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Emergency Solar Management - Solar Industry Information

To maintain the stability of the electricity system and support the continued installation of rooftop solar, the WA State Government is introducing emergency solar management – the capability to remotely turn off new and upgraded rooftop solar systems.

This means that technical requirements for connecting and operating rooftop solar systems to the Western Power distribution network have changed.

From 14 February 2022, all new and upgraded rooftop solar systems with an inverter capacity of 5kW or less, and participating in the Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS) must have the capability to be remotely turned off in an emergency solar management event. This is applicable where a:

  1. Synergy Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme application is received on or after 14 February 2022; or
  2. Synergy Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme application is received before 14 February 2022 and the rooftop solar system it relates to is installed on or after 14 March 2022.

There are two ways to remotely manage and turn off rooftop solar systems to meet the Western Power Basic Embedded Generation Connection Technical Requirements for emergency solar management; the API cloud solution or the metering solution. Further information regarding these solutions is available within the downloadable Installer Fact Sheet below.

Synergy is committed to working with the solar industry to provide timely and easy to understand information about what the new emergency solar management requirements mean in relation to system capability, installation and connection.

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Emergency Solar Management FAQs

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Customer Fact Sheet

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Supported Devices List

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Solar Retailers & Installers FAQ

Who does emergency solar management apply to?

Emergency solar management applies to all customers with new and upgraded rooftop solar systems with an inverter capacity of 5kW or less and participating in DEBS. These customers include:

•            residential properties that consume < 50MWh/a

•            any customer that is a school, university or other educational institution or a non-profit making organisation

What happens on the 14 February 2022?

All applications made on or after 14 February 2022 for new or upgraded rooftop solar PV systems with an inverter capacity of 5kW or less, and participating in DEBS will need to comply with the emergency solar management requirements. This means they must be able to be managed remotely, enabling them to be turned off under remote instruction.

The rooftop solar system must meet the requirements for emergency solar management if you are:

  • Installing a new rooftop solar system with an inverter capacity of 5kW or less on or after 14 February 2022; or
  • Upgrading an existing rooftop solar system on or after 14 February 2022 where the inverter capacity will be 5kW or less.

A grace period was provided where the application for a new rooftop solar system was made prior to 14 February 2022 and the system was installed no later than 13 March 2022.

What are the obligations for a solar installer under the new arrangements?

As a solar installer, you will play an important role in the adoption of new technology. 

Solar installers must ensure their installations and upgrades to existing systems meet the Western Power Basic Embedded Generation Connection Technical Requirements.
 
Solar installers will also continue to be responsible and the first point of contact for customers for any technical issues regarding their rooftop solar systems and any warranty claims regarding their rooftop solar systems and inverters under the Australian Consumer Law.

Does emergency solar management only cover the SWIS (South West Interconnected System)?

At this stage, this only applies to the Western Power network in the SWIS.

How can an inverter manufacturer be registered on Synergy’s Supported Devices List?

To be registered on Synergy’s Supported Devices List for the API Cloud solution, the inverter manufacturer must complete a self-assessment checklist (or nominate a technology provider to complete it on their behalf) and have an API Agreement in place with Synergy’s Integration Partner.

How do AC coupled batteries with 5kW of solar affect export limiting and DEBS?

To be eligible, a renewable energy system must have a generating capacity of 5kW or less. A solar PV system with total solar panel capacity of up to 6.6kW and an inverter capacity of up to 5kW is deemed eligible. There is no eligibility limit in relation to home battery or electric vehicle battery size, but all renewable energy systems and batteries must meet Western Power’s Basic Embedded Generator Connection Technical Requirements for connection to the grid to be eligible for DEBS 

How does this impact battery installations?

Battery installations from 14 February 2022 will be required to meet the requirements for emergency solar management as per Western Power’s Basic Embedded Generation Connection Technical Requirements.

  • In the situation where an existing solar system is being upgraded with a battery installation, where the parts of the existing solar system are unchanged during the new installation process, then the existing solar system is not required to meet the new emergency solar management requirements. For example, when adding an AC coupled battery to an existing solar system. However, the battery system must comply with the requirements for emergency solar management.
  • In any other battery installation situations, emergency solar management requirements apply to the entire system.
  • Emergency solar management for battery installations can be achieved by meeting the time of operation for Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) requirements, where all systems with a BESS shall not discharge the BESS between 10am to 3pm and not charge the BESS between 6pm to 9pm. Therefore these battery installations do not need a cloud API or AMI metering pathway for emergency solar management.
If a meter upgrade is required to comply with emergency solar management, is the customer responsible for the costs incurred?

