Ergon Energy is now changing how they allow solar panel systems and other distributed energy sources to connect to their electricity network. Because of this, they are introducing a new type of dynamic connection, which allows their customers to export more electricity from their alternative power sources to the network whenever the local network has capacity. Thanks to this, consumers will gain more solar benefits from Ergon Energy connections. Let’s explore this further below.
What is a Dynamic Connection?
A dynamic connection for solar panel systems is a type of connection that allows the solar panels to adjust the amount of energy they produce and send to the electricity grid. This connection is different from traditional energy connections, which have a fixed limit on the amount of energy that can be produced and exported to the grid. With a dynamic connection, the solar panels can respond to changes in demand for electricity and produce more or less energy as needed. This change provides more flexibility and opportunities for owners of solar panel systems to generate revenue from their energy production.
This also means owners of DERs, like solar PV systems or batteries, can connect larger systems and do more with them. With dynamic solar solutions, they will have better access to the network and more opportunities to interact with new markets and generate revenue.
What Does This Mean for Your Solar PV System?
Dynamic connections for solar panel systems allow more energy to be exported and imported compared to traditional connections. Once solar PV system owners register for Ergon Energy’s dynamic server (known as the SEP2 utility server), they will publish Dynamic Operating Envelopes (DOE) limits. A customer’s system will access information about the energy network every five minutes and use it to determine the export and import limit for the system. It means that when the network can support more energy, the limit can be up to 10 kW per phase or up to 5 kW per phase for SWER split-phase connections.
However, it’s important to note that the 10kW export will only happen when the local network has capacity.
Do You Still Need to Install an Emergency Backstop Mechanism?
Yes. You will still need to install a GSD or Emergency Backstop Mechanism whether you have a dynamic connection or not. This requirement will be checked after 12 months and reviewed while considering the progress towards implementing dynamic control of inverters.
In light of these requirements, integrating solar battery storage emerges as a strategic complement to your energy system. With storage, you harness excess solar power generated during peak sun hours, fundamentally enhancing your system’s efficiency and reliability. This stored energy ensures uninterrupted power, significantly reducing dependence on the grid and vulnerability during outages. Additionally, it provides financial benefits by allowing you to consume solar energy during high tariff periods, avoiding costly electricity rates. Thus, battery storage fortifies your solar investment, ensuring optimised energy use and continuous power during emergency disconnects.
What are the Benefits of a Dynamic Connection?
Overall, electricity consumers with the ability to export solar power at full capacity at peak hours and locations, thanks to dynamic connections, will have significantly lower power bills. Moreover, they can reap the following benefits:
Increased Energy Export
Dynamic connections allow for greater energy export, as the connection limit is determined by real-time network conditions and demand.
Better Access to the Network
With dynamic connections, owners of DER systems like solar PV, batteries, and electric vehicles have better access to the network and can interact with new markets and revenue streams.
Improved Energy Management
Dynamic connections provide real-time data on energy usage and allow for more efficient energy management, reducing the risk of overloading the network.
Enhanced Revenue Opportunities
Dynamic connections enable owners of DER systems to take advantage of new revenue streams by participating in energy trading or grid services.
Dynamic connections allow for greater flexibility in the size of DER systems that can be connected to the network, enabling owners to expand their energy production capacity.
Improved Network Reliability
Dynamic connections can help improve network reliability by allowing for better management of energy flow and reducing the risk of network overload.
Enhanced Financial Incentives
Building on the prospect of increased energy export, homeowners harnessing the power of dynamic connections also position themselves favourably to benefit from the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme. As a homeowner’s ability to export more energy rises, so does their potential to earn more Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs). These STCs, often referred to as a form of ‘solar currency,’ can then be sold or traded, presenting a valuable financial incentive. Essentially, the blend of dynamic connections and the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme synergistically maximises homeowners’ solar investment returns.
Preparing for the Introduction of Dynamic Connections
Starting in mid-2023, customers can register for dynamic connections for their solar PV systems. They will be notified about the progress through newsletters, websites, and social media. Until then, connections will be limited to a fixed export limit, but once registration is available and completed, they can switch to dynamic connections.
Once the DOE and third-party integration providers are available in your area, you or your representative will be contacted by Ergon Energy. You may also need to contact your electrical contractor or installer to update, test and confirm system operation.
You can get in touch with us at SAE Group to learn more about how this works and consider upgrading your systems to take advantage of this change.