Smart Solar: The Reforms at a Glance

Smart Solar: The Reforms at a Glance

Sep 02, 2021


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The Australian Energy Market Commission (AMEC) has finalised reforms designed to get more small-scale solar into the grid and support the growth of batteries and electric vehicles (EV).

The reforms will put tough new obligations on power network companies to make their networks ‘smarter’. Each network will retain the ability to develop its own incentives because each has a different customer mix level of solar penetration and congestion, and different government preferences to consider.

They will now be accountable for getting their businesses solar- and battery-friendly so everyone benefits. A key part of the changes is removing the companies’ ability to put blanket bans on customers sending solar energy back to the grid.

The salient points of Smart solar follows:

  1. Power network companies will be able to offer a range of options

To encourage solar owners to limit solar waste and benefit the grid and protect the value of household solar investments already made, two options will be provided:

  1. A free basic service – Guaranteed free options will apply for 10-year periods up until 2041 when situation will be reviewed and implement necessary changes. To give more certainty to customer, no new pricing plans for existing customers before July 2025.
  2. Alongside free basic service, those choosing paid plans could earn more for solar export at some times and less at others, but they’ll have more opportunities to earn and save.
  3. Obligations on power network businessesto support
  4. Support energy flowing both ways – have more customers benefit from solar,
  5. Put downward pressure on electricity prices, and,
  6. Help decarbonise the energy sector faster
  7. Australian Energy Regulator (AER) will scrutinise network work plans and signed off as being in consumers’ interest. Networks would have to consult widely and test and trial the options they put forward.

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