Could Big Brother Switch Your Solar Off?

Residential Solar

Could Big Brother Switch Your Solar Off?

Aaron Ware
3 min read

One of the greatest benefits of owning solar panels is making a profit on the energy you don’t use. This is done by feeding your excess electricity back into your local energy grid. Your energy provider pays you with discounts on your next power bill - depending on the size of your agreed feed-in tariff.

For more info on feed-in tariffs, check out our article on How Solar Tariffs Work in Australia.

But with almost 2.4 million rooftop solar systems installed in Oz, it’s starting to put a lot of pressure on the current electricity grid infrastructure - which may be at risk of failing and blacking out in the future.

As a response, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) wants the power to be able to turn off household solar systems.


Who is the AEMO?

To give some context, the AEMO operates Australia’s biggest electricity markets and systems. They’re also responsible for proposing new plans to keep Aussie power flowing efficiently (e.g. power grid upgrades).


What is their recent proposal?

Their recent proposal is to have their own ‘on-off’ switch for residential solar systems. This would give them the power to turn off solar systems in specific areas where solar energy feed-ins are peaking.

And getting that control really is possible. All they need is new software installed in future solar inverters (which could become the standard).

What does this mean for solar owners?

If you already have solar - and the proposal is accepted - you’re safe for now. Your current inverter doesn’t have the software required to have it switched off remotely. However, if you need to replace it in the future, you may need to install a new ‘smart’ one.

What if you haven’t installed solar yet?

If the full proposal is accepted, it’ll be years later. As long as you install solar before they change the standards for new solar inverters, you won’t get caught up in it for over a decade (an inverter’s average lifespan ranges between 10-20 years).


Is this just the tip of the iceberg?

The proposal is explained as a ‘switch-off’ measure - only done as a last resort during energy peak emergencies. But as solar continues to grow, if AEMO has the direct power to moderate household solar systems, they may eventually propose further controls. Well that’s what energy analyst Bruce Mountain believes.

For now (and hopefully forever), homeowners have full control over their solar panels and inverters. And even if new measures are put in place in later years, investing in Brisbane solar power will always ensure huge power bill savings.

Haven’t installed solar yet? Get an obligation-free quote online today or call 1800 270 963.

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Aaron Ware

Owner & Director of Pedleys Solar.

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