The customer is responsible for any additional costs incurred as a result of a meter upgrade. The API cloud solution is currently expected to provide the best outcome for most customers – it is generally lower cost and aligned to future opportunities for Distributed Energy Resources DER participation.

In an emergency solar management event, will households with BESS (Battery Energy Storage System), remain connected, and will generated rooftop solar continue to charge the battery?

Households with a solar system capable of export limiting may continue to charge the BESS. However, provision of the export limiting functionality via a cloud API solution varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Please consult your manufacturer to find out more.

Why is this only applicable to new or upgraded systems?

Emergency solar management is only applicable to new and upgraded systems due to the current challenges with retrofitting existing installations.

How will emergency solar management be implemented?

There are two ways to remotely manage and turn off rooftop solar systems to meet the Western Power Basic Embedded Generation (EG) Connection Technical Requirements for emergency solar management.

  • The API cloud solution uses a software integration - an API (Application Programming Interface) to remotely manage rooftop solar systems. This requires installing a compatible inverter, and the customer maintains a consistent internet service that the inverter is connected to.
  • The metering solution requires a meter with communications capability enabled and the inverter isolated so that it can be remotely managed.
What about new and upgraded solar systems that are larger than 5kW?

In an emergency solar management event, residential rooftop solar systems that are installed or upgraded after 14 February 2022, with an inverter capacity greater than 5kW, will be subject to export limits to ensure they do not contribute to low load events.

Export limits are set in accordance with Western Power’s Basic Embedded Generator Connection Technical Requirements. Where there is no offtake agreement in place with the Retailer, the export limit will be set to no more than 1.5kW.

How do I know if the inverter is compatible with the API cloud solution?

You can review the Supported Devices List here for all API cloud solution compliant devices. If you’re still uncertain, please speak to the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) for further advice.

What if the inverter isn't on the Supported Devices List?
The inverter may not be compatible with the API cloud solution and may be required to meet the metering solution requirements instead. The Supported Devices list is under frequent and ongoing review, with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) working closely with Synergy’s integration partner to ensure their devices meet API cloud solution requirements.
What else should I know about the metering solution?
  • Characteristics of the site, such as use of a plug-in meter, or lack of coverage/availability of the mesh network, may make the metering solution unsuitable. 
  • The metering solution may incur additional costs.  For example, in some circumstances, a new meter may need to be installed, or extra wiring may be required to connect the switchboard to the meter.

Please refer to the Western Power website  for more details. 

What if my customer can’t meet the requirements for the API cloud solution or the metering solution?

Export limiting will be an option available to customers who can’t meet the API cloud or metering solution requirements but still wish to install a rooftop solar system. Please note that customers who choose this option are not eligible for the Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS) and would not be affected by an emergency solar management event

Export limiting applications cannot be completed online. To apply, please complete the Distributed Energy Systems Application up to 30kW form.
How can I find out more about how this impacts me as a solar installer?

Synergy is committed to working with the solar industry to provide timely and easy to understand information about what the new emergency solar management requirements mean in relation to system capability, installation and connection.

Synergy has been working closely with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to support installers through the introduction of emergency solar management and the new Western Power Basic Embedded Generation Connection Technical Requirements. If you have any further questions on the API cloud solution and inverter technical requirements, we encourage you to reach out to your OEM directly for support.

Ongoing updates will be provided by Synergy through planned industry briefing sessions, information fact sheets and content to be made available online. Please register for regular updates and news about emergency solar management by completing the form below.

How will emergency solar management impact life support customers?
Life support customers will still be required to follow the standard application and installation process but will not be impacted by emergency solar management.  Life support customers will continue to be responsible for ensuring their details and information is up to date.

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Solar Retailers and Installers – register for updates

Synergy is committed to supporting the solar industry during a period of adjustment and will provide ongoing updates through a range of industry briefing sessions, information fact sheets and online content. Register for regular updates and news about Emergency Solar Management by completing the form below.

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