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Relevant Agent FAQ's

General Q&As

Question Response

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?  

Change your Relevant Agent nomination here.

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:

When completing the solar application form, select SA Power Networks as the Relevant Agent along with a supported technology  

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 

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. 

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Q&As: Webinar recap – Industry Changes

On Wednesday 25 November, about 90 people took part in a Webinar where we heard from the OTR, SA Power Networks and four panellist members on the changes taking place in our Industry.

We heard about:

  • The industry implementation of Smarter Homes legislation
  • Latest updates from the OTR and SA Power Networks
  • Potential pathways for the transition from simple disconnect/reconnect to smart solar systems (dynamic export limits and SAPN's upcoming "Flexible Exports" connection requirements)
  • Comparing the key differences between Flexible Exports and Smarter Homes
  • Guidance around consolidating effort across the initiatives

We were joined by:

  • SA Power Networks’ Sam Crafter, Program Manager - Electricity System Security (Facilitator)
  • OTR’s Ian Furness, Energy Project Engineer
  • SA Power Network’ Brendon Hampton, Manager Network Strategy
  • Intellihub’s Robert Lo Giudice, Manager, Metering Coordinator and Regulatory Affairs
  • Switchedin’s Marc Sheldon, Chief Operating Officer
  • Fronius’s Rod Dewar, Lead Application Engineer
  • Greensync’s Bruce Thompson, Head of Customer

If you missed the session and would like to watch the recording, you can do so via this link.

Question Response

What will be the process for determining/validating if an inverter satisfies the OTR's dynamic export requirement? 

OTR:

The requirement for a generating plant to be capable of dynamic exports does not lie solely with the inverter, this capability may also be provided by another device. The OTR has formed the Dynamic Exports committee which will work through this detail along with developing a guideline to define the technical requirements for an electricity generating plant to be considered dynamic export capable.

How do you think energy retailers will remunerate customers who opt into flexible exports for export? 

SA Power Networks:

It is up to the retailer to make an offer to customers regarding any feed-in tariff that applies under their offer. Flexible Exports itself is not a tariff based solution, just a variable export limit from SAPN. In future, retailers may create a more sophisticated tariff offering paired with Flexible Exports if they are able to use that flexibility in DER to better manage their wholesale exposure

Will the flexible export be applied only to new systems or applied to existing systems also?

SA Power Networks:

New systems or when a customer upgrades their system (excluding like-for-like warranty replacements).

How can I/my customer be part of the flexible export trial?

SA Power Networks:

Only customers in overloaded areas will have access to the trial. SA Power Networks will publish the list of overloaded areas prior to the trial launch, and customers, solar retailers and installers will be able to check this though our new "connection checker" as part of the SEG approval process.

Will customers have an option to ‘opt into’ flexible exporting or will this be a mandatory requirement?

SA Power Networks:

For the SA Power Networks Flexible Exports trial and program, customers connecting in overloaded parts of the distribution network will have a choice between a reduced, static export limit and a Flexible Exports connection. Overloaded areas are expected to impact <2% of applications (~800) for the first 12 months but will increase over time.
For the Smarter Homes export limit regulation, all new systems will be required to have the capability for remote updating of the export limit over the internet by July 2021 or other date as declared by the Minister. The OTR is establishing a new Dynamic Exports Committee to determine the technical requirements and introduction of this new regulation.

Could inverters installed today be updated online for the reduced export. Could they be activated with our knowledge?

SA Power Networks:

Flexible Exports will only be applied for new systems or when a customer upgrades their system (excluding like-for-like warranty replacements) in accordance with our connection agreements and technical standards. There will also be an opportunity for existing customers to opt-in to Flexible Exports, which may provide an opportunity to increase their current export limit.

How can you be certain that when you are nominated as the agent that the retailer will nominate you as the MC and MDP for the NMI?  What happens if the retailer does not have a SLA with IHUB and you are nominated?

Intellihub:

If the retailer is considered customer centric, they will do their best to honor the customers wishes of the Intellihub RA nomination. Intellihub has SLA's with most retailers in the market. 

Can Intellihub currently do dynamic export control with any inverter?

Intellihub:

The short answer is yes and we are actively working with all inverter suppliers to establish the most cost effective models. 

The installer's role is to connect to the internet at time of installation but who is responsible for ensuring the customer maintains that internet connection, is there any regulation on this?

SA Power Networks:

Under our Relevant Agent terms for the customer, there is a requirement on the customer (end user) that they maintain an internet connection in order to enable their system to be compliant with the requirements of the legislation. 

Who is responsible for sealing the hardware, is another tech required on site and who is responsible for the coordination

SA Power Networks:

The solar installer is still responsible for all technical standards outlined in the relevant SA Power Networks and OTR documentation. If a meter provider is required to attend the site for the installation to be completed, this is the responsibility of the installer to arrange, via the Retailer.

Is SwitchDin an agent in South Australia for flexible exports?

SwitchDin:

SwitchDin is a technology solution provider for a number of relevant agents (SAPN, SolarTrak and Origin amongst them). We are not a relevant agent ourselves. 

Do you think there is a need for a Droplet on site when inverter manufacturers are providing cloud based APIs, will this capability be possible without a droplet?

SwitchDin:

That depends on what you are trying to do. The Smarter Homes disconnect/reconnect requirements will be easily possible with an API and we support that for a variety of manufacturers already. In some cases, API access might even be sufficient to allow access to other, more advanced services such as VPPs. However, enabling upgrades with additional systems (inverters, storage, etc.) or adding load management or more demanding orchestration capabilities for new services will quite often require on-site intelligence through a device such as the Droplet.

Will all meters connect the solar via separate phase (controlled load)? When connecting consumption and production cts for batteries the consumption ct needs to see all import and export. Some cts aren't physically big to measure two cables. ie sonnen. Therefore the battery will not charge as it can't see any export.

OTR:

Smart metering requirements have been outlined by the OTR. 

Will future inverters facilitate flex exports by using a simple, direct-connected CT rather than more expensive separate meters?

Fronius:

At this stage it is not planned. Purely because you have a limited range when it comes to just using at CT without a meter in the switchboard. Happy to discuss in more detail with you if you like. 

Given there are ongoing obligations to provide remote disconnect and (soon) dynamic exports, what is the panel's view on whether customers will need to pay for these services?

SA Power Networks:

We are working to encourage the creation of an ecosystem where "smart DER" capable of dynamic export limits is standard off the shelf functionality, supported by a wide range of technology vendors leading to low marginal cost for the functionality and healthy industry competition

Will flexible exports eliminate, replace or supplement the need for V-W and V-VAr response modes to reduce the impact of exports on networks?

SA Power Networks:

An energy system dominated by DER will require a whole range of complimentary solutions working together that will enable DER continued access to connect and export to the distribution network. Our first task is to maximise the hosting capacity of the grid, and the volt/var settings are a really important part in minimising volt rise from exports. We'll then only need to use Flexible Exports at time when these measures and others aren't sufficient to keep the network within its limits.

Will SAPN charge for the RA service? 

SA Power Networks:

No, SA Power Networks will not look to charge for the RA service.

If SAPN are charged by the tech provider for RA services how can SAPN offer this service for no charge to customer?

SA Power Networks:

The Relevant Agent model that SAPN in partnership with technology providers have implemented is aligned with our planned implementation of Flexible Exports and the existing roles and responsibilities of SAPN, tech vendors and the solar industry. SAPN is offering its services to customers and tech providers free of charge, and tech providers are not charging SAPN for their role in the partnership.