More Sun for Everyone

The TEC/ACOSS rule change “More sun for everyone“ aims to benefit solar owners and support greater uptake of solar and other distributed energy resources to help accelerate decarbonisation and improve affordability for everyone, reports Mark Byrne, our Energy Advocate.

“More Sun for everyone“ contains several new initiatives which will benefit solar owners:

  • A requirement for networks to make the best use of existing solar hosting capacity and better plan and invest for additional hosting capacity.
  • A “net market benefit” test that would allow any costs to integrate more solar energy into the system to be recovered from all consumers where there are also benefits to all consumers.
  • A right to export a base level of solar energy — probably 3 kW minimum (some solar owners currently have zero kW export limits).
  • A principle for networks to divide up hosting capacity fairly amongst solar owners, so that some do not get allocated much more or less than others (this does not exist at present).

The TEC/ACOSS “More sun for everyone“ rule change request would not force any solar owner to pay to export to the grid.

As noted above the rule change will require networks to better plan to increase export capacity and provide a base level of export. This will be done on the basis of a net market test where the costs of improving export capacity will be spread across all consumers where there are benefits to all consumers. If solar owners want to increase their export limit beyond a base level, and the costs to do so exceed the benefits to everyone, then costs can be recovered from solar owners directly. This would be a choice. It could be via the connection agreement or a payment per kilowatt hour during peak export periods. But it’s a choice – stay with the base level of exporting at no charge or pay to export more. There is some modelling on our rule change by Oakely Greenwood that shows that under current conditions solar owners would be better off paying a small amount to make additional exports. 

Any change to the rules would not take effect until 2024 or 2025.

Without these changes:

  • More solar owners will be export limited or subject to zero exports, leading to inefficient investment in DER and reducing the amount of zero emissions energy suppled to the grid.
  • The inequities between early and late adopters of rooftop solar will become exacerbated.
  • Other consumers will bear the increasing costs of managing DER integration if costs exceed the benefits to all.
  • The benefits of DER exports will not be properly recognised in network planning and investments.

We thank Solar Citizens for observing that "there’s plenty to support in the proposal from Total Environment Centre and Australian Council of Social Service”.

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