment.
In the event of an internet outage, a customer’s inverter will fall back to a 1.5kW export limit. Ensuring your customer establishes and maintains a reliable internet connection will maximise the benefits they receive.
To understand the specific performance of their system, solar customers will need to refer to the solar yield estimates provided by their solar retailer or installer. Past performance of Flexible Exports at your location will be available in the Eligibility Checker.
The Government of South Australia’s Dynamic Export requirements require all new exporting generation systems to be capable of remotely updating their export limits from 1 July 2023.
This regulatory changes means that every exporting system applied for installation from 1 July 2023 must be dynamic exports capable and are compatible with SA Power Networks Flexible Exports connection option.
To be considered dynamic exports capable, a site:
- must only include certified dynamic exports capable inverters - View the list of compatible inverters. These will be listed in the SmartApply form.
- may require a gateway device or additional hardware to achieve dynamic exports communications within Flexible Exports eligible suburbs.
- May require the capability to monitor the site-wide export (usually achieved through an export monitoring decice or CT clamp). This requirement will also be listed in the SmartApply form.
Find more details here.
Refer to the manufacturer’s guide to understand the commissioning process. Customers may not be abe to export if the equipment is not commissioned correctly.
For Flexible Exports sites, make sure that you register the system with SA Power Networks. Refer to the manufactuer's guides for the specific process on how to do this.
Remember to close out the installation in SmartInstall once installed. For Flexible Exports sites, you will need to complete the onsite capability test within SmartInstall, noting the capability test cannot be completed until the system has been registered.
Building on the success we've seen with the trial, we're making the Flexible Exports connection option available to more customers from 1 July 2023 as a standard offering for new and upgrading customers.
From 23 October 2023, Flexible Exports will be available in the following areas:
And the following suburbs;
|Brighton||Largs North||Oaklands Park||Somerton Park|
|Glenelg South||Mitchel Park||Outer Harbor||Torrens Island|
|Glengowrie||Morphettville||Park Holme||Trott Park|
|Hallett Cove||North Brighton||Seacombe Gardens||Warradale|
|Hove||North Haven||Sheidow Park|
The rollout will be expanded to more suburbs in new council areas in the following months. We expect that the Flexible Exports option will be available in most suburbs by mid-2024. Customers can opt into Flexible Exports once it becomes available in their suburb.
Use the Flexible Exports Eligibility Checker to find out if Flexible Exports is available in your customers area.
To coincide with the SA Governement Dynamic Export requirements going live on 1 July 2023, SA Power Networks has commenced the progressive rollout of Flexible Exports as a standard connection option.
The rollout has commenced on 1 July, and will be expanded to more suburbs progressively by council areas. Our intention is to have Flexible Exports rolled out state-wide by mid-2024.
Once you have used the SmartApply form’s Export options check our eligibility checker to confirm eligibility, talk to your customer about the new connection options – Fixed Exports vs Flexible Exports – and find out which option they prefer. You can use this infographic and video prepared for customers to help explain about the Flexible Exports. You can then make the appropriate selection in the SEG form once you make an application.
If the customer is not able to provide reliable internet access, you can recommend a compatible technology that includes its own means of communication or select the fixed export option.
As part of the South Australian Government’s Smarter Homes Regulations, applicable from 28 September 2020, all new and upgrading solar systems with exporting capability need to have remote disconnection and connection functionality, and so internet access is already required for most installations.
If you are only installing a new battery or upgrading by adding a battery, there will be no change to your export limit, and the Flexible Exports connection option will not apply, even if you are in a Flexible Exports eligible area. If you are upgrading or installing a new battery and PV, then you will need to choose between the fixed 1.5kW or the flexible (1.5kW to 10kW) export limits per phase.
Dynamic Export Requirements will apply to battery energy storage systems from 1 March 2024. All new batteries installed after 1 March 2024 must be dynamic export capable, and pass the capability test as part of the commissioning/close out process. Refer to the Technical Regulator Guidelines from SA Government website here.
Building on the success of the Flexible Exports trial for small embedded generation (SEG) customers (under 30kVA), we plan to introduce a Flexible Exports trial for MEG customers (31-200kVA). The trial aims to test the technology, systems and processes and inform our plans to make Flexible Exports a standard connection option for MEG applications.
The Flexible Exports trial option will be offered to connection applications for MEG systems (31-200kVA) that are identified as export constrained during the connection assessment. SA Power Networks will identify suitable applicants and contact the customer directly with an option to participate in the trial.
For Flexible Exports sites the Relevant Agent defaults to SA Power Networks. A correctly commissioned flexible exports site meets and complies with the Government's Smarter Homes requirements for remote disconnection. If you wish to change the Relevant Agent you can do so within the SmartApply application. Follow the inverter manufacturers commissioning guides to ensure the system is commissioned correctly.
From 1 July 2023, SA Government’s Dynamic Export requirements came into effect, requiring all new exporting generation systems to be capable of remotely updating their export limits. These regulatory changes mean that all exporting systems applied for installation after this date are able to enrol in SA Power Networks’ Flexible Exports connection option as it becomes available.
Any inverter manufacturer who wishes to get their inverters certified to Dynamic Exports requirements, please contact New Energy Services for more information.
SA Power Networks allows customers to opt-in to Flexible Exports provided the customer is within an eligible area. Use the Flexible Exports Eligibility Checker to find out if if this is the case.
To opt-in, you need to submit another connection application in SmartApply and change the connection option from 'fixed' to 'flexible', and follow the required installation process for Flexible Exports site (see more information here).
SA Power Networks does not provide assurance that the listed inverter manufacturers will provide capability to retroactively update their already installed equipment to become Flexible Exports compatible. Contact your manufacturer for more information.
Support for multi-inverter configurations varies between manufacturers. Consult with your manufacturer to understand specific equipment capabilities.
You can install multiple inverters on site and retain the existing inverter. All inverters (new and legacy) will need to be brought under the site-wide export limit.
To change the customers connection approval from Fixed to Flexible, you will need to complete a new application in SmartApply.
To complete the application, ensure that equipment on the “Current Installation” page matches what is currently installed on site. If you sold or installed the system that is on site, confirming it is closed out in SmartInstall before commencing the application will make this step easier.
Once you are on the “Proposed Installation” page, click the pencil icon in the green Export arrow and select Flexible Export from the pop up. If required, you will then need to select an export limiting device from the available list. If the inverter is not compatible to Flexible Export, SmartApply will not let you to proceed, but if it is, the application can be submitted.
Once approval is received, installations will need to be done for Flexible Exports site. Please refer to the end-to-end process.
In partnership with Clean Energy Council, we have developed free training courses. Log into the Clean Energy Council’s Learning Hub to access (enrolment key ‘SAPNtraining’):
- What you need to know about Flexible Exports – South Australia (30 Core CPD points) – this course will ensure that you have the knowledge you need about the changes, the technical requirements, and the impact on your customers.
- The updated Embedded Generation Compliance for SA (30 Core CPD points) – this course covers the importance of compliance related to embedded generation installations and the issues that non-compliance creates.
There is also an online training recording which covers:
- The end-to-end process of commissioning, device registration (new), closing out and testing a Flexible Exports system (new)
- How these new requirements impacts on your compliance rates
- Presentations from eight major inverter brands on how to set up their equipment for Flexible Exports.